Super Bowl LIII Brought Us Back Down to Earth

Super Bowl LIII Brought Us Back Down to Earth

What should have been football's greatest turned out to be a lackluster game in the twilight of a once towering career.


I surveyed the room with, what I say unabashedly, was a muted degree of satisfaction. After all, I had just spent the previous five hours scrubbing, vacuuming, and prepping for the gathering, including the cherry on top: an emergency run to the grocery store when it became known that we were sorely lacking paper plates.

As the curtain raised on Super Bowl LIII, there was no reason not to be satisfied. Sure, the Rams were in the fight in part thanks to a blown referee call, and the Patriots were…well the Patriots were the Patriots. And yet, despite those detractions, on paper, the matchup looked like a sweet treat. Oldest quarterback vs. one of the youngest quarterbacks. Oldest coach vs. youngest coach. Behemoth dynasty vs. talented upstart. Not to mention the number two and number five overall offenses, paired with some explosive defensive play. What's not to love about that main event?

It quickly became clear that everything was not to love. And though the party was still an enjoyable affair (in great part due to one of my roommates cooking an obscene amount of chicken wings), there were definitely moments when that enjoyment was sparse on the TV.

The final score: a 13-3 Patriots victory. It is one that will be satisfying for Bostonians, exhilarating for NFL record junkies, and very much meh for every other party involved.

The longest play from either team? Went only 29 yards. How many punts? Try 14 (including eight consecutive from the Rams to start the game). Two missed field goals, one from either team. An interception each from Brady and Goff. No touchdowns scored until seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, and only one touchdown at that.

The game's lone statistical jewel, Julian Edelman (who caught 10 passes for 141 yards), shined so bright that even I easily predicted he'd nab the Super Bowl MVP award as early as the second quarter.

What made the game even more frustrating was that the defensive play wasn't explosive, merely solid. There were no earth-shattering sacks, only dumb ones that could have been easily avoided (looking at you Jared Goff). Goff's pick was equally stupid. Brady's also ill-advised. Heck, there's even a particular incompletion that stands out in my mind as most heinous: with the Patriots at midfield, Brady tries to throw the ball to his halfback standing two feet away from him in the flat, and the ball hits dirt instead. As another one of my roommates smartly quipped (and not incorrectly so), "Even I could have made that throw."

So, strong defensive work, but hardly complimented by anything spectacular. And this is the Super Bowl, after all. Spectacle is what it's all supposed to be about.

I'm no happy man that the Patriots have won a sixth championship. But the way in which it was won is almost more damning. I wrote an article prior to last year's Super Bowl in which I complimented Tom Brady's amazing credentials but criticized the staying power of New England in the fashion of a fine, yet tired TV show that refuses to die.

If Super Bowl LII was the cathartic and nuanced bookend to an amazing, long-lived soap opera storyline, Super Bowl LIII was the moment the Patriots finally jumped the shark.

Who cares? Do Bostonians even care? As Yahoo's Dan Wetzel pointed out, it's been a whopping 97 days since the city hoisted its last major pro sports trophy.

I have the utmost respect for what Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have managed to do with the Patriots. They took a perennial loser and in 17 years managed to appear in nine championships, winning six. Those numbers are legendary, on par with the likes of George Halas, Curly Lambeau, and Vince Lombardi. And none of those guys ever had to deal with a salary cap or Colin Kaepernick and the President of the United States openly feuding with one another.

And yet, with that accomplishment should come paralleled success in other metrics. The Patriots were good this year, but hardly great. Same for Tom Brady. I mean, the coolest thing about every other Patriot Super Bowl was that they never won or lost by more than one score. In every other instance, down to the very last snap, they had the chance to stake claim to victory or let it slip away.

Super Bowl LIII, comparatively, was a war of attrition reminiscent of World War I trench warfare. And even when the score was tied 3-3 you had a good idea who was going to win because Jared Goff was missing open receivers all day.

So, take your championship New England, hollow though it may ring. Perhaps if Drew Brees had been playing in Atlanta instead of Goff things would've been just as dismal, but perhaps not. My money is that between two wily old veterans, one of them would've awoken eventually. Instead, Tom Brady snoozed and his Los Angeles counterpart looked skittish from start to finish.

Thanks to that glaring no call (and admittedly a few key mistakes from New Orleans too), Brady v. Brees is not what we were gifted with. Instead we have this: 13-3. The lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history. And perhaps also a whimpering finale from one of the NFL's most gargantuan, drawn from a career cast under the strange pallor of twilight.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.


We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo And Christian Yelich Have Put Milwaukee Back On The Map

Two small market teams making sure the world knows who they are


"MVP" is currently being chanted around the city of Milwaukee and the people of Milwaukee aren't just talking about one person. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and Christian Yelich, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. Giannis is on the path to winning this year's NBA MVP and Yelich, who happened to win the NL MVP last year, is showing no doubts on potentially becoming this year's MVP as well.

Both the Bucks and the Brewers have struggled in the past few years. The Bucks finished their 2013-2014 season with a record of 15-67. On top of that, they have been playing in the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the past couple of decades. The Bradley Center was intentionally built for hockey and not basketball so attending games for the Bucks sometimes had you in the nosebleeds barely seeing what was going on on the court. The Bucks struggled after their 2013-2014 season with records of 41-41 (2014-2015) and 33-49 (2015-2016). Now, the Bucks have recently finished their regular season and moved to the playoffs. From 15-67 just five years ago, to now 60-22 which gave them the best record in the NBA, the number one seed in the East and home-court advantage, Giannis has proved himself as potentially one of the greatest players the NBA and the Bucks franchise will ever see.

The Bucks now have a new arena that opened this season, Fiserv Forum, which is built specifically for the Bucks (and Marquette) instead of hockey. Looking back on the Bucks in their previous years compared to now, the Bucks have sold out every single game this season. Something Milwaukee never thought they would see from being a small market team. From my experience, while working for the Bucks, you can see the difference in the crowd and feel their enthusiasm and excitement radiating off of the fans. And this is all thanks to Mr. Antetokounmpo who is making his mark here in Milwaukee. Giannis has won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November, December, February and March/April and even earned his spot as Eastern Conference captain for the All-Star game this year. Giannis may be considered in his prime right now, but he is only 24-years-old which means he has plenty of time to only make himself better.

The Brewers had won the NL Central Divison back in 2011 but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. After that, they struggled a bit and haven't won the title since until last year in 2018. He brought the Brewers to the NLCS last season, but unfortunately, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yelich had 36 home runs last season and already has eight (as of 4/16/19) this season. He happens to be a great right fielder as well. In last night's (4/15/19) game against the Cardinals, Yelich alone scored three home runs.

Miller Park has been filling up more and more each game of Brewers fans. Being a small market team like their cross-city friends, the Bucks, bringing home an MVP title as well as a division title, it makes everyone aware of their greatness and dedication. The season may have just started back up again, but there is no doubt, if Yelich and his teammates keep playing like they are right now, they will have another shot of making it to the World Series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich have brought and will continue to bring excitement and greatness to Milwaukee which is something the city hasn't seen in a while. This era of sports will surely be remembered for a long time by the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

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