Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 9:43 AM
SUPER BOWL LI – PATRIOTS 34, FALCONS 28 (OT)
WAS THAT A TRUE CLASSIC OR SIMPLY A CLASSIC CHOKE JOB?
WE WRAP UP NFL '16 SEASON, LOOK AHEAD TO '17 AND GET YOU IN THE MOOD FOR HOOPS
The New England Patriots just didn't come back from the dead in Sunday's epic 34-28 overtime win in Super Bowl LI ... they came back from the dead and buried!
C'mon, now, nobody would have written a script that had Pats' QB Tom Brady leading his club back from a 25-point deficit in the second half – with the Atlanta Falcons up 28-3 midway through the third quarter there were folks 'round the country wondering more about what was left to snack on than a Pats' comeback but Brady's 466 passing yards and some not-so-brilliant play calls/execution of said play calls by the Falcs paved the way for the single greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
May we say what none of the TV "experts" would have the courage to say following SB 51 ... the Falcons will NEVER recover from that loss and you can write it down in ink right now that the 2017 season will be a major bust for Atlanta's pro football team.
How many ways can you say disaster?
Sure, Brady was surgical in the ways he directed second-half touchdown drives that covered 75, 91 and 75 yards to say nothing of a key 72-yard march for a field goal and that 5-play, 25-yard TD drive made possible after Atlanta QB Matt Ryan fumbled on a pass play that never should have been called in the first place.
It's funny that approximately two hours after Atlanta's collapse in SB 51, the NFL Network "scroll" reported Falcons' offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was leaving to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
If the Falcs' fans had their say, they would have shipped 'em out on a rail!
No doubt that Brady – now a five-time winning Super Bowl slinger and four-time Super Bowl MVP – gets all the kudos here along with plenty to share with versatile RB James White (see 14 receptions for 110 yards and the game-winning two-yard scoring run on a toss right) and a defense that finally played with a sense of urgency come the fourth quarter but let it be said that all the Falcons needed to do a couple of times in the fourth quarter was get a lousy first down and/or a crummy field goal and it would have been lights-out for the Pats but instead Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn and the aforementioned Shanahan oversaw the roughest championship game loss in modern sports history.
Think about it ... Quinn was on the losing end of that Seattle goal-line disaster versus the Patriots two years ago. Geez!
Super Bowl LI Notes ... The fact that the Patriots had a 93-to-46 advantage in offensive plays surely was key as the Falcons' revved-up defense did slow down by late third quarter (time of possession was 40:31-to-23:27) but think about how strange these stats are considering New England was "chasing" all night long ...
If you were told beforehand that the Falcons would collect five sacks of Brady and hit 'em 20-or-so times and that Atlanta RB Devonta Freeman would crank out 75 yards rushing on just 11 carries, then it would have been expected that Atlanta won the game but, again, not the case and coaching and some bonehead plays by Ryan (getting sacked out of field goal range) cost the "ATL" its first-ever championship since that one-and-only one by the baseball Braves back in 1995.
So, let's do a little pointspread house-cleaning here as we put a capper on the 2016 Football Season ...
The AFC exited the Super Bowl 51 overtime victory at 23-25-3 ATS (against the spread) all-time for a .479 winning rate while New England's cover means Super Bowl Betting Favorites are also 23-25-3 against the odds with dogs having had won each of the last five Super Bowls in outright upset fashion prior to this OT tilt – remember that Denver (+ 4.5) beat Carolina 24-10 last year, New England (+ 1) downed Seattle 28-24 two years ago, Seattle (+ 2) crushed Denver 43-8 back in the 2013 season, Baltimore (+ 5) beat San Francisco 34-31 in the Super Bowl that ended the 2012 campaign and the New York Giants (+ 3) downed New England 21-17 to wrap up the 2011 NFL season.
What a tough way for the Super Bowl Underdog streak to end, eh?
Meanwhile, forget for a moment the folks who wagered on Atlanta (+ 3) here, what about the guys/gals who were holding win-it-all tickets for the Falcons from the very start of the season when Atlanta was listed in Las Vegas at 80-to-1!
Note there were 22 NFL teams that sported shorter win-it-all odds for the 2016 season ... an amazing beat and our condolences if you happened to have had Atlanta as your '16 champ.
Now, here's a final look back at the last 10 Super Bowls:
|2016||New England||- 3||Atlanta||34-28 (ot)|
|2014||New England||+ 1||Seattle||28-24|
|2012||Baltimore||+ 5||San Francisco||34-31|
|2011||NY Giants||+ 3||New England||21-17|
|2009||New Orleans||+ 4.5||Indianapolis||31-17|
|2007||NY Giants||+ 12||New England||17-14|
Now consider that New England finished the year at 16-3 ATS for an .842 winning rate while Atlanta finished up at 12-7 versus the vig this year (a .632 winning rate).
And now hear this...The 2016 football season's officially now been put to bed but Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to pile up the profits all this week/month with lots of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – so go ahead and pound the books with hard court action today!
WHAT'S AHEAD FOR NFL '17
Last year in this very space we gave you our prediction (back then we had a Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh matchup forecast in the Super Bowl 12 months ago), so obviously not yet knowing free agency moves, the draft, etc. we'll take a long-range shot with the Oakland Raiders vs. the Green Bay Packers.
Also, we'll save the NFL schedule-makers any fuss ... pencil in a Super Bowl matchup (for a second straight season) in the league's Kickoff Game on that opening Thursday night 'cause the Falcons are at New England next year.
Finally, just for fun, we expect next year's MVP candidates to include the likes of Ryan (this year's regular-season winner), Brady (what else) along with Oakland QB Derek Carr and Green Bay slinger Aaron Rodgers put add Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston, Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott and even San Diego/Los Angeles DE Joey Bosa.
THE COLLEGE HOOPS UPDATE
Okay, so it's time for all the hoopsters to – finally – take center stage in the sports world and ESPN's "Rivalry Week" comes along at a perfect time ... when you're looking to bang out some Rivalry Week winners consider such games as Monday's Kansas at Kansas State bash (the visiting Jayhawks are in a foul mood after having their long Allen Fieldhouse win streak snapped this past weekend by Iowa State in OT) and Thursday's North Carolina at Duke tilt. And lots of good matchups in between too, so make sure you're all aboard here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453.
NOTE: Catch our NCAA Basketball Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez.