Super Bowl season is upon us and per usual, there is no lack of controversy. This year, the big game pits the New England Patriots against the Eagles of Philadelphia.
The Patriots, coming off a Super Bowl win in 2017, are poised to reclaim the Lombardi Trophy for their own. The Eagles stormed past the Vikings in the NFC Conference game, beating them by a score of 38-7. The hearts of Philly fans everywhere were broken when their franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz was injured for the season in week 14 of the regular season with a torn ACL. Since then, backup Nick Foles has played well in Wentz’s absence, throwing for at least 200 yards in his first two career playoff games.
Now let’s talk controversy. The New England Patriots are notorious for their postseason antics including spying on other teams practices, the tuck ruling, and deflating footballs. For this season, let’s start with the catch/no catch made or not made by Jesse James.
The subjectivity of the rules in the National Football League is becoming overbearing, as even NFL broadcasters during the televised games are questioning what constitutes a catch in the modern age of football.
There are valid arguments to both sides of the catch/no catch debate. On one hand, those in favor of no catch are citing the rule that the receiver must control the ball to the ground. By that strict interpretation, James did not make the grab.
Those who are angry about the ruling are citing the NFL rulebook in the statement “he must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground”. Although these two arguments are very similar, there are two words that make a distinct difference. Initial contact. During this catch/no catch, James’ knee touched the ground before he attempted to reach the ball across the goal line. This could have qualified as initial contact, but the officials disagreed.
Another controversial statistic is the penalty breakdown between the Patriots and their opponents. The Patriots have acquired 11 penalties since playing the Steelers in week 15 while their opponents have earned 29.
Regardless, this game will be a fun one to watch. This is the classic David versus Goliath matchup and has played up as an epic story. Despite the controversy surrounding the game, I will be watching and enjoying one of my favorite days of the year. In the end, all of this speculation is just…. speculation.
But one thing is certain, it sure is fun to hate the Patriots.
…and Tom Brady
I really hate Tom Brady