The NFL is preparing to hold its championship game this weekend, and I know what you’re thinking: Why aren’t the major media outlets covering the game? I’m looking as hard as I can, but I just can’t find any decent coverage of the Super Bowl!
Fret not, dear readers - We’ve got you covered. You probably didn’t expect a Philadelphia Phillies site to be your best resource for Super Bowl coverage - and most likely, it won’t be. However, it will give you something to read about here beyond endless Macharper speculation.
I realize that baseball might not be the first sport that comes to mind when you think of the Super Bowl, but I’ve found a way to put a Phillies-centric spin on the big game. Don’t be too surprised; I can put a Phillies-centric spin on just about anything.
Brady vs. Goff: The Baseball Matchup
You probably know that Tom Brady and Jared Goff are good at football. (Skeptics might say that Goff hasn’t actually proven himself to be that good, and his success is likely more a result of excellent coaching and teammates, but for the sake of what I’m trying to do here, let’s just say he’s good at football.) You may not know that both men once considered pursuing a baseball career instead.
Jared Goff’s father Jerry was a professional baseball player who spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues. Jared starred for his high school team, and it looked like he might attempt to become a second generation star like Ken Griffey, Jr. or Barry Bonds. But much like Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, he decided to forge a different path for himself, and play football.
Tom Brady was also a high school baseball star. He was selected in the 18th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball draft, but opted to take a football scholarship to Michigan instead. Considering he could never gain a permanent grasp on the starting quarterback job for the Wolverines, it seemed like he might have made the wrong choice. I suppose his middling success as a professional has ultimately justified his decision.
The Phillies as Super Bowl Teams
Prior to this year’s game, there have been 104 teams to appear in a Super Bowl. Some were great, some were forgettable, and some came up really small in the big game. I’m going to compare a few members of the Phillies’ roster to some of these teams. (To avoid confusion, when referring to the Super Bowl teams, I’m referring to the year in which the game was played.)
Nick Pivetta - 1981 Oakland Raiders
The 1981 Raiders were the first wild card team to ever win the Super Bowl. Speaking of wild cards, Nick Pivetta may be the biggest uncertainty on the Phillies’ roster. His peripheral numbers looked good in 2018, but the traditional numbers weren’t there.
Seranthony Dominguez - 2017 Atlanta Falcons
In the first half of the season, Dominguez was untouchable, and pretty much saved the Phillies’ bullpen from disaster. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sustain the success and had a disappointing finish.
Odubel Herrera - 1992 Buffalo Bills
The Bills’ performance in the Super Bowl is best remembered for Thurman Thomas being unable to find his helmet, and several other mistakes which made people overlook how good they actually were.
Hector Neris - 2015 Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks made one huge mistake at the very end of the game that cost them a victory.
Andrew McCutchen - 1999 Denver Broncos
John Elway was past his prime, and no longer a superstar at that point. But he was still a quality player and a valuable part of an excellent team.
Bryce Harper - 2010 New Orleans Saints
Just checking to see if anyone was paying attention.
Jake Arrieta - 2018 New England Patriots
The Patriots weren’t as good as they had been a few years earlier and were ultimately let down by poor defense.
Aaron Nola - 1998 Green Bay Packers
A superb team that turned in an amazing season that would have won a trophy most years. Unfortunately, the competition was just a little bit better.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning the Super Bowl? Commercials! I tried to find some baseball-related Super Bowl commercials, but as it turns out, most of the sports-related Super Bowl commercials involve football instead of baseball. Go figure.
But here’s a fun local ad the Texas Rangers ran last year:
This is a Rolling Rock commercial from a few years back that got banned. I’m not sure why it got banned. As Homer Simpson pointed out years ago, seeing guys get hit in the crotch by a ball is ALWAYS funny:
Speaking of nuts, here’s an ad from this year’s game starring former All Star Alex Rodriguez:
If you’ve now made the decision to stop what you’re doing and watch Super Bowl commercials for the rest of the day, here’s a handy resource where you can do so:
Prediction Time with Matt Klentak
I’m going to finish things up with a special treat: I called up Phillies’ general manager Matt Klentak to ask him for a Super Bowl prediction.
Smarty: Hi, Matt! Thanks for taking some time to talk to me.
Klentak: No problem, you know what a big football fan I am.
Smarty: Actually, I didn’t know that. I don’t really know anything about you. In fact, nobody does.
Klentak: Well, I love football. I’ve been a fan ever since the day I determined that the mathematical formulas we use for calculating how valuable each and every baseball player is, and determining the exact amount of money he should be paid can also be used to predict the outcome of football games.
Smarty: No kidding! Does it work?
Klentak: Absolutely. For instance, it correctly identified that the Rams and Patriots would win their championship games.
Smarty: Okay that’s promising. So, who’s going to win the Super Bowl.
Klentak: The New England Patriots.
Smarty: Seems reasonable enough. I know that some of our readers like to place bets on the game. Can you tell us what the score is going to be?
Klentak: According to my calculations, the final score will be 75-2.
Smarty: Um....as a football fan, doesn’t that score make you question the accuracy of your formula a bit?
Klentak: Nothing could make me question the accuracy of my formula.
Smarty: Well, have you ever watched a game in which a team won by 73 points?
Klentak: Watch a game? Why would I ever do that? I find I gain a much greater understanding and appreciation if I look at the raw data instead.
Smarty: I see. So you’re saying fans should bet on the Patriots?
Klentak: There is only a 2% margin of error on these calculations. With the Patriots favored by two, that puts them well within that range.
Smarty: Can’t argue that logic. Anyway, can you give us an update on how things are going with Harper and Machado?
Klentak: Whoa, look at the time. Gotta go!
You heard it here: The Patriots are going to win the 75-2. Feel free to place your bets, and be sure to tell them that Matt Klentak and Smarty Jones sent you!
Enjoy the game!