Super Bowl LIII is now over, and the NFL world is a better place now that we can put that mess behind us all.
While the NFL and media drooled over themselves with the offenses of “today’s NFL,” highlighted by regular season games between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, the Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chiefs and the New England Patriots, there was much ado about two of the NFL’s best offenses (and mediocre defenses) showing up on the grandest stage of them all.
The total over/under betting line for points scored in the game was 55.5. That’s fifty-five and a half points.
The NFL, Vegas, and the sports world as a whole expected this to be an exciting, high-scoring affair that would leave football fans chomping at the bit for the 2019 season. Instead, what they got was a 13-3 snooze-fest in what might go down as one of the worst Super Bowls ever.
And Saints fans - and players - couldn’t be happier.
Don’t cry now LA— Ted Ginn Jr (@TedGinnJr_19) February 4, 2019
No, this wasn’t one of the worst Super Bowls just because it was a defensive showdown fought in the trenches of each team’s offensive and defensive lines. It was one of the worst Super Bowls because of story lines created in the game.
Here are ten reasons why Super Bowl LIII was the worst Super Bowl ever, and why the NFL - and Roger Goodell - absolutely deserve it.
1 - The Winning Team
With Super Bowl LIII coming up this Sunday, we found this map showing each state's rooting interest. Who is your pick to win?— ArkansasGIS (@ArkansasGIS) February 1, 2019
Check out the this Twitter map and article showing America wants the Patriots to lose Super Bowl LIII https://t.co/9ZoG7Rk3X5 via @sportsnaut pic.twitter.com/CRUZX86mGm
It’s not hyperbole to say most football fans were not cheering for the Los Angeles Rams. Rather, they were cheering against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The world wanted to see a passing-of-the-torch between the Patriots dynasty and the young and exciting Los Angeles Rams.
Instead the world got the most boring result possible: Tom Brady and the Evil Empire win. Again.
2 - The first flag of the game
Nickell Robey-Coleman because infamous after the NFC Championship Game as being the culprit of the blatant no-call defensive pass interference and helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints WR Tommylee Lewis. Robey-Coleman initially admitted the hit was illegal, but then was forced to backtrack for fear of de-legitimizing the Rams’ Super Bowl berth.
So it was absolutely poetic for the first flag of the game to be thrown against the Rams, specifically Robey-Coleman, for hitting the opposing pass-catcher too early, in what looked like an perfectly legal tackle.
Was this hit a penalty on the Rams defender? The ref thought so.. pic.twitter.com/pYN84rEfB6— Pros and Joes (@ProsAndJoesPod) February 3, 2019
3 - Missed DPI
Sticking with officiating, it wasn’t nearly as blatant as the no-call that cost the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, but again, it was poetic justice:
With the Rams down a mere touchdown with 4 minutes left to go in the game, Jared Goff threw a costly interception to the Patriots four-yard line that would wind up costing his team the chance to win.
After the pick, the Patriots drove down the field and kicked the all-important FG that put the Pats up two possessions. It was a deficit the Rams would be unable to overcome, and it all happened as a result of the interception. But wait - there’s more.
That interception was the result of a potential no-call that hurt the Rams:
Folks asking for non-calls to be reviewable: That play to Cooks gets challenged & it's called DPI.— nick wright (@getnickwright) February 4, 2019
4 - The MVP
Tom Brady, the greatest QB of all time who just won his record-setting SIXTH Super Bowl ring, was not the game’s MVP. In fact, Brady didn’t score a single touchdown in the game, throwing more passes for picks (1) than scores (0).
Instead, Julian Edelman - who caught ten passes for 141 yards - was named MVP. But guess what? He didn’t score a touchdown either. Edelman because the first offensive Super Bowl MVP that didn’t score a touchdown since Fred Biletnikoff in Super Bowl XI.
What makes Edelman’s MVP even more embarrassing for the NFL is that Edelman was suspended the first four games of this season due to testing positive for PEDs.
That’s right: your reigning Super Bowl MVP is coming off a season where he was suspended multiple games for performance-enhancing drugs. In baseball, a player popped for PEDs is ineligible for the postseason roster. In the NFL, Kaepernick is still without a job and Edelman, busted for cheating, went on to help his team win the big one.
5 - McVay and Goff crumble under pressure
“Sean McVay is a football genius.”
“Sean McVay is brilliant for how young he is.”
“Sean McVay is sooo dreamy.”
