Super Bowl Lessons

Posted: February 3rd, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Super Bowl Lessons

Now that the Super Bowl is in the books, let’s take a look at the game and see if there are some lessons to be learned. The 30 teams who didn’t make the big game will be trying to steal some ideas on how to get there next year.

Play to win.

Kyle Shanahan’s team had the ball late in the first half and decided to be conservative, willing to go in tied at 10-10. They didn’t have an aggressive call until there were less than 30 seconds left and that play was nullified by a penalty.

Shanahan was scared of giving the ball back to the Chiefs if his drive failed. He wanted to work the clock and limit their options when KC got the ball back. You just can’t coach like that when you’re facing a dynamic offense. You have to try to score. If you fail and they go score, so be it. You have to empower your team and show them a fearless streak. Not reckless, but fearless. There is a big difference.

Shanahan’s thinking might have made sense 10 or 20 years ago, but not in 2019. You must be aggressive.

*****

Wide receivers matter, in a big way.

Deebo Samuel was the best offensive player for SF. He caught 5 passes for 39 yards and ran 3 times for 53 yards. He was especially valuable because he could get the ball right at or just beyond the line of scrimmage and still deliver big plays.

Tyreek Hill caught 9 passes for 105 yards. Beyond that, SF had to focus on him a lot and that opened up other areas of the passing game as well as the run game. Hill is the fastest player in the NFL. Any time he is on the field, there is the possibility of a big play. You can do a great job covering him for 50 snaps and then in one moment he delivers a 44-yard dagger that changes the game.

You can win with WRs who move the chains.

You win big with playmakers, something the Eagles were lacking in 2019.

*****

Rookies aren’t always for the future.

Daniel tweeted this in the second half and was dead on the money at that point. Bosa was credited with 5 tackles and one sack, but he seemed to be in the backfield all night long. Patrick Mahomes did a great job of moving around and just escaping the rush several times. The Chiefs might have also gotten away with a hold or two. Bosa was outstanding.

As for Samuel, see the previous point. He was terrific.

Doug Pederson has been willing to play rookies. Just look at how important Derek Barnett and Corey Clement were in the Super Bowl game in 2017. But the Eagles seem to be conservative when it comes to rookie receivers. Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson were purely role players in 2017. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside disappeared for much of last season.

The Eagles have done studies in the past about how rookie WRs rarely played well across the league. There were exceptions to be sure, but as a general rule they were better off sitting and waiting. The Eagles must keep an open mind moving forward. They aren’t good enough at WR to have someone sitting purely due to age/experience.

Embrace your rookies. Give them a real shot to play.

*****

Cheap RBs are good.

That’s not ideal if you are a Giants or Cowboys fan.

The Eagles have a good foundation with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. They can bring back Jordan Howard if the price is right or go find a rookie to add to the mix.

Don’t spend big at RB.

*****

Luck matters.

Les is right on the money in regard to those fumbles. Studies have shown that recovering fumbles is very random. Sometimes the ball bounces your way, sometimes it doesn’t.

The Chiefs got lucky on those plays. They got lucky that Damien Williams catch and run was ruled a TD. They got lucky that the official called OPI on Kittles big play late in the half. I am not saying the Chiefs didn’t deserve to win. But there are some key moments in a game and they usually favor one team more than the other.

The Eagles got lucky in beating the Patriots. The Brady fumble late in the game went right to Derek Barnett after he was getting up off the ground. Any other bounce and who knows what happens. The close TD calls were initially ruled TDs. Replay upheld them. Had either been ruled incomplete and challenged, who knows what would have happened.

Unless you are so dominant that you just control the game, you want lady luck on your side.

*****

You need the right QB to win.

Patrick Mahomes struggled for much of the game, but he came alive in the fourth quarter and made enough key plays to help his team win. With KC facing 3rd-and-15, Mahomes hit Hill for a gain of 44. That changed the entire course of the game.

Jimmy Garoppolo posted good numbers for much of the game, but his accuracy was off. He had receivers going low or reaching back for the ball or slowing down to make grabs. With more accuracy, SF would have had a better lead. Still, he had a chance for redemption.

That has to be a TD. Your guy is open with the Super Bowl on the line. You cannot miss that throw.

There is no guarantee that a TD there would have won the game. But it would have put tremendous pressure on Mahomes and the Chiefs.

*****

Sunday night was glorious. I can’t recall so many people being happy for someone to win a title in a long time. That just tells you how special he is.

It reminded me of Dale Earnhardt winning the Daytona 500 back in Feb. of 1998. The rest of the NASCAR drivers celebrated with him. Earnhardt had suffered agonizing losses there several times over the years. Daytona was the one prize that eluded him. When he finally did win, all the drivers lined up to shake his hand and let him know what that moment meant to them, as well as him. That was a special moment.

And the same for Andy. You could see the joy on Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo’s face when he hugged Andy. It meant the world to Spags that he helped Andy get that title. I’ve seen 40 years of Super Bowl hugs. That was special. Chris Berman hugged him during their interview. I don’t recall ever seeing that. Brian Dawkins was in tears at home, watching his coach finally get to the top.

Les talked to some former players about Andy’s win. Great stuff if you love Big Red and those old Eagles teams.

I was disappointed that Les couldn’t get George Hegamin to comment.

Bill Belichick has more rings, but I don’t know that anyone has more strong relationships around the league than Reid. He truly is a loved man.

And now a Super Bowl champion.

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