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So amidst the swirling and annually swelling Super Bowl coverage we have to take stock ahead of the big game on Sunday.

I’ll start with the continuing saga in New Orleans, and I mention the city rather than team as apart from what befell the Saints in the Conference Championship game, this past Monday NBA superstar Anthony Davis said he will not be resigning with the New Orleans Pelicans and put in a trade request. This was a story big enough to fight the Super Bowl for attention in American sports media, which has to really hurt fans of in New Orleans.

Still, it’s hard to tell too much about how these stories battled for attention from over here in the UK, but it was certainly interesting and there are still stories about the Saints coming out. We had Ben Watson calling out Roger Goodell’s silence a week ago in a well-reasoned complaint on twitter.

19-01-31bwatson

Drew Brees clearly is begging to prepare for next season, and his Instagram post certainly showed why he’s been successful for so long.

‘I’ve spent this last week navigating the heartache and disappointment from the game. Some things within our control and some outside our control that caused us to fall short. So much of our motivation is to represent the Who Dat Nation with determination and resiliency. We want to play for you, fight for you, and win for you. You deserve that. 
The longer I play I realize that we truly are one heartbeat with our fans. Our success is your success. Our disappointment is your disappointment. We are inspired by one another to accomplish things far greater than what we could ever do on our own. 
Everything that has ever happened to this community, we have bonded together, galvanized and leaped forward every time. 
The frustration we feel now can be channeled in the same way. Pour that passion and emotion into your families and communities. Inspire others with your focus & determination and positive outlook. This will make us stronger, this will bond us tighter, this will be a source for our success in the future. 
There is no place like New Orleans. There is no community like ours. No fans like the Who Dat Nation. I refuse to let this hold us down. I refuse to let this create any negativity or resentment. I embrace the challenge. 
So keep your chin up, hold your head high, puff your chest out because WE are the Who Dat Nation and WE will always persevere.’

Drew Brees Instagram

Meanwhile his head coach Sean Payton has revealed that he spent several days locked in his office with ice cream and Netflix, and this was a story on NFL.com that followed only the Goodell press-conference when I looked at lunch time.

I was fighting my schedule again this week and as a result I was juggling when to publish posts, but part of the reason I held my mid-week post back a day was so was I could hear what Roger Goodell might have to say, but the honest answer is not much. This seems to have very much been the approach for Goodell this season who has kept a low profile, as demonstrated by his slow response to the bad no call that everyone is talking about. Even then he didn’t move past general quotes supportive of the referees and said we’ll look at replay in the off-season. Now he was never going to reverse the winners of the game and the Saints’ fans trying to bring a law suit won’t get too far either, but the interesting nugget I did read was that one of the reasons that the missed call against the Saints couldn’t be reviewed is that teams have always been against the review of no-calls. Now this will be to do with limiting the effect on the flow of the game and the influence of replay, but for something to change it has to get through the competition committee and then pass a vote amongst the owners. We shall have to see what comes out of that, but I am not expecting anything radical to come of this process. Certainly we have got used to Goodell not saying much of anything.

Getting back to the game, the media circus is in full swing with a mixture of really good break downs and less football related antics of media scrabbling for news round the Super Bowl. I’ll get to the game in my Sunday post, and I am not going to write a complaint about the quality of some of the media coverage here, but I do want to take note of it taking place.

The reason I want to do this is picking up from something Solomon Wilcots was saying on the Inside the Huddle podcast, namely that you can’t win a Super Bowl in the week before the game, but you can lose one. Now the story he tells is of the 1989 Bengals team who lost Stanley Wilson to a cocaine relapse on the eve of the Super Bowl, and his job was to block Ronnie Lott. Now I very much want to not say something like that is going to happen, and we have learnt a lot about addiction in the intervening years and it still wasn’t enough to help Josh Gordon stay clean whilst with the Patriots this season. However, with all the demands on player’s attentions and the unusual circumstances as well as changed to their routine like the extra-long half time, the team who adjusts to this environment the best will set themselves up with a good chance to win. The Patriots have been to nine Super Bowls in eighteen years and this is the third straight year they have reached the big game. That is a simply phenomenal record and has to give the Patriots some kind of edge in their preparation. The attention to detail of Sean McVay is also pretty well know so I’m not saying that the Patriots are going to walk the game, particularly given all the Patriots Super Bowls have been close, but it could be a small detail covered in a meeting this week that turns the game. Now to be fair, mostly it will be decided by the players on the day, but you never know.

I’m really looking forward to this game given both teams use a lot of deception as part of their scheme and I think it could be a fascinating match up to study in coaching tape, but for now enjoy the build-up and look forward to Sunday.

There’s not long left to go now!

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