The Falcons’ demise was just like another infamous collapse

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. Sweeping up after the Super Bowl:I knew we had seen such an ending and heard such a reason for it, before, but I couldn’t put my typing finger on it. Then Jack Alesi, recently retired basketball coach at...

The Falcons’ demise was just like another infamous collapse

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. Sweeping up after the Super Bowl:

I knew we had seen such an ending and heard such a reason for it, before, but I couldn’t put my typing finger on it. Then Jack Alesi, recently retired basketball coach at Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School and a go-to guy for wisdom, nailed it:

The 1999 British Open! Jan van de Velde!

Like Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who was up by 25 points, but wanted to “stay aggressive,” van de Velde was up by three shots on what should have been the final hole. Although he would have won with a double-bogey six, he “stayed aggressive.” So, cue Verne Lundquist’s “bless his heart,” he made seven, then lost in a playoff to Paul Lawrie.

That squiggly line between aggressive and reckless was not only breached, Sunday, it was dismissed.

Several times in the fourth quarter and with the game clock running, Atlanta didn’t even bother to run time off the play clock, providing aid, comfort, inspiration and the ball to the Patriots. Once, with the game clock moving, the Falcons snapped the ball with 15 seconds left on the play clock! Crazy!

At 28-20, that second-down sack of Matt Ryan was doubly crazy as, 1) a couple of runs into the line then a field goal logically would have won it, and, 2) the Pats’ appeared to be playing for the inconceivable, a pass, as their defense went after Ryan right from the snap!

It was like a head-on collision of bad ideas, only one survivor.

Meanwhile, had Ryan completed that second-down pass for a first down or even for a few yards prior to trying a short field goal, few, the next day (or week, year, decade), would be condemning the play as senseless. On the contrary, we would have been told Quinn and company are cold-blooded, fearless, confident.

It brings to mind Carlos Beltran, playing center field for Houston in the 2004 NLCS. With the Astros winning, Beltran made a fabulous diving catch when he might have chosen to cut it off on a hop, limiting the batter to a single.

FOX’s Steve Lyons then hollered that Beltran “just prevented an inside-the-park home run!” But it sure looked the other way, as if Beltran had very nearly caused one.

Other things …

Lady Gaga’s performance proved that talent, alone — unadorned and unaccompanied by inappropriate (read: vulgar) conduct and commentary (read: political) — can win the hearts of across-the-board halftime audiences. Of course, having arrived already half-undressed, she saved us all a lot of time.

The most disappointing element of FOX’s halftime was the forced-sell appearance of FS1 late-night show hostess Katie Nolan, who betrayed her stock-in-trade TV and Twitter persona by keeping it clean.

Nolan is thus nominated for the Weekend Boomer Esiason Phonius Balonius Hall of Fame for acting like an angel on weekend TV while acting like a pig during weekday gigs. Esiason is Craig Carton’s weekday co-host on the simulcasted, high-brow Pee-Pee and Poo-Poo show.

In the end, those anticipating the low had to wait until the end, Willie McGinest — former Patriot and a USC man — in his capacity as New England’s official recipient of the Super Bowl trophy (McGinest even wore a nice suit in anticipation) held out the trophy while repeatedly exhorting the Pats to “Kiss that mother——!”

Now, for McGinest, it’s back to his new job, his public self-awareness and civil comportment having landed him an analyst’s position on the NFL Network.

Told ya sweeping up afterwards is a dirty job.

As basketball “grows” and “evolves” with TV’s sideline replay review monitors’ help, its stupefying new normal asks that we just sit there, blankly staring at the insufferable.

Although the final 1:36 of Tuesday’s Maryland-Penn State on Big Ten Network was never closer than six points, it lasted a brutal 12 minutes.

The next game on BTN, Illinois-Northwestern, had to be picked up five minutes in — but in plenty of time for analyst Jon Crispin to tell us that Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh must “concentrate on scoring the basketball.”

At 21-15, Illinois, midway through the first half, play-by-player Dave Revsine noted that in spite of Northwestern’s slow start, “It’s still a two-possession game.” Quick, shoot two 3s!

Geno Auriemma’s Connecticut women’s team had it won extra early Tuesday on SNY. They led Cincinnati, 89-38, with 7:40 left.

Still, Auriemma must have been worried UConn’s No. 1 ranking and winning streak were in peril, as he played his starters a minimum of 29 minutes each. Among the 10 young women he played, one — a senior described in player profiles as a superior student — first entered with two minutes left and UConn up, 94-46. He does such a lot.

Stat of the Week: As was widely reported and repeated, the Falcons, when up 25 in the Super Bowl, had a 98.7 percent chance to win.

Although Mike Francesa concluded the Patriots thus had only a “2.3 percent chance to win” (I’m not good at carrying the one, either), that this football genius found the stat so significant as to be worth repeating is telling.

This stat tells us there are no variables in games; they’re all alike, including the coaches (Bill Belichick or Rex Ryan) and quarterbacks (Tom Brady or Mark Sanchez).

So now the knee-jerk, foresight-deprived folks at Major League Baseball are considering the removal of standard elements of baseball to speed the pace of games — again trying to cure the indolent pace their bright ideas helped create.

Hey, Rob Manfred! Here’s an idea that wouldn’t mess with the game: Eliminate just 30 seconds of commercial time per inning.
What’s that? Can’t be done? Why? Oh.

Charles Oakley versus James Dolan, yet more Madison Square Garden low ball.

The year was 1994, the Rangers had just won the Stanley Cup; the Knicks took the Rockets to seven games in the NBA Finals.
Enter Dolan, class dismissed. Or is it all just a two-team, 22-year coincidence?

ESPN’s “Rivalry Week” included Wednesday’s N.C. State-Florida State, such an intense rivalry it played to a half-empty house.

Experts speak of trading Carmelo Anthony as if he would be embraced by any and all teams, as if the “B” in NBA stands for “One-On-One.”

Breaking News: The Channel 7 Calamity Eyewitness Dreadful Weather Team reported cold weather and snowfall in New York — in early February! — as confirmed by ESPN’s Buster Olney. Run for your lives; abandon ship! (Women and children, eventually.)

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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