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Finneran: Super Bowl Sunday

Friday, February 03, 2017


The highways of New England will be very safe on Sunday afternoon and evening. You could turn the Turnpike and the Expressway into pedestrian malls. There will be no one on the road. All eyes will be on the big screens in our family rooms.

Every pizza joint and every restaurant that has take-out will be swamped. More than one hundred million people will watch this great American spectacle of excess.

As for me, I’m already tired of the breathless hype. I just want to see a good football game. 

So far there have only been two truly entertaining games in the NFL’s “real season”. Consider “wild card weekend”, played in early January............there was nothing even remotely competitive about those games. Call them snooze fests, with the coin toss being the most suspenseful moment in each game. Yawn.

The next weekend was very different with two seesaw games unfolding before our eyes. That Green Bay- Dallas game was fabulous. There we had two good teams just slugging it out and going right down to the wire, with Aaron Rodgers’ heroics taking on storybook status as the Packers drove the field for a field goal in the final seconds. Now that’s pressure, that’s suspense, that’s football.

The other noteworthy game that weekend was the Steelers-Chiefs game. While that game lacked the spectacular offenses of the Dallas-Green Bay game, the score tells you that this was a bruising battle of two proud and hungry teams. I’ll watch and enjoy an 18-16 football game any day of the week.........

Finally, beyond the joy of Patriots’ fans celebrating the team’s easy win over the Steelers, can anyone truly say that they saw a good football game? The Patriots absolutely smoked them. The Steelers seemed poorly prepared, completely unable to cover any Patriots receivers. Talk about an invitation to All-Universe QB Tom Brady to help himself..........I’m surprised that they didn’t put sixty points on the board. I lost count of how many times Brady would hit a receiver right in the hands and there would not be a single Steeler defender within five yards of the catch. Then of course, the play would explode from a simple catch to a catch and run. The Patriots made it look like a track meet while the Steelers looked as if they were thinking about their off-season golf games.

The Falcons-Packers game also lacked drama. I was impressed by Atlanta, surprised by the Packers, and disappointed in the game. It was as lopsided a game as the Pats-Steelers with little or no suspense. I had talked myself into a continuation of the Packers’ late season surge with Rodgers playing maestro, bringing his team into a season-ending epic Super Bowl battle against TB12, Belichick, and the aura of New England.

Alas, it was not to be as fatigue, turnovers, and a young stud named Matty Ryan dissected and destroyed the Pack.

Looking ahead, I don’t see how Atlanta can stop Tom Brady. Of course anything is possible including an injury, a turnover, a trick play or two, or just a bad game. But Tom Brady doesn’t play very many bad games and he has been on this stage before. It’s a big stage and most newcomers get stage fright. Brady’s experience is invaluable. 

The Falcons defense has been suspect all year long, often bailed out by the gunslinger Ryan throwing to the unstoppable Julio Jones. But bet on this if nothing else---the Patriots will take Jones out of his game, forcing Atlanta to go elsewhere to move the ball. It’s a classic Belichick maneuver and it might be even more entertaining than watching the post-game with Brady and Goodell.

Patriots win. Enjoy the game.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.


Related Slideshow: The Patriots 8 Super Bowl Appearances

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January 26, 1986

Super Bowl XX 

Bears 46, Patriots 10 

The Patriots grabbed a 3-0 lead on a field goal from kicker Tony Franklin, but the game would be all Chicago from there. 

The Bears would score the next 44 straight points helped by rushing touchdowns from Jim McMahon and William Perry to take a 44-3 lead into the fourth quarter. 

The Bears would go on to win easily 46-10. 

Prev Next

January 26, 1997

Super Bowl XXXI

Packers 35, Patriots 21 

Trailing 27-14, New England's Curtis Martin rushed 16 yards to the endzone to bring the Patriots within one score, 27-21, in the third quarter. 

On the ensuing kickoff, Green Bay's Desmond Howard would return a kick off 99 yards to the endzone to seal the Packer 35-21 win over the Patriots. 

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February 3, 2002

Super Bowl XXXVI

Patriots 20, Rams 17 

Nothing beats the first time, and the Patriots won their first Super Bowl by beating the Rams in New Orleans on a kick by Adam Vinatieri. 

The most memorable part of this game, other than the kick, was Tom Brady spiking the ball, catching it with one hand and giving it to the ref. 

Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP. 

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February 1, 2004

Super Bowl XXXVIII

Patriots 32, Panthers 29 

In a high scoring affair, 37 points total in the 4th quarter, it was Adam Vinatieri who gave the Patriots a 32-29 win on a 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left. 

The Patriots bounced back from missing the playoffs the season before to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history and the second in three years. 

Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP. 

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February 6, 2005

Super Bowl XXXIX

Patriots 24, Eagles 21 

The New England Patriots were crowned dynasty after beating the Eagles, winning their third Super Bowl in 4 seasons. 

Rodney Harrison sealed the win with an interception of Donovan McNabb and Adam Vinatieri had another clutch field goal to extend the Patriots lead to 24-14 in the 4th quarter. 

Deion Branch was named Super Bowl MVP. 

Relive the Game Below

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February 3, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

Giants 17, Patriots 14 

Trailing 10-7 in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady found Randy Moss in the back of the endzone to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead with 2:42 left to play in the game. 

On the Giants next possession, Eli Manning escaped a sack on fourth down and found David Tyree, who caught the ball on top of his helmet for a first down. 

With 35 seconds left, Manning found Plaxico Burress in the endzone to give the Giants a 17-14 lead and the win. The Giants ended the Patriots undefeated season. 

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February 5, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI

Giants 21, Patriots 17 

Tom Brady hit tight end Aaron Hernandez for a third quarter touchdown to put the Patriots up 17-9 with 11:20 left in the third quarter. 

Following two Giants field goals from Lawrence Tynes, the Patriots held a 17-15 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

In the fourth, a dropped pass by Wes Welker gave the Giants the ball back and they would cash in. Manning would hand the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw with 57 seconds left who would run six yards into the endzone to get the 21-17 win. 

Their second Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

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February 1, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX 

Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 

Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler picked off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on the one-yard line to seal the Patriots fourth Super Bowl. 

Prior to that, the Patriots trailed by 10 points, 24-14, in the fourth quarter before Tom Brady led the Patriots offense to 14 straight points, hitting Julian Edelman for the game winner.

Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP.

Relive Malcolm Butler's Heroics Below


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