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.

tom-brady

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.

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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.

lady-gaga

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.

Peyton Manning’s last hurrah, Super Bowl Babies and Coldplay’s vanishing act

It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for me to sit and enjoy a game of football knowing what we know now about concussions and the damaging effect that repeated blows to the head has on player’s long-term sanity.

That being said … YESTERDAY WAS SUPER BOWL 50 PEOPLE. BREAK OUT THE HEAVY ARTILLERY AND CRUSH THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THE OTHER TEAM AS HARD AS YOU CAN. BASH THEIR SKULLS AND SHOW NO MERCY! KILL KILL KILL.

Woah. Sorry about that. I don’t know what just happened.

On what has become the most American of nights, all of us, football lovers or not, sit on our couch on Super Bowl Sunday and ignore the fact that everyone we see on the screen will probably have early onset dementia in their 50s.

Super Bowl 50

But let me not get too preachy here. Football players know the risks. And with the knowledge that exists now, young people can at least make their own informed decisions as to whether they wish to pursue the sport.

Honestly, a better script couldn’t really have been written for the game. Peyton Manning, one of the most successful, well-liked and marketable players in the sport’s history, is now able to go out on top. It’s your classic storybook ending.

A defensive battle throughout, the game itself was actually pretty boring. None of the offenses never got in a groove. It doesn’t mean it was a bad game — it just wasn’t exciting.

And the commercials were not much better. The only one that actually made me laugh was a T-Mobile ad featuring Drake.

On the opposite end of the coin, the most cringeworthy commercial was one by the NFL itself, with its “Super Bowl Babies” campaign, which not-so-implicitly celebrated unprotected sex following two most likely drunk football fans immediately following their favorite team’s Super Bowl win. And for some reason, Seal was a part of it.

The commercial probably caused many people born in December to enter into a deep and horrifying trance as they pondered the reason and cause for their existence.

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And finally, the halftime show. I know that Coldplay is not universally loved, but I’m a fan. They make pretty good music and who hasn’t blasted the song “Fix You” during a time in their life when they were in dire need of an emotional pick-me-up?

That being said, though Coldplay was featured as the headliner, they very clearly played second fiddle to Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

I have no problem with those two — in fact, they were pretty awesome on Sunday — but, if you’re going to announce a headlining act, shouldn’t they be the most prominently featured part of the performance? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, the halftime show needed more Coldplay.

And even when they re-entered the performance with a closing rendition of the aforementioned “Fix You,” the NFL missed a golden opportunity to let former NFL players with CTE sway arm-in-arm around the stage.

Oh well. Despite the savagery, the brain trauma and the NFL’s blatant disregard for their players’ safety, you know we will all be back, one year from now, for Super Bowl 51.

And nine months later will come the Super Bowl babies.

The Super Bowl hangover

We can now all exhale.

The Super Bowl has come and gone. The Baltimore Ravens are the champions, and the Harbaugh brothers can go back to sword fighting and having snowball fights in the backyard of their childhood home, right before Mrs. Harbaugh calls them in for hot chocolate before bedtime.

No longer does everybody have to worry and stress out about their Super Bowl plans, and we can go all go back to our plain, boring andRavens champs uneventful Sundays.

I have to be fair, though. I spent considerable time bashing the Super Bowl last week, but it really wasn’t that bad. In fact, all in all, this is was one of my more memorable, enjoyable Super Bowl experiences in recent memory. Plenty of things attributed to that, and in order to best explain all of those things, I am going to break down all of the significant moments from yesterday’s Super Bowl Sunday.

Let’s go.

An exciting game

I mentioned last week how sometimes the media overhypes the Super Bowl, only so so that we could all be let down when the game fails to come through with any excitement.

With the Ravens leading the game at halftime, 21-6, only to take a 28-6 lead following the second half kickoff, it actually looked like we were set to have one of worst Super Bowls of all time. But after a vicious comeback which saw the 49ers score 17 points in just over four minutes, it turned into a thriller. And thank goodness for that, because if you’re going to invest time, travel and money while sacrificing your physical appearance by indulging in god-awful, unhealthy foods, then by golly — I at least want a good game!

It would be like the ancient Romans going to the Colosseum and watching the tiger eat the gladiator in like two minutes. Come on, gladiator man, at least put up a fight. If Russell Crowe can do it, you can too.

But not only did we get an exciting game, we got a blackout!

Blavkout

The 45-minute blackout was certainly a first in Super Bowl history. It was one of those things where it was cool at first, because it was unprecedented and unexpected, but after five minutes people were saying, “Yeah, I have to wake up early for work tomorrow, so, uhh, if the power could come back on… that would be great.”

I also love how media analysts keep saying things like, “Blackouts happen, but in the Super Bowl?! That should NEVER happen.”

Why is that, exactly? Was the city of New Orleans infusing all the Earth’s power into the arena for that one night, just because it was the Super Bowl? Should they have had 1,000 foot tall generators sitting behind a curtain, just lurking there like the Wizard of Oz, in the rare instance that half of the stadium’s lights were to go out?

There’s never a convenient time for a blackout. And when they do happen, they’re pretty random. So I don’t see how anyone could consider it out of the realm of possibility that it could occur during a Super Bowl.

The safety that ruined box pools everywhere

Let me break into a first-person story right here — The score was the Ravens 34, 49ers 29, with about 12 seconds remaining. What numbers did I have in my box pool? Why, 4 for the Ravens and 9 for the 49ers, of course!

