The furor has died down a bit since last Sunday’s (dare I say shocking) Super Bowl loss by the Seattle Seahawks, but I have found myself mulling over it since then. Not because I’m some sort of super fan of the Seachickens. Quite the opposite, I was raised split between Phoenix and Denver, and we don’t need to go in to what they did to my two teams in the last season-and-a-half.

Plus, I’m married to a born-and-raised Seattleite and I’m pretty sure that means I’m required to dislike them.

Regardless. Mulling there has been.

Gallons of ink has already been spilled about the incredibly-stupidly named Deflategate (Watergate was over 40 years ago and was in reference to an actual hotel name. Adding the word “gate” to the end of things is not getting old. It’s gotten old, died, decayed, and turned to dust), the decision to throw the ball at 2nd and inches instead of running it in, and everything else in between; so I’m not looking to rehash these subjects which have already been covered by folks who are way more in to sports than I could ever even pretend to be.

Instead, I want to ponder briefly the difference between Winning and Not Losing.

I lied just now. I told you I wasn’t going to revisit the deflating of balls during the game immediately leading to the Super Bowl, but it pertains directly to this subject. So deal.

When the Colts lost to the Patriots by a margin of thirty-eight points (that’s a 3 and an 8), one has to wonder why anyone . . . ANYONE . . . would consider cheating necessary. And yet only the most devout of apologist actually believes that nobody cheated. It doesn’t particularly matter who in the organization did it nor who knew. The two people ultimately responsible for the balls (heh) were the coach and the quarterback, and yet they should have had the confidence in their ability to defeat the demonstrably lesser team. Even should they have given up half of their points to their opponents, the game would have been considered decisive.

That is winning a game. It would have been something to be proud of, if only they hadn’t besmirched their own good name.

During the Super Bowl however, it was entirely different. They faced a team that (and you have no idea how much it pains me to say this), fought them hard for every step. For every point. Though they made plenty of mistakes, the Seahawks also played brilliantly on multiple occasions to return from terrible field positions to score seemingly impossibly.

And then came that moment. The moment which is going to live in history and weigh on the minds and rest on the shoulders of both Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll (their quarterback and coach respectively). With plenty of time, with only inches left to the winning touchdown, and with a hugely successful running game throughout the game . . . the QB threw a pass which was intercepted rather than letting a tall man fall over and score a touchdown.

And thus the point to this now-long post (sorry about that).

This Super Bowl is the perfect example of a team getting approbation and applause for winning two games when all they really did was succeed in not losing. Especially in the latter of the two games, their opponents had the win in their hands and literally threw it away. It’s appropriate that most of the stories which have been written about this game have focused on the Seahawks’ loss rather than the Patriots’ victory . . . because that’s what it was.

There is an old saying which goes “I would rather be lucky than good.” It’s completely true and I WOULD always rather be lucky. Because of this, right here. No matter how good you are, when the chips are down it’s luck that will make your opponent do things which are dumb as can be. And make you a 4th time Super Bowl champ.

2 comments

  1. I think you’re a little misguided if you’re implying that New England won the Super Bowl through a combination of luck and cheating and nothing else. I agree that DeflateGate was overblown by the media. It’s hard to win football games no matter what level, but especially so in the NFL playoffs. Don’t write off champions because you think their success is tainted. I wrote an article (shameless plug alert) on the flawed thinking of this very subject. skeptictaproom.wordpress.com
    D.H.

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    1. By no means do I mean to imply that last Sunday’s game was anything short of a nailbiter or that the Patriots did not play well in either case. That’s actually kind of the point.

      The DID play well in each case. But in the first game, there will always be an asterisk . . . they not only cheated but they cheated in a lame way and were caught at it when they didn’t need to cheat in the first place. Really?!

      And in the latter, they played excellently but my stance is that they didn’t actually, well . . . they didn’t WIN. They just didn’t lose. The Seahawks lost. The Patriots just didn’t NOT lose.

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