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Patriots vs. Seahawks: Fan Notes from the Super Bowl

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Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots' fourth Super Bowl victory

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, you guys remember that time the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl? Yeah that was fun.

To be honest, I don't really think that it has all sunk in just yet. I think I'm still waiting for a late illegal hands to the face flag or some story to break that takes this win away from New England. I know that none of that is coming, that this game is in the books and the Patriots are getting ready to bring the Lombardi back to Foxboro, but I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around it all. Everything about the game was just so crazy, from wire to wire, that I'm sitting here at my desk still unsure as to whether or not it really even happened.

Luckily for me, I have the entire offseason to think about it.

  • Man, Seattle came out to Bittersweet Symphony. Any child of the 90s can appreciate that one. Cruel Intentions all day.
  • I have absolutely no idea who Idena Manzel is. I feel like I should.
  • I legit don't know how to feel about the new Jurassic Park. I have been so adamantly against reboots and remakes for so long now, and now they come out with this, and it looks BADASS. I don't know if I want to go and change my curmudgeonly opinion on all these newfangled movin' pictures that they keep sullying the waters with, but man that flick looks good.
  • I will, however, judge the new Terminator movie. No thanks.
  • Screw you, Chevy Colorado. You gave me a goddam heart attack with your whole "what if the TV cut out" commercial. Not cool, and I will never be buying one of those cars ever.
  • I'm going to get all my commercial talk out of the way now so we can all just focus on the game itself for the rest of the article. But before I get into any specifics, I'm going to put this out there: I, like most people, watch football - and sports in general - to get away from all the crap that goes on in the world. It's a cold, brutal, and unforgiving planet, and it's virtually impossible to go even a few hours without learning about some new tragedy or additional reason to feel lousy. So why the 2015 Super Bowl decided to bombard us all at every turn with depressing, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking commercials is beyond me. I mean can't I just have a few hours of my life to forget about how much the world sucks? Can't you guys just throw up Bird and Jordan playing a game of horse for a Big Mac and be done with it? Jeez...
  • There were some feel-good ones - like that Game of War commercial starring Kate Upton. Crazy to think that there is a person on that crew whose primary job is to make sure that Kate's boobs are as jiggly as possible. If anyone has any idea at all how one obtains such a job, please - PLEASE - get in touch with me.
  • There should be a Viewer Discretion Advised warning every time Kim Kardashian is about to sully my beautiful television. I shouldn't have to be exposed to that.
  • I'd also love to know
  • Another polarizing commercial, for some reason, was the Always #LikeAGirl one. I personally thought it was fine, but I will say this: if you think that girls are the only ones whose self-confidence takes a major hit during puberty, you clearly never hung out with Alec Shane from age 12 to 18. And if you hang out with Alec Shane post-18, that's more a reflection of your poor judge of character than anything that might have to do with me.
  • As if I wasn't enough of an emotional wreck last night, Budweiser had to go an up the ante with a bunch of horses saving a puppy from a wolf. Add "sobbing uncontrollably" to the list of things I was doing last night.
  • At the same time - I'm pretty sure that farmer is the same guy from last year's Budweiser puppy commercial. That guy sucks at pet ownership
  • And then we have some crying dad dropping his little girl off for military service in his Nissan, and some kid who died before he got to fulfill all of his hopes and dreams, and GoDaddy with the brilliant idea of getting away from sexy Danica Patrick and going with puppies instead, and Coke showing some poor kid sitting by himself on the bus getting a text that says "No One Likes U..." uncle, guys. Seriously. I've had enough.
  • The lone bright spot for me was Tommy B's cameo in the Ted 2 trailer. Absolutely hilarious all around. If I hadn't been so nervous when that one first aired, I would have laughed hysterically when Mark Wahlberg lifted up Brady's blanket and that golden glow shone forth. Not that far off from the truth, either.
  • OK, enough of that. On to the game.
