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It’s okay to admit that the Super Bowl wasn’t a good game

It doesn’t make you any less of a Football Aficionado to let go of the thought that all football is good football.

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There are those who want you to believe that Super Bowl LIII was a good game. But... was it? Or are we putting lipstick on a pig for a game that had all the drama of a Week 4 Jets-Dolphins game on a Thursday night?

The praise is coming from everywhere, sources both credible in their knowledge of the game of football and not:

New England cannot be dinged for showing their Swiss-Army knife capability to win this kind of game, but the Rams can be for not effectively counter-punching. The defensive ingenuity of both teams was outstanding, but the Pats’ Plan A worked so well because the Rams had little in the way of a Plan B. Incompetence accentuated what New England was able to pull off. But that doesn’t make for a good game, and twisting yourself in knots to call it that is a disservice.

If the play on both sides of the ball isn’t gonna be great, then at least keep an audience engaged. This didn’t do that.

I was more taken by Adam Levine’s tattoos, and I’m fine with a defensive struggle. I’ll argue I’ve rarely been more riveted by a football game for 60 entire minutes (and an overtime) than LSU’s 9-6 win over Alabama in 2011. Feast your eyes on this box score:

That game had what this didn’t: sustained crescendoing tension.

Be honest with yourself. At what point did you actually think that the Patriots weren’t going to win? That is a testament to their dynastic greatness. The longer that game stayed tight, the more it seemed that the Pats would figure it out. The Rams were going to keep giving Tom Brady chances and the GOAT was going to figure it out despite what the Rams were doing on defense. That’s not the same as what happened in Tuscaloosa that night.

That game built to the end. The longer the Super Bowl went, however, the more the air felt like it was being let out of the balloon.

But Football Aficionado has to tell you that all NFL football is good football, therefore this game has to be good.

We’ve spent so much time lauding both coaches as unimpeachable that surely they cannot be a part of a dud. It must be a great game because McVay and Belichick are coaching it. Because Tom Brady is playing in it.

Nevermind that Belichick didn’t come up with parts of his game plan out of thin air. He adapted the things his former understudy Matt Patricia did to frustrate Los Angeles because nothing in this sport is new and even the best coaches copy stuff. Nevermind that McVay, the brilliant wizkid, said this:

You see, Football Aficionado is just like any other tastemaker.

“No, you uneducated rubes, you simply don’t understand. The cover 6 pre-snap rotation into cover 3 with pattern matching behind a subtle over/under front shift with two defensive tackles in a tilt alignment is THE BEST THING EVER let me tell you why:”

An assertion that that game was good is a continuation of Football Aficionado moving the goalposts on what actual good football is and insisting that there’s a barrier to entry about true understanding of the sport. It keeps them smart, and mere consumers not, even though there has never been a time in the history of the game that football knowledge is more accessible.

But wouldn’t it add credibility for Football Aficionado to just call a spade a spade?

Not every football game is good.

The players are capable of not living up to the task physically. The coaches we’ve spent so much times upholding as thought leaders can fail mentally.

We can admit the Super Bowl was bad and you don’t have to turn in your Football Aficionado card. And you can admit that you woulda turned it off and watched Netflix if this was September just like the rest of us.