Welcome to the Monday edition of The Cooler, where the temperature is always being monitored. Let’s get to it:
*If Sunday’s Super Bowl had ended with the beautiful National Anthem from Atlanta native Gladys Knight, everything might have been fine. Instead, they insisted on playing the game — an outcome that was probably deserved but not at all wanted.
It was the least desirable matchup possible to come out of the conference title games, offering none of the intrigue of the two best regular-season teams from each conference (Chiefs vs. Saints), two future Hall of Fame QBs in the twilight of their careers (Patriots vs. Saints) or a rematch of the highest-octane game of the season (Rams vs. Chiefs). Instead, it was the Patriots vs. Rams — the dynasty almost everyone outside New England is tired of vs. the trendy-but-nondescript Rams.
The game itself featured some very good defense, to be sure. But don’t be fooled by anyone trying to tell you it was a great game because of that.
More than great defense, the game contained lousy offense. Tom Brady threw a terrible pass on his first drive interception. Jared Goff was a nightmare almost the whole game, and what proved to be the game-clinching interception was a poorly thrown ball.
Todd Gurley continued to be a mystery. The MVP was a possession receiver. Julian Edelman was good, but it is fitting that the game’s best offensive player is most notable for keeping the chains moving.
Neither team even ran a play in the red zone until the fourth quarter!
There wasn’t a single “Wow!” moment or whiff of controversy. The halftime show by Maroon 5 was unobtrusive but utterly forgettable. The commercials were below average; among the most memorable was one in which the best character from one of my favorite movies pitching OK beer.
The final score of Patriots 13, Rams 3 at least replaced the Vikings’ 16-6 loss to the Steelers as the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history.
The overnight TV rating was the lowest in a decade, owing perhaps to the matchup and particularly Patriots fatigue.
Hey, it happens. Let’s just remember how lucky we were to get a classic in Minneapolis a year ago … and hope that things are better a year from now.
*Speaking of next year, the Vikings show up at No. 14 in ESPN’s power poll for 2019. While the order looks to be mostly a re-hashing of 2018 records, it’s not exactly awe-inspiring.
*Zach Lowe has a good rundown of where things stand two days before the NBA trade deadline, but there isn’t a peep about the Timberwolves.
*Nice win for Lindsay Whalen’s Gophers on Sunday as they knocked off No. 17 Rutgers 60-46. Maybe the new ball coach has unlocked something after a rough stretch in Big Ten play?