  • Richard Sherman looked like a serial killer throughput the entire pregame. Just a deadpan stare and I didn't see him blink once - until the end, that is, when he started blinking back tears.
  • Remember when watching the Patriots play in the Super Bowl was fun? Yeah me neither.
  • Not the worst start in the world for New England. Good mix of run and pass, no immediate pressure on Brady, gave him some time to settle. Obviously you want to march down the field and score, but that first drive was really more of a "let's see how long I'm going to have to release the ball" kind of thing than anything else.
  • There are certain penalties in the NFL that nobody - including the refs - know how to call correctly. Running into the kicker vs. roughing the kicker should not be one of those penalties. That one is pretty straightforward. You hit the plant leg, 15 yards. Plain as day. That missed call wasn't even close.
  • That said, though, good for the refs for actually letting these teams play. Each team got away with a few that probably would have gotten flagged in the regular season, and it was nice to see. Good job all around from the officiating crew.
  • New England opened up with fantastic gap discipline on defense and wouldn't let Lynch turn the corner. Vince Wilfork turned in his best game of the season and it's not even close. Completely ate up both the 1 and the 2 gap and allowed Collins and Hightower to read Lynch's cuts.
  • Last night was also a testament to this new England secondary. What makes Wilson so dangerous is his ability to just run around behind the line of scrimmage long enough for his receivers to get open, which he did for most of the game - except he wouldn't complete his first pass until there was only five minutes left in the half.
  • I'd go so far as to say that the Patriots D was phenomenal all night. The bulk of Seattle's offense came on miracle bombs to their fourth or fifth receiving option, which is one of those things you just have to accept.
  • The big exception, of course, was Kyle Arrington. Guy got his lunch eaten all night until he was flat out benched for Logan Ryan and...um...I don't know. 21, I think his number is. Nobody will remember his name today.
  • To be fair, Chris Matthews was just a horrible matchup for Arrington. He's a slot corner and always has been. Big, rangy guys who can go deep have always given him fits, and last night was no exception.
  • Brandon Browner apparently begged the coaching staff to switch up their scheme so he could mark Matthews. They did, and the adjustment was a good one.
  • In terms of the Seahawks D, I think the best word to describe them is "relentless." It just doesn't stop. They also all swarm to the ballcarrier immediately. It's really a lot of fun to watch - most of the time.
  • A lot of big sets for the Patriots to start. Committing to the run regardless of success and keeping the defense honest. Blount won the 1st half before he disappeared, and then Lynch won the second. I think what makes Marshawn Lynch so dangerous is that he runs just as hard in the 4th quarter as he does in the 1st, so it's just a matter of time before he wears the defense down.
  • He also runs with an almost comically wide stance, which allows him to both cut with amazing efficiency and get low when he makes contact, which is why he's so hard to bring down.
  • The Patriots had a very specific gameplan - power runs, quick releases, clearout routes to open up the underneath zones - and for the most part, it worked incredibly well. That is, until...
  • You can always see a Tom Brady pick coming, can't you... feeling pressure, off his back foot, almost turtles up as he releases. That was an INT the second he let go of the ball and all of us knew it. Absolutely no idea where he was going on that one. Looking at it from the end zone was even worse - there was no Patriot even in the immediate area. Credit to Michael Bennett for a great stunt on that.
  • Maybe he realized that if he had just taken a sack and settled for the field goal, he would have broken his streak of never scoring a first quarter point in any of his Super Bowls. Must be a really superstitious guy. Yeah, that's it..
  • I feel like Tommy B actually had more time than he thought he did for most of the night and if the Patriots wanted to go longer down the field, they could have. But since the game plan was quick passes, and quick passes was working, they didn't deviate.
  • Surprised I didn't see more stretch runs against a Seattle edge line that sells out a lot.
  • I need to start running a tape recorder whenever I watch football games. I have absolutely no idea what a koala bear who got his tail stepped on sounds like, but I imagine the noise that came out of  my mouth when LaFell scored the first TD of the game is fairly similar.
