Monday, February 4, 2013
THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE
- We almost didn't make it back for the Bud Light Sports Cage Super Bowl Party. Our flight out of Cancun was originally scheduled for 5:00 pm on Saturday but kept getting pushed back and back. Eventually we left at 1:30 am Sunday and arrived home around 7:00 am. After a few hours of shut-eye, it was off to host the Super Bowl Party at the 4 Seasons Sports Palace with some special listeners. It sure was nice to be home among friends and family! If we weren't able to get back on time, Scruffy was willing to be the host.
A RUNNING BLOG OF THE GAME:
- True to form, Super Bowl 47 started on time (5:30 pm CT). Or at least, the opening ceremonies did. The Ravens came out to U2 while the 49ers were introduced with 2Pac's California Love. It's notable that neither team did player-by-player introductions and it saved us having to watch Ray Lewis's goofy dance. It's something the CFL might want to look at.
- Alicia Keys went a little long on the Star-Spangled Banner. And shouldn't you be able to tell what song they're actually singing when they're doing the national anthem? That didn't bother Roughrider defensive end Odell Willis who made a play for Keys on Twitter right after she finished.
- The game starts with a bad San Francisco penalty (illegal formation) and a 3-and-out. The Ravens then score on their opening drive and it's a 7-0 Ravens lead with 10:00 to go in the opening quarter. And the best Super Bowl ad, so far, is the M&M's/Meatloaf spoof.
- Check that. The broadcast reverts back to New Orleans for a touchback, then back to the commercials. Two dandies: the Hyundai kids' pick-up football game and then the GoDaddy.com nerd kissing the hot girl.
- It would seem that after every touchback, they go to a commercial. That will be important to remember later.
- The 49ers have a chance at a touchdown but QB Colin Kaepernick throws between two receivers in the endzone. Who was he looking for: Michael Crabtree or Randy Moss? Either way he missed both and they had to settle for a field goal.
- Touchback. Commercial.
- Late in the first quarter, San Francisco actually RETURNS a kickoff from deep their endzone. One of our partiers, Trevor Secundiak, quips "a producer in the truck says 'now what the F#$% do we do?'"
- You got it. They went to a commercial.
- Late in the first quarter and there's been no celebrity sightings in the crowd. Didn't any go?? Where's Old Man Harbaugh?? You'd think the TV cameramen would have been given the seat assignments of the big names before the game.
- Miraculously the first quarter only took 35 minutes to play. That's light-speed compared to the Grey Cup, although it's likely totally different perspectives between watching in-person versus watching on TV.
- 7-3 Ravens after one.
- :08 into the second quarter we get a shot of John and Jim Harbaugh's parents. There was a great comment from Jack Harbaugh in the pregame show where he related some advice he received from Jack Elway, father of Denver Broncos great John Elway. "He told me to be the boys' father and not their coach," Harbaugh recalled. "He said they'll have many coaches in their career but only one Dad." That is invaluable advice for any sports parents reading this.
- This is NFL-calibre play here. Precision passes, no drops and great tackling.
- Mistake-free football = low-scoring games. Same thing in hockey.
- We put together a Super Bowl pool amongst the guests during the Harvard Broadcasting Mexico trip. $100 US for 10 guys each to enter and, based on points, winners get $300 at half-time and $700 at the game's conclusion.
- The Ravens' fake field goal late in the second quarter, which failed to net a first down, figures to win this cat $300 in the pool. Where do I collect?
- The Taco Bell ad with the Seniors Gone Wild may be the new frontrunner for best commercial so far.
- The Fiacco-to-Jacoby Jones bomb cost me the $300. Baltimore up 21-3.
- The talk of replacing Colin Kaepernick for Alex Smith at QB for the 49ers begins at this point.
- The 49ers end the half with a field goal and I'm back in the money. $300! Where do I collect?
- It's true; the game is a little more exciting with some action on it.
- The Beyonce half-time show? Meh.
- On the opening play of the second half, Baltimore's Jacoby Jones ties a Super Bowl record with a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown. 28-6 Baltimore. Say good night Gracie.
- What? A power outage 1:38 into the third quarter? This game has everything!!
- To kill time, and with the play-by-play and colour microphones dead, CBS throws it down to sideline reporter Steve Tasker to kill time. It's his big chance! But he poops his drawers. He stammers for a bit before throwing it to a commercial. A situation like this made CBC's Chris Cuthbert a star in the 80's, but not-so in 2013 for Steve Tasker.
- To his credit Tasker was an NFL receiver, not a broadcaster. And that's why you should have broadcasters in those roles and not ex-players. Leave the jocks for the panel and the colour booth.
- The power outage stretches on. More gold from Trevor Secundiak who happens to be sitting beside me at the Super Bowl Party at the 4 Seasons: "Man this power outage sucks, says NOT any sports bar owner in the world."
- Quip from Global TV's Derek Meyers, another party patron: "Let's kill some more time here on the panel ... Dan Marino ... what have you been up to lately?"
- Twitter is on fire during the power outage. Said Rider great Matt Dominguez (@mattdshow): "I don't think lights ever gone out in a CFL game!! Bad look Goodell. #wowzers"
- After a 34-minute delay, Referee Boger says "Let's Go!"
- SF's Michael Crabtree scores a touchdown and then the Niners' defense sacks Baltimore QB Joe Flacco. The TSN Turning Point appears to be the power outage.
