Scott Fowler

8 things to hate about a Super dud of a Super Bowl

A Super Bowl history of Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty

As the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl this Sunday, here's a look at how Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty have done in Super Bowls since 2001.
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As the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl this Sunday, here's a look at how Tom Brady and the Patriots dynasty have done in Super Bowls since 2001.

What a Super dud.

The 53rd Super Bowl actually wasn’t the worst one ever from a competitive standpoint — it was tied going into the fourth quarter — but I’ve never seen a drearier one.

Here are eight things I hated about a mind-numbing big game that New England won over the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history:

1. The incompletions. When you think about it, an incompletion may be the most boring play in football. It’s not a sack. It’s not an interception. It never results in points for anybody. It’s just a football bouncing off the turf and a lot of fans moaning in discontent. In this game, there were 33 incompletions (19 by Jared Goff, 14 by Tom Brady), although it felt like 333.

2. The Patriots won again. Six Super Bowl rings?! How monotonous can you get? Nothing against the Patriots — they have been the NFL’s standard of excellence for nearly two decades.

You can say all you want about officiating calls or Deflategate or whatever but Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are the best coach-quarterback combo in NFL history. Still, couldn’t the Rams come up with a better challenge to the throne than that?

3. One touchdown. Fourteen punts.

Ugh. Former Panthers coach John Fox used to say that “a punt is not a bad play,” but 14 of them sure make for a bad football game.

4. It actually wasn’t the worst Super Bowl. If you’re going to waste that much time watching something with so little entertainment value, you could at least take some solace in a “The Disaster Artist” movie sort of way, knowing that what you saw was the worst Super Bowl of all time.

But this really wasn’t. There have been many worse Super Bowls, often decided by halftime: San Francisco 55, Denver 10 in the 1989 postseason, for instance, or Dallas 52, Buffalo 17 in the 1992 postseason. This one was just drudgery.

Here are the best moments from the commercials that ran during Super Bowl LIII.

5. The “Andy Warhol eating a Whopper” commercial. I understand it’s actual footage of Warhol that has been repurposed, and that it’s supposed to be arty, and that the uncomfortable silence is supposed to cut through all the noisy clutter of the average Super Bowl ad. I didn’t think it succeeded. I wish they had an ad with Andy Warhol drinking some of that vat of corn syrup. That would have been more interesting.

6. Sean McVay. What happened to Wonder Boy?

“I got out-coached tonight,” McVay would admit in his postgame press conference. It’s refreshing that the Rams coach took the blame, but could he not have come up with a better game plan in the first place?

The Rams started the game with punts on eight straight drives. McVay again performed that strange magic act of making his star running back, Todd Gurley, disappear for large stretches. The Rams couldn’t keep Goff protected. McVay could never fool the Patriots. He never called for anything out of the box.

Does this means that all of McVay’s friends who just got hired to NFL head-coaching jobs aren’t really that good, either?

7. Tony Romo. It was going to be hard following up his near-perfect call of the AFC Championship Game, but I thought Romo’s predictions just before the snap this time around were pedestrian on the CBS coverage (several times Romo said it was going to be this or that, and instead it was a third thing entirely).

Romo wasn’t bad by any stretch, and at least he was honest — he made fun of the game’s lack of scoring at several points and said at 3-all that the game had turned into a “scoring spree.” But he didn’t elevate what we were seeing much, either. He’s better when the game is really good and high-scoring, and he can sound enthusiastic in a genuine sort of way.

At least Romo wasn’t Phil Simms, though, who thankfully no longer sits besides Jim Nantz in the analyst’s chair but still managed to say on the postgame show that this had been “fun to watch.” Uh, no, Phil, it wasn’t.

8. The postgame pushing and shoving around Brady. It was too early for CBS to go to Tracy Wolfson on the field at that point, as Brady was surrounded by opposing players and far too many cameras. Why wasn’t he in a roped-off area? Wolfson was doing her best down there, but this was bad TV. It was the sort of thing that gives the media a bad name — and it looked kind of dangerous, too.

OK, not everything in this game was an incompletion. The ad with the NFL legends overturning banquet tables and playing football in suits was fantastic — way better than both “Maroon 5” at halftime and the actual game. The “Game of Thrones” and “Bud Light” partnership ad was similarly cool. And I’m glad Julian Edelman got the MVP award; that was the correct choice.

But in general, this was a Super stale Sunday.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he was relieved the Super Bowl didn't have to be decided on the last play. He won his sixth Super Bowl ring as the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3.



Sports columnist Scott Fowler has written for the Charlotte Observer since 1994. He has authored or co-authored eight books, including four about the Carolina Panthers. In 2018, Fowler won the Thomas Wolfe award for outstanding newspaper writing. He also is the host of the Observer’s hit podcast “Carruth.”

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