“Sean McVay’s best friend’s neighbor’s dog’s veterinarian’s ex-husband once had a kid who played flag football so he’s probably qualified for an NFL head coaching gig.”
We’ve all heard the talk.
Well, when the lights came on for Super Bowl LIII, Sean McVay got taken to school by Bill Belichick, and McVay knew it.
Granted, his quarterback didn’t help him out much, completing only 19 of 38 passes for 229 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception for a 13.4 QBR.
It's almost as if he doesn't deserve to be there. https://t.co/cayWCYcjVa— Christopher Dunnells (@dunnellz) February 4, 2019
6 - Rams lone highlight was a really long punt
The Los Angeles offense just couldn’t get the ball moving. They had as many punts and sacks as they had offensive first downs (13).
That being said, it’s not a shock to hear that the biggest play of the Rams all game came on a record-breaking punt.
Johnny Hekker : 9 punts for 417 yards, averaged 46.3 yards per punt & downed 5 inside the 20 (Super Bowl record 65-yard punt in the 3rd quarter. The Rams offense was held to 260 yards) pic.twitter.com/fc1v3mOA5r— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life25) February 4, 2019
Still, with a team led by Sean McVay and Wade Phillips and comprised of players like Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Aqib Talib, Jared Goff, and Marcus Peters, it is obviously disappointing when their lone highlight is a really, really long kick.
7 - The Todd Gurley mystery
One year after Bill Belichick made football pundits scratch their heads with the inexplicable benching of former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Butler, Sean McVay left the world similarly confused with the unexplained absence of Todd Gurley.
Counting punts and holds, Rams punter Johnny Hekker touched the ball as many times as Todd Gurley in the game.
Gurley finished the game with 11 total touches for 34 yards. This is the same player who led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns and was third in total rushing yards with 1,251 (besting the league leader Ezekiel Elliott with a yards per attempt average of 4.9 compared to Zeke’s 4.7). Gurley also added another 580 yards in the air with four receiving TDs in the 2018 regular season, accounting for over 1,800 yards of total offense and 21 total touchdowns.
Sean McVay’s refusal to use Todd Gurley all game caused many fans to question whether or not Gurley was dealing with an undisclosed injury. No word has come out yet, but consider this:
8 - Single, boring touchdown
While the Rams offense was absolutely terrible, it’s not like the Patriots were that much better. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering this was the lowest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history.
It wasn’t until midway through the fourth quarter that either team took a single offensive snap in the opponent’s red zone.
It was the Patriots who made it to the red zone first (their only time, and the only team to do so) on the back of a 29-yard pass to TE Rob Gronkowski. That set up first and goal at the Rams 2-yard line. With a team led by all-time greats Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, and with future Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, the lone touchdown of the game was a two-yard run from Sony Michel behind a lead blocking full back.
No 80-yard bomb. No defensive scoop and score. No exciting kickoff return. No tackle-breaking scamper. Nope. A two-yard power run behind the fullback resulted in the only touchdown in the game.
9 - Moment of futility
One game after nailing a 57-yard field goal in overtime to send the Rams to the Super Bowl, Greg Zuerlein lined up to take a 48-yarder with little to no pressure on the kick. Sure, the kick was in the Super Bowl and not the Conference Championship game, but it was also almost ten yards shorter. Even still, it wouldn’t tie the game. The Rams would still have to recover a successful onside kick and score a touchdown (and kick the extra point) on a single Hail Mary play to end regulation after the field goal.
Maybe Zuerlein was thinking too much about the ensuing onside kick attempt, but he flat-out missed the 48 yard field goal try that allowed the Patriots to go on and milk the remaining clock for the win.
What could have likely gone down as just garbage time points for LA, the Rams couldn’t even kick a field goal to bring the deficit to a single possession.
10 - The halftime show was hot garbage
Gone are the days of Prince and Michael Jackson tearing down the house at halftime of the Super Bowl.
With the NFL’s top choices like Rihanna and Cardi B declining the invitation due to the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, they were stuck with Maroon 5 as a fallback. In the city of Atlanta, known for its music scene, the NFL gave us Maroon 5. Not Ludacris, Usher, Outkast (though Big Boi did appear after Andre 3000 refused), Lil Jon, Migos, TLC, or even T.I.
And a falling Travis Scott.
It was a ten-year low for viewership of the Super Bowl.
And the NFL absolutely deserved what they got.
You could have had the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints. You should have had Drew Brees vs Tom Brady in a battle of future Hall of Famers.
Instead you got the worst Super Bowl of all time.