How bad was Stupor Bowl LIII? Even Tony Romo couldn’t save it.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, the darling of TV critics and NFL fans everywhere since his move to CBS, had to admit that our eyes weren’t deceiving us. This was a snore of a Super Bowl.
“If you like offensive football, well, too bad,” Romo said of a 3-0 first half, during which neither the Patriots nor the Rams touched a toe inside the red zone. Later, after a Greg Zuerlein field goal tied the thing at 3-3, Romo exclaimed (and possibly awakened a few people): “We’ve got points! It feels like we’ve got a scoring spree going on!” At one point, Fox Sports’ Troy Aikman wondered if a punter had ever been Super Bowl MVP.
Oh, sure, it was great to watch defensive masterminds Bill Belichick, Brian Flores and Wade Phillips lock horns and pummel the offenses for three quarters, but the grinding style came as a jolt to people conditioned by what was arguably the most exciting regular season in NFL history, one in which final scores ventured into basketball territory. Remember that Rams-Chiefs game in November, the one with a final score of 54-51? But this? This was rope-a-dope on a football field.
The game was played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the German automaker, one of the game’s advertisers, couldn’t resist the piling on in a now-deleted tweet: “If this game weren’t in my stadium, I would have driven away by now.”
And so just look at the headlines. “That Super Bowl was so boring” (USA Today). “How Boring Was the Super Bowl? The Punts Got Exciting.” (New York Times). “Twitter slams low-scoring Super Bowl LIII as ‘most boring game ever’ ” (EW.com). “Maroon 5 criticized for Super Bowl performance seen as ‘boring’ and ‘safe’” (Fox News). “What We’ll Remember About Belichick and Brady’s Boring Super Bowl Win” (The Ringer). “Five Super Bowls that were somehow just as boring as Patriots-Rams (really)” (ESPN). “Well, That Sucked” (Deadspin). “The worst Super Bowl ever” (CNN).
The feeling was nearly universal. LeBron James was bored in the first half.
And Maroon 5′s halftime show didn’t help matters.
You know things are bad when the NFL’s biggest spectacle is trolled by a minor-league soccer team.
And by a minor-league football league.
And by an NHL mascot.
Even house pets were drowsy.
You get the picture, and undoubtedly did so Sunday night, too.
So what gets the blame? A lackluster set of commercials? The NFL, for getting us addicted to high-scoring offensive affairs with its rules meant to protect quarterbacks and encourage scoring? How about last month’s championship games, two of the most exciting in history? What could possibly top two overtimes, games decided by three and six points, plus an officiating controversy that continued to dominate headlines for two weeks?
And maybe the Patriots themselves bear some responsibility for the ennui Sunday night. The eight previous Super Bowls of the Brady-Belichick era were each decided by one score, making this year’s 10-point margin feel like a blowout.
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