12 February 2012
In sports, as in life, when a team fails it becomes everyone's job to assign blame. There has to be a reason why they lost. It has to be someone's fault.
The sports media assigns blame one by one so that they have enough stories to fill 24 hours of programming and writing. The players blame so it doesn't fall on them. The player's wives blame so it doesn't fall on their spouse. On and on it goes down the list until eventually everyone is to blame. And in truth, everyone is to blame. Teams win and lose as teams, not individuals.
The Patriots lost the Super Bowl themselves. By their actions, inactions, and mistakes, they lost the game. They lost the game as a team, not as individuals. Believe me, there is plenty of blame to go around for the entire team, coaches included.
Tom Brady did not play like the Tom Brady we are all used to watching. He made poor choices. He threw balls behind receivers. He was out of rhythm because he couldn't move past Gronkowski or the plays that Gronkowski had been part of all year.
The receivers dropped balls. They missed routes. They made poor choices in coverage. It was all of them, not one of them at the last of the game. There were plenty of opportunities early that could have helped the team that were missed.
The defense gave too much room to the Giants receivers allowing them to make almost every single catch unmolested. They created turnovers but were unable to get the ball. They got to Eli but not enough to put him out of rhythm. There were several instances of blown coverage and misread plays.
The coaches made some terrible play calls. Gronkowski never should have played and the Patriots should have structured their game plan accordingly. They should have conceded the touchdown at the end of the game much sooner to allow for more time for Tom and the offense to get down the field and score without so much time pressure. They should have managed the clock much better. They should have used Branch and Ochocinco more, if for nothing more than defensive distractions.
There was blame for everyone because you lose as a team. To say that it was one person's fault in the last seconds of the game is a cop out. The Patriots lost the game as a team plain and simple. They now have about 6 months to accept that and correct what they did wrong....as a team.