One of the truly remarkable things that makes football special is how, more than any other sport, gives you the opportunity to look back and analyze the decisions that were made. Almost the way you would with military history; debating the tactics and strategies of a battle. There are still books being written, podcasts and YouTubes being produced about the events at places like Gaugamela, Alesia, Trafalgar, Midway. I just listened to a four-part British pod discussing Stalingrad. You just never run out of things to talk about. And even thousands of years later, new information can still come out.
And so it has been with Sunday's Super Bowl. In the last few days we've learned that film study showed that when the Eagles' defense was in man coverage, it was vulnerable to motion that looked like a jet sweep. They showed a tendency for overpursuing, and losing the motion man if he cut back against the grain. Which is something that showed up on film in the 1st quarter of their Week 4 game against Jacksonville. And ended up being their undoing:
And if you're an Eagles fan, it gets worse. Because NFL Films has revealed that the second of the Chiefs red zone plays that exploited this particular weakness, the Skyy Moore touchdown that gave Kansas City a 35-27 lead, was a collosal screw up:
So Patrick Mahomes called a formation the Chiefs receivers did not line up in. He was looking for Moore on the right. He wanted to motion Moore and Kadarius Toney to the correct spots but the play clock was running down. Toney instead just improvised and pointed to Moore. The Eagles were more confused than the Chiefs were, but still reverted to form, by abandoning Moore like he was Kevin McAllister. And it cost them the season.
For all the strategy, film breakdowns, game planning and practicing, a championship can still be decided on a mistake. KC failed upwards. They fell out a window and landed on their feet. And now that we know this, it just makes an otherwise great Super Bowl all the more fascinating.
And for Eagles fans, this is a lesson on how the universe will even things out on all of us. This is to them what realizing after the fact that the Philly Special should've been blown dead and a 5-yard penalty was for us:
Or that Chris Hogan got blatantly earholed on the final Hail Mary 25 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, with no call:
It's the price you pay for playing in big games. There are no small plays. History is on the line with every snap. Sometimes you just mess up and get away with it. Sometimes karma runs over your dogma. And if you're lucky enough to not have a dog in the fight, you get to sit back and appreciate the sheer spectacle of it all. And wait for the Chiefs next huge mistake in a critical situation cost them. Because you can't get away with these forever.