Final thoughts on the Super Bowl

From the Sidelines

Super Bowl 56 has now come and gone.  We have to wait another year before we will see the 2 best football teams on the planet fight it out to be the best.  The Super Bowl is always the most watched sporting event, and this year it should continue that tradition.  This was a great game!  This game followed the lead of all the playoff games by being exciting, close, and down to the last minute.  If you are a Rams fan, you are elated with what happened in the final minute and a half; if you’re a Cincinnati fan, not so much.  

I, as most of you know, swore off the Bengals several years ago, and went with my childhood loyalties, one of which was the Rams. I enjoyed the game from both sides though. Deep down, I wouldn’t have minded the Bengals winning; I do feel for their long-suffering fans. They are very loyal and deserve a champion.  This was Cincinnati’s third trip to the Super Bowl, and they have lost all 3 by a total of 12 points!  That is heartbreaking!  

One of the chief complaints, not for the Super Bowl specifically but football in general, is always the officiating.  This Super Bowl was no different. All in all, I thought the crew did an admirable job. 

Ron Torbert, the referee, is one of my favorite new referee’s in the NFL. He exudes confidence and has control of the game in a professional manner. Did this crew miss some calls? Absolutely!  Did they favor one team over another? Absolutely not!  Both teams have plays that they can complain about.  That is the way it is for most games. 

Bengal fans will complain for the next 10 years about the holding call on linebacker Logan Wilson that wasn’t holding. I agree, it wasn’t holding, but when the receiver made his cut, his left hand went around his waist, it was not enough to alter his route, but holding was called. I agree with Bengal fans on that one.  However, Bengal fans will NEVER talk about the obvious facemask / offensive pass interference that Tee Higgins got away with on his 75 yard touchdown.  The Back Judge missed that, big time! It happens. 

Yes, I was screaming at the television, but sometimes things like this happen. Things happen so fast in football that sometimes you are out of position, looking at the wrong thing, or you just miss it. All you can do is move on. 

What Bengal fans also forget is the last two plays of the game. Cincinnati had time to win the game. They were moving down field and had a 3rd and one.  They got stopped on a running play by Aaron Donald.  Then, on 4th and one, Cincinnati goes with an empty backfield, which everyone in the world knew was going to be a pass or a Joe Burrow run. 

The Rams load up the front end, and Aaron Donald sacks Burrow (Burrow was sacked 7 times, and hit 11 times in the game!)  Does anybody else think that was a poor play choice?  The Bengals had been running the ball effectively all game long, but decided to pass on the most important play in the game.  

Football is a matchup game. You try to get matchups in your favor. The matchup in the last 2 plays favored the Rams. That was the ballgame! 

The Super Bowl was well played by both teams, had all the excitement you could want, and I do believe that these were possibly the best 2 teams in the league. I say possibly because injuries play such an important part of the game, and these 2 teams stayed relatively healthy all year.  That is not meant to be a negative remark on both teams, it is just a fact! (If healthy, I think the San Francisco 49’ers are better than the Rams, but man, injuries killed them this year!)

I hope that the Bengals make it back to the Super Bowl next year. I really like Joe Burrow. He has the makings to be the face of the NFL for the next 10 years. But, injuries, trades, front office gaffs, the draft, salary cap, and pure luck play such an important part in the success of a team. I am sure we all will be watching to see what happens next year, let’s just hope the game will be as good as this one! That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.

Commissioner Mike Stegall

Mike Stegall / Correspondent

Mike Stegall is a GHS alum and played on the Green Wave's only undefeated football team. Served 27 years as an OHSAA football official and currently serves as a Darke County Commissioner

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