Dear readers, Ye Olde Rams, friends, citizens, horn blowers, denizens and countrymen:
I took a self-imposed “cooling off” period after Super Bowl LIII so as to not be poisoned by the immediate after-stench of what seemed to be terrible representation of American football.
My own “48-hour rule” was invoked to separate, thoroughly and properly, from the Rams, Patriots, Maroon 5, four-alarm chili and delicious 7UP cake.
Extra time, context and cleanup were required to provide a detached and honest accounting of Los Angeles Morass vs. Foxboro, Mass.
Yours truly also had locate stationery, stamps and a fountain pen to begin writing apology letters to Jack Youngblood, Nolan Cromwell and the extended family of Tank Younger.
This is no joke. I have, as you read this, read no post-game report on the Super Bowl.
I turned the TV off right after CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson disappeared into a vortex of humanity on the post-game field. I trust and pray they found her safely somewhere down river.
Not reading a print paper was easy as my Monday and Tuesday editions of the L.A. Times remain rain-soaked and ink-bled in plastic wrap the circulation department is passing off as weather proofing.
It is from this protected and unpolluted perch that I reflect back on Sunday’s stomach-turner, “Mylanta from Atlanta,” where the star of 13-3 was a New England PAT (point after touchdown).
--New Orleans was right: it deserved to be there, not the Rams. If only officials had correctly called pass interference in the NFC title game, we would not have been subjected to one Ram boot-lick kick and Jared Goff’s 57.9 passer rating.
No way Saints QB Drew Brees, already a Super Bowl champion, buckles under the pressure. Again: Why were four refs from Southern California allowed to work the NFC title game?
--The CBS overnight ratings want to know: Is there any way to play Super Bowl LIII over with New Orleans vs. Kansas City?
--I hope some newspaper man came up with one of these headlines: SILENCE OF THE RAMS…MUTTON CHOPPED…G.O.A.T. MILKED…SUPER DULL 53…GOFF AWFUL…GURLEY MEN…BELICHICK-MATE.
--True or False: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick cemented their statuses as greatest all-time quarterback and coach in the worst Super Bowl ever played. (True)
--It was at least the worst Super Bowl since Super Bowl V, that collector's item 16-13 win for Baltimore over Dallas.
Who will forget the look on Dallas Coach Tom Landry’s face after that heartbreak defeat? It was the same look Landry he had a year later when Dallas defeated Miami, 24-3. Landry never wore his heart on his sleeve. He kept it locked in a safe-deposit box.
--It came down to this: Brady and Belichick were better than Goff and Sean McVay. Goff, obviously, was spooked by his first Super Bowl experience. Brady wasn’t great, by any means, but was good enough when the game needed to be won.
This is what Hall of Famers do. They have short memories. They don’t dwell on the past or the negative.
People remember Joe Montana calmly finding Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to beat Dallas for the NFC Championship. The moment became known, simply, as “The Catch.”
What people forget: Montana had tossed THREE interceptions before that pass to Clark.
Brady threw two interceptions in this year’s AFC title game at Kansas City. He actually tossed three, but his third was taken back by a neutral zone infraction that cost the Chiefs a trip to the Super Bowl.
Brady’s first pass on Sunday was also intercepted, this time by the Rams…so what? The best players keep playing. They don’t mope, get rattled or lament.
Maybe this shouldn’t have been a surprise: Belichick coached like a guy who has been there before (eight times) and McVay coached like he just turned 33.
I swear, at times, it looked like "Ground" Chuck Knox was coaching the Rams.
Where was the daring and imagination implanted last year by Eagles Coach Doug Pederson in Philadelphia’s thrilling win over New England?
Kids in outer Mongolia, who had never seen an NFL game, caught on early to the Rams’ offense.
“Here comes the (fake) Fly Sweep!”
Or, if you’re not going to get fancy, what about knowing what kind of game you are in?
If it’s third and two on the opponent’s 47, in the second quarter, maybe you run two times and get a first down. And not pass your jittery quarterback into a 14-yard sack?
--An alien dropped down from space for Sunday’s Super Bowl would have thought Johnny Hekker was the Rams star player. He punted nine times and seemed to be on the field more than anyone.
--If you want your son to be a Super Bowl MVP, move to San Mateo.
You know about Tom Brady, of course, and maybe about Lynn Swann. Both of those Super Bowl MVPs attended the same high school: Junipero Serra.
But don’t forget about receiver Julian Edelman, MVP of Sunday’s game. Edelman, who attended Woodside High, played one year at quarterback for the College of San Mateo, passing for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns.
People can argue whether Edleman deserves a place in Canton, but he's a cinch for the California Community Colleges Hall of Champions.
--Finally (for now): it’s easy to think young Jared Goff and the Rams will be back to other Super Bowls. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
I remember thinking that in 1985, after covering Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium, about Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. San Francisco won that game but Marino was so young and talented, only in his second year. “He’s going to win four or five of these,” people said.
But Marino never got back.
Sometimes, your best chance to win a Super Bowl is the one you just played. Because it might be your only chance.