Some final Super thoughts on a memorable week that was
Here’s a few New England Patriots/Super Bowl tids and bits as reflect on the couple of weeks that were as we hit the first non-NFL weekend since late July:
—The result of the game dictates all. A year ago, after the stunning loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Patriots and their fans were reeling. Rob Gronkowski’s Patriot future was brought up for the first time (the retirement talk post-game), there was the Malcolm Butler mystery, then Tom Brady’s relationship with Bill Belichick was questioned, he ended up skipping OTAs, etc. etc.
Now? Nothing but love after the win over the Rams. The talk is keep Brady healthy by letting him skip OTAs. If Gronkowski comes back, don’t have him practice as much. Tom loves Bill. Bill loves Gronk. Gronk loves Bill.
Would it have been the same had the Patriots lost, which might have happened if the Rams didn’t have a quarterback who,well, stinks? Doubt it.
—-One of the lamest press conferences of the Super Bowl is the one early the morning after the game just before the winning coach-MVP presser, the city “hand-off”. That’s when officials from the host city and team pat themselves on the back for a job well-done, on one side of a podium, and on the other side, team and city officials from the next year’s site tell you how thrilled they are to be hosting next year’s game. It was funny seeing Dolphins great Dan Marino on the stage (he’s a team official) looking like it was the last place he wanted to be at 8 a.m.the day after the game.
Say this for Atlanta, though, the city did a good job and logistically, with the convention/media center, State Farm Arena (site of Opening Night), game site Mercedes-Benz Stadium and activities center Centennial Olympic Park all being close to each other and walkable, the setup was nearly flawless. The stadium? Majestic, which is the new norm now for Super Bowl stadiums, and a high video board above each end zone’s upper deck.
There’s no doubt Atlanta will be rewarded another Super Bowl in the near future, probably in about 10 years – unlike Minneapolis, where everyone froze.
—Now the debate begins: Re-sign defensive end Trey Flowers or left tackle Trent Brown? It’s unlikely both will be back, but the Patriots will probably keep one. Tough call. Brown had a good year, and could command big money based on the deal Nate Solder got from the Giants last year. Flowers could be franchised. Guess is he stays, Brown goes, but to be honest the gamble is more with letting Brown go than Flowers. Last year’s first round pick Isiah Wynn has to be healthy to lessen the Brown risk.
—Road to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport with some NFL security people from Baltimore, who worked in Atlanta for two weeks. They are all in on the Ravens getting to the Super Bowl next year because of Lamar Jackson. Sorry, people. The money here is on Kansas City quarterback Pat Mahomes getting his team there first.
—-One conversation with new Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, when he was still running the Patriots defense, will tell you he’s head coaching material. He’s also taken a few Patriot assistants with him, but one warning: he seems wound fairly tight, and the Dolphins will not be a good team next year, looking to build through the draft and dump QB Ryan Tannehill. He’ll have to get used to losing for a year or two.
—In scouring Centennial Olympic Park for local Patriot fans last weekend, New Hampshire was well represented. We found fans from Bow, Laconia, Portsmouth and Keene, among other spots. Bow’s Paul Gillespie had a great saying he was telling all that would hear: “Just give Brady and Belichick three or four more years,” he said, “and then we’ll go away. We’re like a 20-year cold.”
— The Super Bowl souvenir program is usually just a showpiece to be collected and tucked away. But this year there were some good stories in it, not the least of which was Philly writer Geoff Mosher’s assessment of the Patriots and how they truly belonged in Super Bowl LIII. This was special because Mosher, as we detailed a year ago, had spent many a night at Holman Stadium over a decade ago cover the Sparky Lyle-managed Somerset Patriots, who always had great battles with Butch Hobson’s Nashua Pride. Not a bad advancement to be an author in a historic program. And Mosher found Chargers coach Anthony Lynn to hit the nail on the head.
“Stats don’t win games,” Lynn told him. “The Patriots figure out ways to win games and that’s all that really matters.”
—-Finally, is this Boston-L.A. Week or what? Patriots-Rams last Sunday, Celtics-Lakers this past Thursday, Bruins-Kings this afternoon, and Celtics-Clippers tonight. Funny how that’s happened.
—There’s been a report that Boston is interested in bulding a climate-controlled Ferris Wheel similar to the one in Atlanta, as a tourist attraction/landmark. To be honest, not a bad idea, it was a good compass in Atlanta.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.