No sooner had the New England Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history than sports pundits everywhere were asking, “Did the Patriots win Super Bowl LI or did the Falcons lose it?”
This is the go-to question for all talk radio and debate TV after a dramatic finish, a part of the debate-ification of everything in sports. And every time I’m left like Jacobim Mugatu in “Zoolander” screaming at my TV, “They’re the same thing! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
The answer to the “Did Team A win the game or Team B lose it?” question is, always has been and always will be “both.”
Yes, the Falcons choked. There is no way to squander a 28-3 lead without massive blunders like Matt Ryan holding onto the ball too long in the fourth quarter twice, resulting in a lost fumble and then knocking Atlanta out of field goal range that would have iced the game.
And yes, the Patriots pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history because Julian Edelman made an absolutely impossible catch and Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
And yet sports pundits will spend all of Monday arguing that either the Patriots had an epic comeback or the Falcons choked as if they are mutually exclusive and not two sides of the same coin.
Because every great game must now be sliced into debate fodder and this is the laziest, most generic question that can be asked after any sports contest.
Well enough is enough.
If people want to spend Monday debating whether Tom Brady’s legacy is greater than Michael Jordan’s or the NFL MVP Award voting should be moved to after the completion of the season, then by all means go for it. Because those are actual questions with “yes” or “no” answers — however subjective and oversimplified as they may be.
But for the love of God, please finally stop asking me the same damn rhetorical question over and over.