Super Bowl Has Super Flaw

Mark Barnes

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This years Super Bowl had a major flaw, and it didn't have anything to do with a celebrity exposing herself during the halftime show. No, it wasn't a bad commercial, either. This flaw was actually a game decision - one that may have cost the Eagles a victory.

Although the first half was poorly played, by Super Bowl standards (laced with false starts, poor passes, and a few dropped balls), the halftime tie made the game exciting. This thrill, though, began to wane when New England inflated its lead to 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Just when it appeared that the defending champs would cruise to victory, easily beating the 7-point spread, The Eagles pulled to within three with a heroic drive, late in the game. Then, it happened - the flaw that seemed to go unnoticed by the announcers, but one of the biggest coaching lapses in Super Bowl history.

With just less than 1:50 to play, Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid decided to use an onsides kick, instead of kicking the ball deep, even though the Eagles had two timeouts remaining. Of course, the maneuver failed, and the Patriots recovered the ball in Eagles territory. Three plays and a punt later, Philadelphia found itself at its own four-yard-line with no timeouts, needing 60 yards to get close enough for a game-tying field goal attempt. Their Super Bowl hopes died in a New England player's hands, as he intercepted Donovan McNabb's final pass.

It just doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't Reid have his team kick the ball away, after their last TD, pinning New England deep. Assuming they go three-and-out, as they did after the onsides kick, perhaps the Eagles would receive a punt in Patriots territory. Or, maybe they would have enough room for a return. Any number of good opportunities could have presented themselves.

Imagine if McNabb and his charges started their final drive with 46 seconds left, needing just 20 or 30 yards to put their strong-legged kicker in range (he has 60-yard strength). Alas, the opportunity never came, as Andy Reid doomed his team with his final big decision - one that seemed so easy but for some reason eluded a man regarded as one of the finest coaches in the NFL.

Maybe it's more complex than I'm seeing. If so, someone please enlighten me.

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