All Ball Sports: Greatest Super Bowl finish ever, great start for MCHS

Forward Jacob De Armas and his Mira Costa team started the season with a promising 11-2 record. It ended last Wednesday with a CIF first round playoff loss to St. Bernard’s. Photo by Ray Vidal

by Paul Teetor

The first two hours of Sunday’s Super Bowl were ho-hum, a below average playoff game that was a snooze to watch. 

Even Taylor Swift looked bored.

The last hour, however, was some of the most riveting football All Ball has ever seen.

In erasing a 10-point second half deficit and winning his third Super Bowl, 25-22, in overtime, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes proved he is second only to the great Tom Brady. And now he is on a trajectory to pass Brady in the next few years.

I want to say a few words here in praise of the Rams. They lost to the Detroit Lions by one point, 24-23, in their playoff loss due to a blatant pass interference non-call on rookie receiver Puka Nacua. Then the Lions lost to the 49ers by three points in the conference title game. Then the 49ers lost to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl by three points.

Thus, you could argue, the Rams were seven points away from winning the Super Bowl – a single touchdown and an extra point. That’s how close, hypothetically, the resurgent Rams were to winning their second Super Bowl in three years.

And speaking of extra points, the biggest play in a game full of big plays was the missed extra point when the 49ers could have gone up by four –17-13, but instead ended up leading by three when the PAT kick was blocked.

That single point affected every decision made after that in the fourth quarter and overtime. And if that blocked kick was the biggest play, the biggest mistake was 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s decision to get the ball first in overtime.

He should have opted to kick off and receive the ball second. Under the new everybody-gets-a possession overtime rules, he would have known what he had to do: if the Chiefs didn’t score, his team could win on a field goal. If the Chiefs scored on a field goal, they would need a field goal to tie and keep going or a touchdown to win. And if the Chiefs scored a touchdown, then the 49ers would know they had to score a touchdown to match that and keep the game going.

As it turned out, choosing to receive the ball first was a huge mistake because they settled for a field goal, then had to watch Mahomes work his magic. Twice he went for it on fourth and short and twice he pulled off amazing runs to keep the game-winning drive going.

The 49ers didn’t lose this game – the Chiefs won it.

The tagline of the great HBO drama Succession is “Take what’s Yours.”

The Chiefs took what’s theirs.

 

Unhappy trails to Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly’s sudden decision Friday afternoon to leave his UCLA head coaching job to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State is downright weird. 

When was the last time you heard of a head football coach leaving to become an assistant at another school in the same conference?

Never. 

The most likely reason for his sudden departure?

Simple. He knew UCLA was going to get steamrolled in its first year in the Big Ten this fall and he got out of Dodge when he had the chance. And the hell with the school, the players or the Bruins fans.

The Ohio State Offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien, left to become the head coach at Boston College. That was a logical move for an ambitious coach.

It left an opening, and Kelly grabbed it with the kind of quickness that used to be the hallmark of his offense at Oregon, back in the day – way back in the day — when he was a highly successful college coach headed for the NFL.

In other words, he left one year early because he knew he was likely to be fired after next season. His good friend, Ohio State coach Ryan Day, provided a safe landing spot.

Over the past five years, there were two coaches that All Ball watched closely and could just see by their decision-making, by the way they carried themselves and by the way they related to their players that they didn’t have what it takes to be successful head coaches.

Even more than the x’s and o’s of offensive and defensive strategy – which Kelly is very good at — being a successful head coach is about managing egos and inspiring talented players to subsume their talents to the greater good of their team. 

The first coach we urged to be fired was Chargers Coach Brandon Staley. We urged it three separate times, over the course of 18 months, before the Spanos family finally saw the light and let him go with four weeks left in the season. Now they have Jim Harbaugh on board and it’s blue skies ahead for them.

The second, of course, was Kelly, who seemed to love the schematics of football strategy but hated the human dynamics of head coaching.

We called for his firing late last season when it became clear that his 35-34 record over six years – with just one bowl win – was never going to get any better. But UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond made a big show of standing by his man, saying that Kelly brought cohesion and stability to the program.

Now, just two months later, the UCLA program has been devastated and destabilized. Not only did Jarmond have to come up with a coach on short notice — He hired DeShaun Foster on Monday — but he has to worry about retaining the current players.

Under NCAA rules, whenever a head coach leaves like this with no notice during the off-season, the players get an extra 30 days to declare for the transfer portal. 

Look for a parade of UCLA players – at least most of the starters and other first stringers – to leave for other schools that can provide the stability and cohesion that Kelly could never bring to the program. 

As for Kelly himself?

All Ball suspects that he has found his proper water level – offensive coordinator — and that he will have a successful third chapter in his coaching career.

It’s just too bad that he had to devastate the UCLA program to find his true destiny.  

 

Mustang Boys, Girls Crash Land; Redondo Rolls on

The Mira Costa boys basketball season that started on such a promising note – they went 11-2 in their first 13 games – ended with a dull thud Wednesday night with an excruciating CIF first round playoff loss to St. Bernard’s.

The Mustangs were up by 12 points in the third quarter before letting the lead slip away on the way to a last second, 50-48 loss on a second-chance three pointer that beat the buzzer.

Even the ending was controversial —  the St. Bernard fans stormed the court with 1.2 seconds left before order was restored.

“They stormed the court before the game was over so it should’ve been a technical foul,” Mustangs coach Neal Perlmutter said.

But the refs, for whatever reason, decided not to call a tech and Costa had to swallow the bitter defeat without recourse to a higher power— even though before the game spectators were reminded not to prematurely make their way onto the court prior to the final buzzer.

Costa had to rely on a last-second half court heave by senior guard James Reach that didn’t connect and that was that. Costa’s season was over with a record of 18-11 and 5-5 in the Bay League, good for third place.

They finished with a 3-game losing streak.

Mira Costa guard Jacob De Armas led his team with 15 points and Reach chipped in with 11.

Perlmutter praised De Armas for a strong effort that included playing through cramps down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

“He’s a competitor and he came out, played really well for us,” Perlmutter said.

Added Perlmutter: “At the end of the day, we didn’t control the defensive glass. That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year.”

The Mustangs led 25-15 at the half after limiting Vikings star Tajh Ariza to just a pair of free throws.

Leading 10-7 after a quarter, Mira Costa used an 8-0 run capped by a De Armas pull-up jumper to push the advantage to 24-13 — the largest lead of the half.

But in the end it wasn’t quite enough.

Meanwhile the Mira Costa girls team won their first-round game at Bishop Amat 57-33, but then lost their second-round game to Mark Keppel, 67-57. They finished with a 24-6 overall record and 8-2 in the Bay League, good for second place.

The Redondo girls, who won the Bay League with a 10-0 record, have a 24-5 overall record. They began the playoffs with wins over Portola and Sonora.

The Redondo boys team, who also won the Bay League with a 10-0 record and had a 23-4 overall record, advanced to the second round of the Division 1 playoffs with a 76-67 win over Foothill. They were scheduled to play Etiwanda in the quarterfinals this last Tuesday. (Tuesday’s game was past Easy Reader’s print deadline. Visit EasyReaderNews.com for the results of this game.) 

Contact: teetor.paul@gmail.com. ER

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