Boring Game, Horrible Halftime; Recruiting Updates
The only thing worse than the game was the halftime show.
Yesterday the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII. It was the lowest scoring game in the history of the contest. The over-under at kickoff was 56 points, so the odds-makers had an even worse day than the Ram offense.
The highlight of the telecast was the compelling Washington Post commercial narrated by Tom Hanks. The game was incredibly slow and boring, and the halftime show was certainly one of the worst, if not the worst ever.
I'm not sure what Adam Levine of Maroon Five was trying to prove by showing off his tattooed body, or what often-bleeped rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi were doing, but even my young daughter said "put your shirt back on," and "what the heck was that?"
The game itself proved that Rams' 33-year old head coach Sean McVay and 24-year old quarterback Jared Goff were no match for the Patriots' old masters—66-year old head coach Bill Belichick and 41-year old quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady wasn't nearly as sharp as usual, but the Rams were flummoxed by the New England defense and diminutive wide receiver Julian Edelman (below), another Bay Area product from Woodside High School.
Most of us were hoping for a Kansas City vs. New Orleans Super Bowl, but we were waylaid by a no-call and a coin flip.
Maybe next year.
Cal Blues: Goff continued the ongoing futility of Cal quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. Bears' QBs are now 2-10 in the Super Bowl. Previously, Joe Kapp, Craig Morton (twice), and Vince Ferragamo lost four games as starters, and Gale Gilbert lost five times as a reserve. The only winners were Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and Morton as a backup to Roger Staubach with the Cowboys in Super Bowl VI.
Add-ons: Some additions to our list of Bay Area Super Bowl QBs from last week’s post: Trent Dilfer, who led the Baltimore Ravens to victory in XXXV, was born in Santa Cruz and played at Aptos HS; Cal's Gale Gilbert, as noted above, was on the roster of five losing Super Bowl teams, four with Buffalo and one with San Diego. He got into XXIX when the Chargers lost to the 49ers. And Stanford's John Paye was on the 49ers’ roster in 1988 and has a ring from their victory in XXIII.
Recruiting Update: Wednesday is the national signing date for high school football recruits. Most players now take advantage of the early signing option in December, but a few big names typically hold out until February. This year, two of the top recruits in Northern California remain uncommitted and will declare Weds.
It's interesting to note the schools they're considering. De La Salle linebacker Henry To'oto'o is reportedly down to Alabama, Washington, Utah, Oregon and Tennessee. Menlo Atherton linebacker Daniel Heimuli's finalists are Alabama, Washington, Utah, Oregon, and UCLA. There are a few common threads there.
1) Alabama has made huge inroads into California. Two years ago, Nick Saban's crew snared the No. 1 recruit in the country from NorCal—Antioch running back Najee Harris.
2) The power base in the Pac-12 has definitely shifted. Washington, Oregon and Utah appear on both lists.
3) Where's USC? The Trojans have slipped in recent years, due to poor coaching choices (Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian) and poor management from unqualified athletic directors (Pat Haden and Lynn Swann). The jury is still out on Clay Helton, a nice guy who may be over-matched as a head coach, but there's no question that the once-proud Trojan football program is in trouble. Their only five-star recruit, receiver Bru McCoy, just transferred to Texas after originally signing with USC.
The Trojan malaise has been part of the reason for the Pac-12's decline in national respect and playoff participation. Used to be, USC was a national contender every year. Those days are gone.
The other big reason for the national disrespect, of course, is the Pac-12's lack of TV exposure due to late kickoffs and a failing network, something we've written about often.
This sad state of affairs is not going to change until the conference produces a national champion—something it has not had since 2004—and a more robust TV package.
Big Payouts: Speaking of TV, SEC schools received a payout of $43.7M from the conference for fiscal 2018, due in large part to its successful network. Compare that with the Pac-12’s payout of approximately $31M.
Meanwhile, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made just under $2M in compensation; Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott made $4.8.
Is something out of whack there?