Super Bowl winners and losers
by Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
February 6, 2005
Winner: The Machine
The way this team carries itself, the way it takes care of business and does all the little things that distinguish good from great, is uncanny. The Patriots may have been doubted in the playoffs, especially before facing Indianapolis in the divisional playoffs, but they have received no lack of respect since.
Now they'll never have to again. The Machine is the first Dynasty of the 21st Century.
Winner: Deion Branch
Losers: Eagles coaches (Part I)
No. 1: Trailing by two scores late in the fourth quarter, why did the Eagles take their sweet time getting to the line of scrimmage? It was surreal watching Donovan McNabb let precious seconds (and the Eagles' season) die as he slowly broke out of the huddle and long-counted under center.
The result was a baffling drive that played directly into the Patriots' hands. When Philly finally scored to make it a three-point game, they were forced into an onside kick that shifted field position and effectively ended any hope of winning.
They'll be talking about this forever in Philadelphia. And rightfully so.
Winner: Terrell Owens
Seven weeks after breaking his leg and severely spraining his ankle, Owens may not have had the deep threat going for him, but he had everything else. He caught nine balls for 122 yards and gave Philly a huge lift emotionally.
Moreover, as he pointed out afterwards, much of the criticism that painted him "selfish" for trying to come back reeked of a double standard. No one said the same of Curt Schilling in the World Series.
Owens should be similarly celebrated.
Losers: Eagles coaches (Part II)
Even if you instructed the punt returner to not field the ball, his decoy would have forced Miller to make a play and perhaps kick it through the end zone. Reid's way stacked the odds against the Eagles coming back for a tie or victory.
They'll be talking about this forever in Philadelphia, too.
There were bigger names in Sunday's game, but no better football players.
Loser: Freddie Mitchell
And one reception.
His call-out of Rodney Harrison (seven tackles, two interceptions and a tip that set up another) will go down as the most ill-fated in Super Bowl history.
Winners: Cleveland Browns and Notre Dame
Is there any doubt these football institutions each hired brilliant coaches who should succeed?
Loser: The Florida Times-Union
The area's sole daily newspaper repeatedly (and repeatedly) made these pathetic attempts to fight back, and in the process made the city of Jacksonville appear backwater, bucktoothed and not ready for prime time.
Over/under lines were set in the media center over how many rebuttal columns trying to defend the city or suck up to the readers would appear each day. One day, there were five separate columns. The paper had one writer scanning hundreds of newspapers around the country looking for slights. Every section of the paper had unimaginative writers try to rip back at the critics. It was high comedy.
Some advice: When people call you a small-time city, don't act like a small-time city. When people rip the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times doesn't take it personally.
Winners: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick
And neither one looks done.
Dan Wetzel is Yahoo! Sports' national columnist. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October. Follow him on Twitter. Send Dan a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Feb 7, 2005 1:27 am, EST