FOX Sports memo to all broadcast staff:
In order to assure compliance with NFL league policies and negotiated agreements between the NFL and FOX Sports, please be sure to emphasize these points while presenting the Super Bowl game:
1. Worship, Glorify, Analyze, and tie all success by the New England Patriots back to Tom Brady. The predominant message of all broadcasts is to be the marketing of the superiority and star power of Mr. Brady. No more than thirty seconds should elapse between either mentions of his name, or his image on the screen.
2. Briefly mention the Atlanta Falcons at some point to dispel favoritism.
3. To provide some slight variety, also mention repeatedly the accomplishments of other Patriot players in the preceding playoff wins.
Joe Buck sure earned his paycheck on that one....
As far as the actual game, the sickening feeling I have after watching it didn't come from most of the normal causes. Though the more I watch football, the more often I get this feeling.
This time, it wasn't that the Patriots seemed to have an unfair advantage. The officials really did a great job "letting them play" and still keeping order on the field. There were no game-changing penalties to swing the game in New England's favor, nor were there any ticky-tack calls on Atlanta defensive players for disturbing the aura of Tom Brady.
The Falcons just simply made mistakes, lost the momentum of the game and let the Patriots keep chipping away at the lead. And then a pass was deflected in the air and three Falcon players could not prevent the NE receiver from catching the ball that should have just fallen to the ground. At that point, I should have known the outcome would be what it was.
Most of what left me so disgusted was listening to Joe Buck, (and even the normally unbiased Troy Aikman to a lesser degree) go on and on and on, hammering away the whole game (or at least the second half that I saw) about how amazingly awesome Tom Brady is. They never even tried to discuss anything else. Atlanta is leading by 25 points, but all they can talk about is how this is so unexpected, so unusual from the Patriots, and they're just waiting for them to turn it all around at any moment, but it's not happening fast enough. At one point, Buck praised Tom for using "his best fastball" on a pass to the running back in the flat that lost three yards - because it could have been a catastrophic turnover. Lord knows any other non-demigod quarterback would have messed it up and lost the game. Thank God Brady was there to SAVE THE DAY! Ugh....
Of course, now that New England won again, the unrestrained Brady worship will saturate all the sports talk media for the rest of his career. It was bad enough that half of all broadcasters were drinking the Kool-Aid on this guy, but now they'll be throwing it on the crowd in buckets and force-feeding it to the rest of us until he gives his Hall of Fame speech, which they will probably allow the year after he stops playing in a special exemption because he's just so exceptionally great. They might even persuade Belichik to introduce him in his trademark deadpan style. (Though I think the reason Bill talks like that is that he's bitter about Brady getting all the credit even though 60% of the team's success is really due to his system.)
I feel bad for Dan Quinn, Matt Ryan, and the Falcons. I doubt the NFL front office does, though. They're happy because the game result was the optimum marketing outcome for them. The Hype Machine's poster boy came out on top again.