2002-02-09 / Sports

Ode to the A Football, Olympics And … Random Thoughts

By Elio Velez

Ode to the A
Football, Olympics And …
Random Thoughts
By Elio Velez

One of the great things in sports is when a team pulls out all the stops and plays with heart, passion and toughness. The New England Patriots embodied those qualities of a team this past football season and taught a lesson to a lot of prognosticators, fans and sportswriters. (Yours truly… <cough, cough>) I picked the Rams to win of course because I could not truly believe the Patriots would continue their miracle run. I was sure taught a lesson in not to underestimate a 14 point underdog.

My first observation is that Las Vegas was totally out of whack in placing St. Louis as a 14-point favorite. No team in today’s NFL sanctioned parity league can be that largely favored. The Rams barely beat the Eagles in the championship game and New England thoroughly beat up the Steelers. Next time, Las Vegas should closely study how good the teams truly are.

Second observation is how Fox took out the excessive blitz and gave a patriotic feel to the broadcast. It was haunting to me when the Boston Pops played music with background video of the WTC towers crashing. Paul McCartney totally lit up the crowd, Mariah Carey actually kept herself sane for the national anthem and one of my favorite bands, U2, was just awesome. As they sang Where the Streets Have No Name, the video displaying the lists of the people killed at the twin towers was moving. It was also sad that they did not have the time to even display half the list of names and that is sadder when you think about it.

Ok, time for the game. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is a genius. The defensive scheme that he came up to hold down the Rams was excellent. The defense played zone in the first half and then the Rams was more screwed up when the Patriots then blitzed. Warner’s two interceptions were totally created by the blitz and Ty Law and Otis Smith’s cornerback coverage was stifling. It was gutsy to go down the field with no timeouts and 1:30 left on the 20-yard line.

It was gutsy but that’s how the Patriots played all year. I thought I missed the team introductions before the game until notified that they all just came out to the field at once. The term that most described the Patriots’ Super Bowl win was T-E-A-M. They won’t be chosen as the favorites to win next year Super Bowl. (At press time, Las Vegas revealed that the Rams are the favorite to win it next year) The Patriots though are still one of the best feel good stories in a long time and the game is one of the four or five best Super Bowl games ever played.


The Utah Winter Olympics’ starts up with opening ceremonies and once gain, figure skating will be shown on prime time. Most times it seems that the only event that matters to NBC since it draws women and many sponsors. Listen to NBC closely because you may not know if the event is live or on tape. NBC has no excuses not to show most of the Olympics live on TV or on cable.

The Olympic Committee should be ashamed that American couldn’t fly the tattered flag from the Trade Center into the opening ceremonies. The Committee’s reasoning is that the event should not have overt political displays from countries. If the flag represents the fighting spirit of this country and the many citizens throughout the country, that flag must be displayed.

Random Thoughts:

The Knicks fell back down the earth as expected and with Camby out for most likely the rest of the season, there isn’t much hope for Knick fans. If they lose enough and get to the lottery, maybe the ping pong balls will lean towards eventual #1 pick Jason Williams from Duke. That’s one thing to hope for.

I grew up watching Pat Summerall and John Madden on CBS every Sunday and they made the game seem grander. Madden’s tirades and loudness was tempered by Summerall’s easy going manner and choice words. When a big game between the Giants-Redskins or Giants-Eagles was played, they brought their A game every time. I wish Pat Summerall success since this was the last Fox game he will call for the network but what a way to go as he called a great Super Bowl with Madden.

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