  • What a great play that was too. Fake the draw as LaFell faked the corner Go, then swum back inside on the slant to take advantage of the weak link. Ironically, that play was an indirect result of Brady's pick injuring Jeremy Lane and forcing Seattle to go with Tharold Simon instead.
  • And if anyone wants to see why Lane didn't return, just click here. WARNING: it's gross. Not for the faint of heart.
  • I would like to officially redact my complaint about all of this year's games having zero flow due to constant TV timeouts. I now realize that all of that was just prepping us all for watching this year's Super Bowl. You figure with all of Seattle's 3 and outs there would be plenty of ad time, but what can you do.
  • Tough to get too upset about Seattle's first TD of the day; a long completion in perfect coverage where a height advantage won the day and a few Marshawn Lynch runs. That's going to happen in any scenario.
  • I was absolutely terrified that New England was going to go three and out after that touchdown and give Seattle the ball back with all the momentum and the 2nd half kickoff. Instead they went 80 yards on 8 plays in 1:45 to take the lead before half on what I can only describe as a Gronking to Remember.
  • What a massive coverage mismatch there. Not only was Gronk in single coverage against linebacker K.J. Wright, but Wright was playing about eight yards off the line and gave Gronk a free release. One of the easiest catch-and-run plays you're going to see.
  • I don't know how Seattle managed to answer right back like that. That's just one of those scenarios where you simply have to tip your cap and appreciate a great QB at work.
  • If football doesn't work out for J.R. Sweezy, he already has his name picked out for what is sure to be a promising rap career.
  • Tough to think of a worse start for the Patriots than a momentum building drive by Seattle, a Brady pick, then an immediate Seattle score. Pair that with a holding penalty on the way to a three and out, and I started getting very, very nauseous.
  • Once Seattle got up by two scores, they were able to do what they do best: lean on the run, set up the playaction, and gain yards in chunks. That New England was able to stop them and regain the lead - to the tune of the biggest fourth quarter comeback in Super Bowl History - once again speaks volumes about this defense..
  • One thing this game showed, perhaps more than any other game I've seen this season, is how important it is for an offense to get comfortable. New England was able to keep Seattle on shaky ground for most of the 1st half, but then they were able to gain a ton of confidence late and didn't look back.
  • I also hate to use the phrase "body language" here - but you saw it in Tommy B after that second pick, didn't you? He just looked like he no longer wanted to be there.
  • And then LeGarrette Blount couldn't even get back to the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 1 to open up the 4th quarter. That was a classic case of the team that wanted it more winning the battle over the team that had the wind knocked out of their sails.I can't even tell you how badly I wanted to see Brady start yelling and screaming like a maniac at any point - but he didn't. He just didn't seem into it.
  • But I think that he was into it - just in a different way. Sometimes Brady gets fired up, and sometimes he just zeroes in. Last night was the the latter. Everyone was expecting Boagrius, and Brady was Achilles.
  • Was there a single instance last night where the NFL didn't take the opportunity to go to a commercial?
  • New England's go-ahead drive was 10 plays and 64 yards. It ended with a Brady to Edelman strike that Tommy B missed earlier in the game. Edelman was in single coverage on Simon, he cut in for the quick slant, made a hard turn, and completely lost his man for an easy score.
  • The real problem with that play is that I really, really I needed New England's go-ahead drive to last longer than it did. Like, two minutes and two seconds longer than it did.
  • I mean you just felt it coming, didn't you? I just knew that Seattle was going to drive down and score a touchdown there. It just had the feel of whoever has the ball last is going to win - and plus, that scenario was one that we are all painfully well-versed in.
  • Jamie Collins is a beast. But he has no idea how to cover an RB Wheel Route. Something to address in the off-season.
  • I don't even know how to describe what I was feeling when Kearse made that catch. I just thought to myself, "How? How can this be happening again? Why do the Patriots always lose like this?"'