Once the 49ers failed to score at the end of the game, I was already attributing the final prize money to my belongings. I considered it full ownership. Although the money was still sitting unattended, since it was not official yet, I could physically feel it inside of my wallet. It was mine.

And then, the Ravens punter runs out of the back of his own endzone, and that was that.

Truth be told, it was just $100 — which is never unwelcome — but I was kind of amused by the thought of other people in the world losing out on thousands upon thousands of dollars because of that play. Gambling during Super Bowls is an age-old American decision, and you can always expect some quirky happening to screw people out of money.

That definitely qualified.

Beyonce on a mission

After her highly-discussed Presidential Inauguration performance, we all knew that Beyonce was on a quest to show the world she can sing a live performance without added background vocals. This halftime performance was her Zero Dark Thirty.

I have to admit, after all the classic rock musicians — with the exception of Madonna last year — who have performed lately during Super Bowl halftimes, like Tom Petty, The Who, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, I didn’t mind a little changeup.

I love those guys. They make our world a better place with their gift of song, but it was a bit refreshing to see somebody a little more contemporary.

Destiny's ChildIt seemed like Beyonce was definitely trying really hard to put forth a grade-A effort, and I think her desire to sing live may affected her vocals considering all of the dancing she did, but I think that any Beyonce fans who were highly anticipating the performance probably came away very pleased.

Plus, how can anybody be upset with a Destiny’s Child reunion?

If you were looking for a pristine, refined vocal performance, then this halftime show probably wasn’t for you. But if you were looking for something more fun and energetic with an added bit of pizzazz, then you got that in spades.

Plus anytime I am afforded an opportunity to look at Beyonce, it’s never really something that I am going to complain about.

Oh yeah, the commercials

We already discussed the tear-jerking Budweiser Clydesdale commercial in my last post, and seeing it live on the big screen was no less emotional.

Honestly, none of the commercials really stood out to me too much. I think the Joe Montana Miracle Stain Tide commercial and the Goat for Sale Doritos commercial may have been the funniest ones. And who would have guessed that a laundry detergent would ever steal the show during the Super Bowl?

Also, that Dodge Ram farmer commercial was agonizing — two freaking minutes devoted to a 30-year-old speech by conservative radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, voiced over clips of farmers and hay? I mean, I understand that the point of advertising is to catch people’s attention — in a good or bad way — but why would you subject other human beings to that? I felt like that was a video that should have been shown in Guantanamo Bay, and not during the Super Bowl.

And what the heck was with the Go Daddy ad? You all know which one I am talking about.

I actually saw this commercial on YouTube about three days before the Super Bowl, and I refused to believe that this would actually air. Where the hell was the FCC on this one? How they allowed a closeup make-out session to air during the most-watched broadcast in the country, where families with small children are watching the game together, is beyond me.

And yet, there it was. Another question is why Bar Refaeli ever agreed to do this commercial? Isn’t something like this is a little degrading for her? She’s an absolutely gorgeous Israeli supermodel who used to date Leonardo DiCaprio, and now, she’s French kissing fat geeky guys on television. Did she even know that this would be aired, or was something that was lost in translation?

Actually, I’ll take some of that back. This commercial was much less appalling than the movie trailer for the Fast and the Furious 6.

I spent more time on Twitter than I actually did watching the game

Now that the entire world is on Twitter, it makes it extremely interesting to follow popular events on social media.

I follow about 600 people on Twitter, and I promise you that all 600 were watching the Super Bowl. Every Tweet during the course of the near five-hour game was about the Super Bowl, and I was very interested in seeing what everybody had to say.

In the past, you had to wait until after the game — or even the next day — to see what the public reaction was to certain events. Now I have to wait maybe one or two seconds.

The impact of social media was especially amplified during the 3rd quarter blackout. I would update my Twitter feed, and see 20 new Tweets over the course of 30 seconds. The word “Bane” was trending within five minutes, and people made a lot of Long Island Power Authority jokes, but here was easily my favorite Tweet of the night —

Ray Lewis tweet

As you all remember, Ray Lewis was implicated in a double murder investigation a little more than a decade ago, but was never charged due to a lack of evidence.

And kids, remember, murder is not funny. Unless it’s Tweeted tastefully, that is.

Gluttony galore

On Super Bowl Sunday, you may as well just embrace the fact that you are going to overindulge in fattening foods, and not even spend any time worrying about it. Although, I must admit that I did a good job by not drinking any beers during the game. I was the designated driver, and while that usually means drinking the most you possibly can while still being able to pass a breathalyzer test, I decided to behave Moes cateringand lay off the booze altogether.

That being said, my Super Bowl party got catering from Moe’s Southwest Grill, and now my stomach hates me.

Still worth it.

And of course, Super Bowl Sunday is followed by Gym-goer Monday. Between the fact that it was a Monday, that it’s still early enough in the year where people are abiding by their New Year’s resolution to lose weight, and that it was the day following the Super Bowl — I knew that the gym was going to be a nightmare. And sure enough, as I walked to the row of treadmills inside my gym, every single one of them was taken. I had to stand there and pretend to stretch like a moron while I waited for one to become available.

All good things must come to an end

But at the end of the day, as I pulled into my driveway at about 12:45 a.m. (thanks a lot, blackout), I was very pleased with the day’s events, and dare I say it… I’m actually looking forward to next year’s Super Bowl? But as a New York Jets fan, it’s safe to say that feeling will be short lived.

That is, unless Bar Refaeli is already holding auditions for a new makeout mate for next year’s big game? Then I’m more than down.