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The Fix Is In's Official (& Insider) Pick for Super Bowl XLVI
Two caveats on my incorrect pick (and both of these were pointed out as footnotes in my original posting) and a few notes about this game:
1.) My source from last year did not return. I don't know what happened to him (I hope he's OK) but I have not heard from him since about Week 6 of the 2011 NFL season. My prediction was based off of other information I received which proved wrong as well as my own thoughts that the Patriots winning would erase the stain of Spygate. Apparently nothing will do that now. This loss only bolsters the notion that Brady & Belichick's Super Bowl wins were ONLY due to their cheating and videotaping of their opponents signals.
2.) The New York Giants posted on their website a day prior to this game that they had won and were the World's Champions. The picture below was the landing page of the Giants' website after the Super Bowl. It's identical to the picture in the linked-above story. Was it just a "practice" attempt by the Giants' webmaster? The original pre-Super Bowl post was quickly retracted, but it was still caught and publicized.
Interestingly, ESPN posted a poll question prior to the New Orleans Saints-Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl asking "which of these Super Bowl winning QBs...." in which the list of choices included Saints' QB Drew Brees. He hadn't won the Super Bowl - yet. This, too, was spotted but quickly pulled. It wound up being prophetic as well.
Three plays in Super Bowl XLVI in need of further inspection:
1.) The first quarter safety. I've been watching NFL football for a long, long time and I have never seen intentional grounding called when a quarterback (in this case, Tom Brady) overthrow all of his receivers. Brady did this while in the end zone under a fair amount of pressure. While it can be argued that the intentional grounding penalty called in the end zone was "letter of the law" correct, it's rather amazing that in the NFL's premiere game such a call was made against one of the NFL's premiere QBs - especially when no one would've complained had this call not been made. The two points awarded to the Giants from the safety altered the play of the rest of the game.
2.) Brady's interception. On this play, Brady rolled out due to pressure up the middle and heaved a deep pass for TE Rob Gronkowski. The ball was under thrown and intercepted. Two things here: first, instead of throwing the ball down field, Brady could've easily run for a first down (if not more) as there was no defenders in front of him. I know Brady's not a running QB, but in this case, it would've been a much smarter play. Secondly, there's the matter of Gronkowski himself. Hobbled by an ankle injury that kept him out of several Patriots practices, he managed to play--and party after the Super Bowl. How injured was he? Could he have made a better play on Brady's long pass?
3.) The "concession" touchdown. We can argue about the coaching "genius" of Bill Belichick, especially in the wake of Spygate. But he admitted he ordered his defense to lay down and allow the Giants to score the go-ahead (and game-winning) touchdown in order to give Brady and the offensive more time to come back. This strategy failed (as it did when Mike Holmgren did the same thing in the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos). While I'd like to know what play is called into the huddle that designates for no one to try, my question(s) remain: what about a turnover? A defensive stand? A blocked field goal? A missed field goal? Is it really better to give away a lead in the biggest game of the season rather than hold on to it for dear life? Or did perhaps someone even higher up than Belichick order the Patriots D to lay down?
It's a little late for the referees to give Brady and the Patriots a hand.