  • Anyone who didn't think that the game was over at that point is lying. The Seahawks had the ball at the 5 yard line with a timeout and the best running back in the game ready to roll. I almost turned it off at that point, to be honest. I just couldn't bear another win stolen on some absurdity. But I didn't. I stayed until the very end.
  • My reward for my loyalty? I got to watch an undrafted rookie, a nobody, a guy that nobody had heard of, a player brought in solely as a camp body, an afterthought that took advantage of the reps he was given in preseason and worked his way onto the team, make the play of his life. I got to see everything about this sport that makes it great all summarized in one moment. I got see Malcolm Butler hand Tommy B his fourth ring.
  • My friend called me shortly after the game ended to ask me what came out of my mouth when Butler made that pick, and I'll tell all of you what I told him: an audible sob. Just one, and just a few tears came with it, but that's what happened. I didn't jump out of my chair. There was no air humping. There was no cheering, or screaming, or dancing in the streets. There was just one man, alone in his apartment, watching one of the greatest plays in New England Patriots history, and sobbing once. I watched the replay to see that it was real, that I had in fact just witnessed it, and that there were no flags on the ground. I then placed my laptop on the floor, stood up, went over to the window, and leaned my head against the cool glass surface, trying to gather myself. I didn't want to lose it. I wanted to watch the rest of the game with vision not blurred by tears. So I pulled myself together. I went back to my chair, sat down. And I didn't get up again for a very, very long time.
  • I have a feeling we're going to see that play broken down a bunch over the coming weeks and months, so I won't bother getting into the details here. But I will say this: Butler got toasted on that pick play in practice earlier last week, so he knew how to prepare for it. That's coaching.
  • You know when I think I was most terrified? When the Patriots had the ball and needed to avoid the safety by running a forward sneak to run out the clock. If Seattle had gotten that, it would have been 28-26 with the ball and the chance to win it with a field goal. And based on what I had just witnessed...I don't even want to go there.
  • But then Tommy B reminded us all why he's the greatest quarterback to ever play this game, He came to the line, continued with the silent count, and decided to snap it - for the first time - on the third head bob instead of the second. Seattle fell for it completely, gave the Patriots some extra yards, and that was all she wrote.
  • Can't say I was all that upset over the brawl to close the game out. Yeah not the best look for a team who is already viewed by some as a bunch of thugs, but football is an emotional game, and the Seahawks just had a W ripped away from them by an undrafted rookie. I get it.
  • As happy as I am to win this game, I also know how awful it is to lose a game you probably should have won because a play you simply have no explanation for went the other way. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anybody, and that there is a very loyal, very passionate fanbase all feeling that this morning sucks.
  • But- it ain't screwing with my good mood today, no siree!
  • Thank goodness, too - you know how long it has been since Boston hosted a championship parade? MONTHS! We're talking double digits here. That's one drought I'm happy to see erased.
  • Here is what I wrote right after Kearse made that ridiculous catch:
  • Every single time Tom Brady has lost a Super Bowl, he has left the field with the lead. He has done what he needed to do to put his team I position to win. And every single time, something absurd has happened to take that fourth ring away. That just rips my guts out. I can't even imagine how Brady must feel right now, having to watch the lead he built vanish. I'm sorry, Tommy. I'm so, so sorry.
  • I wanted to keep that in there just to remind us all what could have been.
  • To all those who are choosing to focus more on the bad call to seal the game instead of the fantastic play that Bulter made, first, I say thank you; if there were too many people out there talking about what a great job the Patriots did, I'd be worried. And second, Kearse had no business making that catch. Zero. It was great coverage, a well-defended pass, and about 300 things needed to go right for it to come to him. That Butler was able to make the pick is just the football gods FINALLY deciding that the Patriots have been tortured enough and decided to let a ridiculous play go their way for once.
  • As of right now, 10:03 PM on Sunday night, I have yet to hear or read any variation of "The Butler Did It" jokes. As of this morning, it's everywhere. But I'm still claiming copyright on it.
