Damn you Tom Brady. You’re the best ever, but damn you.

With the Falcons leading 21-0 in the second quarter of Sunday night’s Super Bowl LI, I sent a declarative five-word text to a group of friends.

“Patriots ain’t winning this shit.”

At 28-9 midway through the third quarter, I doubled down on my forecast with another text message.

“I repeat: Patriots ain’t winning this shit.”

A few Falcons’ possessions wasted by turnovers and dumb penalties later, plus an impossible, gravity-defying catch by Julian Edelman, my confidence began to waver.

Next thing you knew the game was tied and the Patriots were on the doorstep of a game-ending touchdown to cap an improbable and historic comeback that netted quarterback Tom Brady a record fifth Super Bowl win. Nearly 24 hours later, I still don’t understand what happened.


Of course, it’s easy to exude confidence when a team is up 25 points. But it wasn’t just the score. It was the dominance that Matt Ryan and the Falcons displayed, on both sides of the ball, that made it so obvious that they were going to be champions.

And just like that, everything changed.

An NFL game is long. At 60 minutes, it affords a team plenty of time overcome almost any deficit. And as the world witnessed on Sunday night, they key to winning a football game is how you play with a lead. And in that regard, the Falcons failed miserably.

Twice the Falcons were poised to widen their lead. Once following an unsuccessful Patriots onside kick attempt in the third quarter, and the other late in the fourth when they had the ball on the Patriots’ 22-yard line, well within field goal range. Both times, they screwed it up and came away scoreless.

What the Patriots accomplished cannot be understated or diminished. It was a comeback for the ages and arguably the greatest game in NFL history.

But the Falcons were their own worst enemies. For the final quarter and a half, they did almost nothing right.

And as a long-suffering New York Jets fan, Tom Brady is my arch nemesis. For the better part of two decades, he has made me hate football. My distaste for him and his team is half-envy, half-condemnation for the way they go about their business. Plus their dubious ties to Donald Trump are not reassuring.

So all things considered, you can imagine that I was not very pleased on Sunday night. I also feel bad for Matt Ryan, who deserved to win, and their owner Arthur Blank, whose hopelessly somber facial expression as his team was in full-blown collapse mode was just devastating to witness.


On a bright note, though, the weekend was not entirely lost. Saturday Night Live continued its full-throttle assault on Donald Trump, which, honestly, doesn’t really take much effort anymore. All they have to do is reenact the things that are actually happening — like Trump’s head-scratching phone call with Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull late last month.

But, without a doubt, the show-stealer was Melissa McCarthy, who made a surprise appearance about 30 minutes into the show to mercilessly mock White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose abrasive attitude and surly demeanor towards the media has made him an easy target.

It was a hilarious, slapstick sketch that only someone of McCarthy’s comedic abilities could have accomplished. She truly is the female reincarnation of Chris Farley, in the best possible way.

Naturally, Spicer was not pleased.

We can only hope that it becomes a reoccurring sketch.


Finally — Lady Gaga. She delivered an energetic, colorful and highly entertaining halftime performance. Most people praised it because they were relieved to see her focus on performing and not politics.

Well, think again.

Lady Gaga is not stupid. She subtly slipped in Woody Guthrie’s famous protest song, “This Land is My Land,” and she did it for a reason.

Consider a verse from the original song, which was not the part that Lady Gaga sang:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.
The sign was painted, said ‘Private Property.’
But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing.
This land was made for you and me.

Well played, Gaga, well played.

Indeed, this land was made for you and me.

Has Donald Trump made Saturday Night Live great again?

Saturday Night Live is a show that is fun to hate.

“It hasn’t been funny in years.”

“That show is still on the air?”

“This is the worst cast of all time.”

Those are common criticisms often expressed among the show’s skeptics.

Which, for the most part, I think are pretty unfounded. Saturday Night Live remains far and away the premier improvisational sketch comedy show on television. That alone differentiates it from practically everything else and makes it worth watching.

It still draws the world’s leading celebrities as hosts and musicians as performers.

And the show’s weekly nature allows it to literally be up-to-the-minute as far as commenting on and satirizing today’s news.


Oh, and it’s all live. If you can’t appreciate the difficult task of needing to write material from scratch for a 90-minute time block to entertain millions on a weekly basis while not knowing far in advance who the guest host is going to be, then you’re just not being rational. It’s a hard job and one that you would not be able to do better.

A lot of people also like to point out how today’s cast members pale in comparison to those of the past. But at the same time, we forget that Saturday Night Live serves as a launching pad for amateur comedians. The likes of Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Chevy Chase, Jon Belushi, David Spade, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Hader were nowhere near as universally popular during their actual SNL tenure. It was only after they left and starred in blockbuster films when they really became famous household names.

So all of those factors make Saturday Night Live an easy show to pick on. But the fact that it always remains in national consciousness shows that it is still as relevant as ever.

And thanks to a certain presidential candidate that provides countless amounts of material, one can make the argument that the show is as funny and influential now as it has been in a long, long time.

Saturday Night Live has a long tradition of playfully (or not so playfully) mocking our prominent politicians, especially during our presidential debates. So it was only natural that people were especially excited for the debut of the 42nd season this year, which was purposely timed to coincide with the debates.

And it hasn’t let us down.

Whether you support him or not, Donald Trump’s language, demeanor, appearance and overall behavior are asking to be ridiculed. So it came as no surprise that SNL went outside its own cast to find the perfect candidate to portray him, knowing they had one chance to get it right.

Enter Alec Baldwin.

Baldwin’s representation of Trump has been so on point that it may go down as one of the most memorable and iconic caricatures in television history.

Combine it with Emmy-winner Katy McKinnon’s portrayal of Hillary Clinton, and the cold open for every single Saturday Night Live this season has become must-see TV.

On a side note, I believe McKinnon may be the best female comic the show has ever had. She is on the cusp of greatness.

As Trump, Baldwin captures the man’s absurdities to perfection. He looks the part, he sounds the part, and he presents him as the unintelligible buffoon that he really is.

The craziest part about Baldwin’s characterization is that people in the decades ahead will probably watch these episodes and assume he’s over-embellishing the presidential candidate. When, in reality, it’s Trump who is the one who is an even bigger joke.

After Nov. 8, we will finally be rid of Donald Trump.

But we will mourn his loss on Saturday nights.