- On the Flacco sack, the Leader Post's Ian Hamilton questions on Twitter if Sandra Bullock was playing the blindside on the Ravens' offensive line.
- From here on in, play gets sloppy. Penalties, dropped passes, what appeared to be missed assignments and BOOM! It's a back-and-forth game with lots of points.
- Finally a football game!
- Down to the final moments we go and with a little over a minute left, San Francisco has to go for it on 4th-and-goal at the Baltimore 7-yard line, trailing 34-29. Kaepernick throws a flare into the right corner of the endzone. There's hand-to-hand combat between the receiver and the defender all the way into the endzone and the pass sails out-of-bounds. SF coach Jim Harbaugh goes ballistic wanting a holding call on the DB. Just about no one in the world, including those at our party, agree with him. But I do. If that was your team, you'd want that call. It will be hotly-debated from now till the end of time.
- Earlier in the game the notion of conceding a safety in punt formation was brought up at our party with San Francisco backed-up. It was quickly denounced as someone yelled "they only do that in the CFL!"
- However with just under a minute to go, CBS colour commentator Phil Simms let's it slip out, "Do you go for a safety here?"
- And that's what the Ravens did, giving up two points for a 34-31 lead, and all that's left is to kickoff on the game's final play. They do, and San Francisco is unable to return it for the touchdown.
GAME OVER: RAVENS 34 - 49ERS 31
- The handshake between John and Jim Harbaugh lasted roughly four seconds. I'm told the over-under was seven seconds.
- Apparently CTV cut off the trophy presentation early to go to other programming. We wouldn't know. I could barely keep my eyes open so after making some doorprize draws with 4 Seasons Sports Palace owner George Yannitos, I drove some of the partiers home and then was in bed likely before the Ravens left the field. But what a game!
- Many are wondering what this Ravens' Super Bowl victory means for Stevie Baggs, who received an injury buyout at the end of Baltimore's 2013 training camp. Had he elected to remain with the team, he might have gotten a Super Bowl ring but it's doubtful if he never suited up for the club at any point all season. But you never know. Perhaps he was just thisclose to winning a Super Bowl but opted to try his chances elsewhere.
- You wonder why people find football so confusing. This "Pistol Offense" which the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have supposedly made famous has been called by at least two different names over the past couple of weeks. I've seen the zone-read, the running read-option and even a few others but it all refers to the same thing: you can get fancy and explain how spreading the receivers wide takes defenders out of the box and opens up running lanes BUT the easiest definition is that the quarterback places the ball on the stomach of the tailback. Based on what the defensive ends do, the QB either hands it off (if the ends stay in position) or pulls the ball out and runs outside (if the ends crash inside against the running back).
- The Washington Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III shredded the Dallas Cowboys with this play in Week 17 so it's not exclusive to the 49ers. In fact, on CBS's Super Bowl pregame show, they credited the college of Nevada as the birthplace of the zone read. But we don't think so....
- Scott Schultz never missed a game at defensive tackle for the Roughriders between 2001 and 2009 and we talked about this play at length in Mexico last week. He said the Roughriders referred to it as "The Calgary Play" in the mid-2000s and said Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris was the pioneer of it. It took the Riders 2-3 years to figure out how to defend it and Burris would screw the Rider D-ends, including John Chick, into the ground with it. I'm not sure who gets credit for it, but I'll look into it. Right around that time long-time Stamps offensive coordinator George Cortez was coaching at the University of California so he might not have been the brains behind it but again, I intend to find out.
- ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer credited the B.C. Lions for being the first team to find a way to successfully defend the zone-read and that American coaches were watching CFL games to find the successful formula. Amazing!
- The zone-read may not have been invented in the CFL, but the way to defend it was and it sounds like the credit should go to then-Lions defensive coordinator Mike Benevides.
- The first time I heard of the zone-read being a part of the Rider offence was in the 2007 Labour Day Classic. I'd have to go back and look at the tape of Kerry Joseph's game-winning 27-yard touchdown run but head coach Kent Austin said they had a zone-read called on the play.
- Regardless, the 49ers tried it a couple of times on Sunday but the Ravens were ready for it. Perhaps the play goes into the G-file now, or will just be brought out on special occasions.
- Interesting stat: the success rate of NFL draft picks is less than 50%.
My buddy Brent Kulcsar is in New Orleans for Super Bowl and had the presence of mind to send these photos last night knowing they'd end up in the MMG. Here's Brent (on the right) with fellow Reginans Ricky "The Flash" Kezama and Jon Ryan, punter for the Seattle Seahawks. Brent said he was walking down the street and heard a "Let's Go Riders!" chant. He turned around and it was Jon Ryan....
Here they are with Kenton Keith's father, who was the first to recognize the Rider jerseys....
Here they are in the Superdome, presumably before the power outage....
Rider Pride on Bourbon Street....
Scott Clark (right) sent in this photo of he and Mosaic Place co-worker Dougie Campbell along with Rider star Weston Dressler from Friday's Kinsmen Dinner in Moose Jaw. Dressler looks HUGE between those two!
And it would appear everyone had a great weekend! Here's Miami Heat star Lebron James in Toronto's REAL Sports Bar the night before the Heat-Raptors game. Argo receiver Mike Bradwell was in there with the Grey Cup and Lebron was nice enough to pose with the mug.
That's all for today! See you in the Sports Cage at 5:00 pm on 620 CKRM for a Rider Monday...