  • The team looking to win back-to-back championships for the first time since the team playing them won back-to-back championships, but were stopped by that team. Unreal.
  • Don't know if anyone saw it, but Tom Brady and Julian Edelman shared a hug just before the trophy presentation, where a tearful Edelman told Tommy B, "you're the best man I know." Take that, Budweiser puppy. That's how you get the tears flowing.
  • I actually like Pete Carroll as a coach. He's very good at it, and his players seem to love playing for him. The only thing about him that drives me nuts is the way he throws himself a "I'm the greatest coach in the world" parade every time Seattle gains more than four yards at a clip as if he was actually the one out there making plays himself. Hopefully he'll remember that playcall the next time he wants to don his top hat and cane and strut down the sideline after Lynch turns the 2 yard dive play he dialed in into a sixty yard run.
  • To the person who Tweeted, "Hi, I'm Rob Lowe. And I'm I forgot I had Marshawn Lynch on my team Rob Lowe," please hit me up so I can give you credit for a great joke.
  • So let me see if I can get this postseason right: Lions lose a heartbreaker to Dallas. Dallas loses a heartbreaker to Green Bay. Green Bay loses a heartbreaker to Seattle. Seattle loses a heartbreaker to New England. Football!
  • Tommy B obviously got the MVP, and he deserved it. Glad that this was a year in which the QB didn't just get it by default. That said, If that trophy had gone to Edelman or Vereen, I wouldn't have been upset. Vereen especially didn't make any huge plays, but he made some very, very important ones. You know that Kevin Faulk is smiling today.
  • And my unsung hero of the game is Dont'a Hightower. He was all over the line of scrimmage and completely changed the complexion of both the offensive and defensive looks. He won't blow you away with stats, but between him and Wilfork, there aren't enough good things to say about doing your job so that others may shine. Hightower was also the guy who tackled Lynch at the 1 yard line and gave Pete Carroll the opportunity to make the worst call of his life.
  • And while I managed to hold it together right after the Butler pick, Brady fighting back tears at the MVP presentation ceremony had me straight up bawling in my recliner and I don't care who knows it.
  • And what a great follow-up from Gronk. What an animal. Does anybody know if the city of Phoenix is still standing? Did Gronk burn the whole place down?
  • When a man wears a pinkie ring, I immediately and correctly label him a complete douchebag. But in Tom Brady's case, I'm very, very happy to make an exception.
  • And for the record, I feel the exact same way about thumb rings, just in case.
  • You jump for joy, Tommy. You jump away. You're the greatest of all time.
  • There's so much I didn't cover in this article. Julian Edelman's toughness. Huge third down conversions. Stoicism. The offensive line holding up. But that's OK. Plenty of time for all that later.
  • We did it, everyone. WE DID IT.
  • The New England Patriots are World Champions.
  • The New England Patriots are World Champions.
  • THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!
  • This will be my final Fan Note of the 2014 Season.I can't tell you how elated I am to finally be ending this series on the highest of high notes. I also can't tell you how grateful I am for everyone who has ever reached out to me to let me know that my writing makes their Mondays just a little bit more bearable or that they can totally relate to what I have to say. I really didn't know what I was doing when I was first brought on board, and to be honest I still don't, but I do know that we have ourselves something extremely special here at Pats Pulpit, and it's my privilege to be a part of it. A fair number of us, myself included, have been having a tough time as of late, be it work problems, family problems, or whatever the case may be, and we have all found solace and friendship in this community. During a league year when I feel like most of us considered just walking away from football altogether at one point, there was always this site to draw us back in and provide some semblance of sanity in the world. No matter what goes on in our personal lives, we'll always have the Patriots, and the Pulpit, and that I get to share in this victory with all of you marks one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced.
  • Or will ever experience. Thank you.

We're on to the offseason. And what an offseason it will be.