Bock’s Score: Yes, LIII Was A Super Bore

What if some day, the National Concussion League gave a Super Bowl and the most exciting part were the television ads that carried a price tag of $5.25 million per 30 seconds.

Welcome to Super Bowl LIII, the lowest scoring game in the history of the overblown affair that sells tickets at inflated prices because, hey, who wouldn’t want to be at the Super Bowl? Whip out that plastic credit card and once again prove that P.T. Barnum was right. There’s a sucker born every minute.

This was a game that did not produce a touchdown until there were seven minutes left to play. This was a game in which one team ended its first eight possessions with punts and the other team managed one field goal for a 3-0 lead at halftime.


There have been Electric Football Games with buzzers moving the little players that generated more juice than the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams produced in this extravaganza. Together, the two conference champions scored 16 points, the lowest total in the history of the game.

Nevertheless when it ended, the confetti floated down, showering the jubilant Patriots as they celebrated their victory. This, they claimed, was further certification of their dynasty which now owns six Super Bowl championships and nine appearances in the game since 2001 when coach Bill Belichick discovered quarterback Tom Brady.

Well, this dynasty is built on a less than sturdy foundation. The Patriots live in the AFC East Division, where their neighbors are the Buffalo Bills, still wondering how they lost four straight Super Bowls, the Miami Dolphins, still living off the memory of the league’s only unbeaten season and the New York Jets, always selling their only Super Bowl, even though it happened 50 years ago. The opposition is somewhat shoddy, meaning the Patriots are almost always going to finish in first place, clinch a playoff berth, often with a bye in the first post season week. This means win two games and bingo, you’re in the Super Bowl.

And once you’re there, well good things might happen. You might, for example, find yourself going up against a quarterback who did not seem ready for the moment. Jared Goff of the Rams often looked bewitched, bothered and bewildered, no match for a seasoned Patriots defense.

Now there is plenty to like about tough defense but the Super Bowl is usually a high-flying explosion of offense, two teams going mano-a-mano. That did not happen this time. Instead, the game was rather boring, not the kind of classic the Concussion League likes to present.

The Super Bowl is constructed of smoke and mirrors, hefty expectations because, after all, this is the last game, played for the league championship. How can you not be excited?

It is up to the two teams to maintain that excitement and the Rams and Patriots failed in that mission. President Donald Trump’s pre-game interview had more pizzazz and that is not good.

Cartoonist Charles Schultz once captured the essence of this exercise in a Peanuts comic strip. Charley Brown appears in one panel, besides himself with excitement.

“This is it!’’ he exults. “The Super Bowl.  The two best teams. It’s going to be the biggest game of the century.’’

Linus looks up from his piano somewhat puzzled and notes, “Didn’t they do that last year?’’





About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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