Notes of Note: Super Bowl, Stanford Basketball, Stanford Sports Cuts
It was great fun while it lasted, but the debate over who is the greatest quarterback of all time is over. Done. Finito.
Tom Brady settled any remaining questions with his remarkable performance in Super Bowl LV yesterday, leading the formerly hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 domination of the favored Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bucs won only seven games last year. This year, with the new sheriff in town, they are the kings of professional football.
I’ve been a Joe Montana guy for a long time, but started to waver as Brady brought the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit to beat Atlanta in the 2017 Super Bowl. That was number five.
Now, his records are impossible to ignore or contest.
Ten Super Bowl Appearances. Nearest competitor—John Elway with five.
Seven Super Bowl Championships. Next up—Montana and Terry Bradshaw with four.
Five Super Bowl MVP Awards. Next up—Montana with three.
Ten Conference Championships. Next up—Elway with five.
When you consider the way he played at 43 years of age, the records are even more impressive.
Other random Super Bowl impressions:
Smiling Faces: it was nice to see winning coach Bruce Arians smiling, as opposed to having to endure more of Bill Belichick’s scowls.
You’ve Got to Be Kidding: The NFL claims it's fighting racism (Colin Kaepernick and lots of black assistant coaches might disagree), but domestic violence is apparently okay. Two of the stars highlighted in yesterday’s game were multiple domestic abusers Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown.
OLine Misery: An injury to blind side tackle Eric Fisher in the AFC championship game forced the Chiefs to make changes at three positions in the offensive line. The resultant piecemeal assemblage was obliterated by the Bucs' pass rush.
Chiefs’ Under Pressure: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was running for his life the entire game and wasn't helped by a half dozen dropped passes. Usually reliable, All Pro tight end Travis Kelce even contributed a couple muffs, one on a critical third down.
Flag Day: Penalties killed the Chiefs. An offside penalty on a Tampa field goal attempt created a four-point swing, essentially giving the Bucs a TD instead of a field goal. Two pass interference penalties led to a Tampa TD in the final minute before halftime. Holding and unsportsmanlike conduct calls kept Bucs' drives alive. Another KC holding penalty negated what would’ve been an important interception.
Time to Grow Up: Tyrann Mathieu is a great player, but he hasn't changed much since he first demonstrated his ability, immaturity and out-of-control temper as LSU's "Honey Badger."
First Lady: Down judge Sarah Thomas, the first female official to work a Super Bowl, got her first bowl assignment in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl several years ago. She's a classy lady.
Black Hole (continued): We wrote last week about the many black coaches who have been bypassed for NFL head coaching jobs, including two coordinators in Sunday's game. The Chiefs' OC Eric Bienemy is the man most often mentioned, but Bucs' DC Todd Bowles is another black assistant who should be a head coach. His game plan yesterday was a thing of beauty.
Bowles had a four-year stint as head coach of the NY Jets (2015 to 2018), but like so many black coaches, hasn't been given a second chance. That may change after Sunday's coaching clinic.
Halftime: I don't know much about The Weekend, but my daughters sure liked the halftime show.
Hall of Fame: Congrats to 49ers' GM John Lynch and former Oakland Raiders' coach Tom Flores for their election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So the question remains: when is Jim Plunkett going to be recognized? You know, the guy who led the Raiders to two Super Bowl wins?
On other fronts:
Stanford Surprise: Stanford men's basketball is having a very nice season, thank you, despite losing three starters (Daejon Davis, Bryce Wills and Ziaire Williams) for extended periods and despite having to stay on the road for two months because of Santa Clara Valley health restrictions.
Forward Oscar DaSilva has established himself as the leading candidate for Pac-12 Player of the Year, Jaiden Delaire has blossomed into a consistent scoring threat, and freshman point guard Michael O'Connell has given the Cardinal a steady hand running the offense.
Stanford is now 12-7 overall and 8-5 in league. The Cardinal is on the NCAA Tournament bubble and will need to win at least four and probably five of their remaining seven games to get in.
Stanford Shame: More details are coming out about Stanford’s ill-advised and tragic elimination of 11 varsity sports, thanks to the Chronicle’s Ann Killion, and they’re not pretty. The financial numbers presented by the University don’t add up, promises to recruits weren’t kept, all other options were not “exhausted,” the athletic department somehow found money for football bonuses, yet it won’t even discuss possible roads to reinstatement with the affected teams or outraged alumni.
The poor judgment, lack of transparency, dishonesty, and unwillingness to engage are, frankly, disgusting.