Super Bowl XLIX: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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I don't know where this postseason rates against other postseasons in NFL history, but I do know that this was perhaps the most amazing karma train that I've ever seen in any four weeks of sports.

In the wild card round, Dallas beat Detroit on a controversial reversed call. In their next game, the Cowboys lost to the Packers because Dez Bryant's catch near the goal line was overturned.

In their next game, the Packers found about a dozen different ways to screw up a game in the final five minutes, squandered five Seattle turnovers, and lost to the Seahawks in overtime.

And then on Sunday, Russell Wilson throws a pick at the goal line in the final minute of the Super Bowl, squandering one of the most miraculous plays in the game's history to get them in position to win.

Every week this postseason, it seemed that one team was living a lie from the previous week, and the football gods squared their account the following week. The Seahawks had their karmic balance sheet evened out on Sunday night, and in the end, the Patriots -- and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick -- walked away with the franchise's fourth Super Bowl ring in a 28-24 thriller in Arizona on Sunday night.

As always, there were winners and losers. Let get to them...


4. Tom Brady This Super Bowl gave us any number of ways to frame the greatness of Tom Brady. He joined Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls. He broke Montana's record for Super Bowl passes thrown by a quarterback. He engineered the biggest fourth quarter comeback in Super Bowl history, and did it against the best defense in all of football, the same defense that held Peyton Manning to EIGHT points last season. He tied Ted Hendricks for the longest stint between first and latest Super Bowl wins, and is literally the only player remaining from that 2001 Super Bowl in the league. Everyone else is on ESPN, in coaching, selling insurance, or co-hosting a radio show with me. But perhaps most amazingly, Brady has now won four Super Bowls after entering the league with this physique....

Amazing. In retrospect, Kurt Warner's "won a Super Bowl a year after bagging groceries" was trumped one year later.

3. Malcolm Butler Every good Super Bowl seems to have one of these guys -- the erstwhile undrafted free agent who makes some sort of monster play, and then we're not even sure if he's going to be in the league in two seasons. Truth be told, Butler had just made a pretty stellar play on the ball on the play that got Seattle inside the ten yard line, Jermaine Kearse's juggling, on-his-back catch. He was just victimized by some bad luck. For Butler to then come back and show the instincts he did on the game sealing pick...I mean, damn. Here's what the play looked like as it unfolded:

Who could blame Wilson for throwing that ball? Kudos to Belichick for unearthing another dude who can make plays in the bowels of the undrafted netherworld. (And a curse upon any announcer or headline writer who uses the phrase "the Butler did it" today. You suck.)

2. Breast men I thought Katy Perry's halftime performance was awesome. Entertaining, toe tapping, energetic, and when it ended it actually made me bummed out that the game was starting back up....

Her bathing suit outfit put a floor of a B+ on this performance. She could have shown up on stage in that outfit and read from the phone book, and most of male America would've said it's the best halftime show ever, quite frankly.

1. NBC The early numbers are in, and the NFL machine rolls on. NBC announced this morning that the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX win delivered a 49.7, breaking the record of the Ravens-49ers nail biter between the Harbaugh brothers a couple seasons ago. Here were the local numbers, courtesy of John Ourand from Sports Business Journal:

And if you need any proof that the Super Bowl is the greatest lead-in ever for your show....

Hey, we all watched the Super Bowl, right? Just know that all of us watching it isn't going to get Roger Goodell fired any faster.


4. Darrell Bevell After the controversial play call on second down on the final drive, the play that resulted in the Butler pick, people were killing Bevell (Seattle's OC) for throwing the ball and not just pounding Marshawn Lynch into the line three times, if need be, to get one yard. Pete Carroll's explanation after the game made some sense (some version of "we only had one time out and three downs to get the touchdown, so we wanted the timeout available between third and fourth down, so we threw on second, especially because the Pats were in a goal line set"), and to his credit, Carroll took the blame. Russell Wilson took the blame. Everyone took the blame, except Bevell, who blamed wide receiver Ricardo Lockette...

And you know when the internet gets a hold of your Wikipedia page, it's all over....

3. Jermaine Kearse Proof that historical plays are framed by the final outcome of the game -- David Tyree makes the helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants go on to score, and even though Tyree barely plays another down in the league, he ends up writing a book, and the catch gets shown on every Super Bowl montage of great plays. Kearse's catch on his back in the final minute would've been this game's "helmet catch" if the Seahawks had scored. Instead, it's just a footnote to the head scratching play call and pick to close out the game.

2. This Nationwide commercial People making a lot more money than most of us green lighted this commercial for the Super Bowl....

Thanks for completely killing the mood, Nationwide. Yeesh.

1. Aaron Hernandez Because Aaron Hernandez.

(NOTE: That's a tweet from a few months before he allegedly murdered Odin Lloyd, but retweeting it after the Patriots do remarkable things is still funny, in case you're looking for ways to become more entertaining on Twitter.)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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