Wow. What a weird Super Bowl:
With 5 minutes left in the first half, the score was 0-0. At halftime, the score was 14-10, New England. At the end of the third quarter the score was still 14-10. At the end of the game it was 32-29 New England.
At the end of the first quarter, Jake Delhomme was 1-of-9 for 1 yard. By the end of the game, he was 16-for-33 for 323 yards and 3 TD's.
20 minutes into the game, Carolina had 0 net yards. By the end of the game, they had amassed 387 yards, including the longest TD drive (95 yards) and the longest TD pass (85 yards) in Super Bowl history.
All numbers aside, the Panthers simply did not play well enough to win the game. Their vaunted defense was dominated most of the night; if Vinatieri goes 3-for-3 and Brady doesn't throw a stupid, stupid interception from the 10, the Patriots easily score 40 points. They had 12 penalties. They allowed 4 sacks. John Kasay couldn't even keep his last kickoff inbounds with 68 seconds to play.
The Panthers couldn't stop the run OR the pass, especially near the end of the game, when they had to have a stop. Carolina cornerback Ricky Manning, hero of the NFC Championship game, repeatedly got ripped by David Givens, Deion Branch, and anyone else the Patriots threw at him. Hell, the entire Panthers secondary absolutely SUCKED when the game was on the line. Their supposedly terrific defensive line was also nullifed; Brady was never sacked, and although he was repeatedly rushed and hit hard, he generally had enough time to find the open receiver(s). I just can't get over how bad the Panthers defense was. It seemed like they guessed wrong on every single play all night. Early on, they stopped the pass, so the Patriots ran the ball well. Then they load up to stop the run and Brady rips them on two play-action passes for TD's. Then at the end of the game they allow three straight scoring drives when one stop could mean the difference in their season.
Oh yeah, the commercials weren't all that great either. My top few were: 1) NFL - "Tomorrow" song, Jerry Jones does cartwheels 2) Budweiser - The Clydsedale Donkey and 3) Frito/Lay - Old People Battle for chips. But good commercials were few and far between, with tons of crap like CBS promos, AOL 9.0 crap, and the most boring car commercials ever. All in all, kind of a lackluster Super Bowl, with the main excitement being how the hell the Panthers will score next and a nice shot of Janet Jackson's right breast at the end of halftime.
But it's still the Super Bowl, a celebration of football, fun, and American excess. You gotta love it, right?