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Competitive Game? No. Super Spur for Jets? Perhaps

Posted Feb 2, 2014

I actually had a brief conversation with Roger Goodell before Sunday night's Super Bowl. It was in the tunnel beneath and around MetLife Stadium when his and my paths crossed for the length of a Percy Harvin end-around.

I don't know the NFL Commissioner, but I always remember that he was a Jets intern once, before I joined the Green & White, and since he wasn't engrossed in a phonecall or a conversation, I said hello and asked him how it was going.

"It's going well," Goodell said, his serious face and voice perhaps telling a slightly different story. "There's still 10 things to do — 100 things to do. But it's shaping up into a very good night."

I wished him a good game, he did the same to me, and we went our separate ways.

All things considered, it was a decent night — the pregame hype, the operatic anthem, the Bruno Mars lightshow at halftime. All except the absence of a competitive football game.

Some talking head before the game speculated that we were in for the first overtime Super Bowl, and who could blame such a prediction with the two top seeds, and the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense, getting it on on our field.

But Seattle was hearing none of it in their 43-8 saddling of the Broncos, the most lopsided Super Bowl since Dallas bounced Buffalo by an equal 35-point margin in Super Bowl XXVII, more than XX years ago.

Yet that's football, that happens. We didn't see competitive football this time around, but we saw a team on the rise.

"It was a big game for us and we played great," said Pete Carroll, who in another life was the head coach of the Jets for a season. "We played the way we wanted to play. We prepared beautifully. The team was really focused on getting this done and it played out the way we wanted it to play."

It's neat to be able to say that after any game. To say that after a Super Bowl, what a feeling, Coach Petey. If it can't be us, good for you.

I tweeted a factoid shortly after the end of the game. It's one of those things that sounds great, intriguing, predictive — and ultimately means nothing. We all have heard how turnovers are important in football in general and the Super Bowl in particular. The 48 winning teams have compiled a combined plus-99 in all those championship games, and only three teams have won the big one with a minus margin.

The tidbit is this: Seattle becomes the first Super Bowl team to notch at least one takeaway in each quarter and the first SB team to have a plus-4 or better margin in a game since the 2002 Buccaneers dispatched the Raiders.

And what do we know about those Bucs and these Hawks? John Idzik was involved in building both teams.

I probably did my Idzik piece too soon, quoting him from his Saturday appearance at Jets House in Manhattan. Here was his telling comment about those Buccaneers winning it all:

"It's an incredible feeling. You really can't describe it. But it was really about the journey. In Tampa's case, it was a long journey, and to finally make it to the top was a great feeling. And that's what we anticipate right here with the New York Jets."

No guarantees, no predictions. That would be as foolish as predicting an overtime Super Bowl. But the New York/New Jersey area hosted its first NFL title game and did it remarkably well. And what I'm hoping to see happen is that this week of the city swallowing the game instead of the game swallowing the city (as ESPN's Adam Schefter told fans also on Saturday) will rub off on the Jets.

Our players were big participants in Jets House and other events in New York for the past week. They continued to say all the right things about ending their season right and carrying the momentum into the offseason. But those sentiments can easily get lost in transition from season to season. I'm thinking it's not as easy to lose the vibe when the Super Bowl that you're not playing in is being played on your home turf.

As Goodell said at the top of his remarks before presenting the Lombardi and Rozelle trophies Sunday night, "Let me first give a great shoutout to New York and New Jersey for a spectacular week here at the Super Bowl, so thank you."

We can thank the Commish back when we see how much of this week sticks with our heroes in the coming months.

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