Super-Bowl-Football_Byun-28-1024x683Super Bowl XLIX reminded me why I truly love football.

It’s a microcosm of the American dream. That through hard work, perseverance and a little bit of luck, any of us can manage the highest success in some walk of life, no matter where we come from.

The New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night to win its fourth Super Bowl title in the last 15 years. They won not because balls were deflated, not because a coach was standing somewhere where he shouldn’t have been with a camera. It was won by a scrappy bunch of players, many that were never wanted, who played their best when it counted.

It was about a linebacker, Rob Ninkovich, a former fifth-round draft pick passed on by the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins before finding a home in New England, racking up a key sack on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to force a punt that set up the eventual game-winning drive.

It was about a wide receiver, Julian Edelman, a seventh-round draft pick who had to make the switch from college quarterback to the eventual successor of Wes Welker, making the game-winning catch.

It was about a defensive back, Malcolm Butler, whom nobody but the most ardent Pats fan would have known before Sunday, an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama, securing a place in Super Bowl lore with a game-clinching interception.

It cemented the legacy of a quarterback, once a scrawny kid from San Mateo, Ca. that was passed over for quarterbacks named Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Spergon Wynn, Tee Martin and Marc Bulger, on the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks by completing his fourth Super Bowl game-winning drive (Brady was 8-8 for 56 yards and a touchdown on the final offensive drive of the game).

The Seahawks best receiver was Chris Matthews, a former Canadian Football League castoff who was selling sneakers at a Foot Locker before getting a crack at the National Football League. Matthews finished with four catches (the first four catches of his NFL career), 109 yards and a touchdown.

If you were a fan that could look beyond the DeflateGate hoopla and the glitz and glamour, you would understand that on that night in Glendale, the two best teams in the NFL lined up and played one of the league’s greatest games. It was a chess match between two of the best coaches in the NFL, two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and two of the best defenses in the NFL. It came down to who would make the most costly mistake. In the end, two bad decisions on one play cost Seattle back-to-back titles and gained immortality for New England, specifically Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, who joined Chuck Knoll as the only two coaches to win four Super Bowls.

On a night the NFL needed it, the game of football delivered. Controversies were set aside for one night for the pure enjoyment of the game. The league can often be its own worst enemy, but with a well played game, it can be saved time and time again. The TV ratings will surely prove that. Like a Bruce Springsteen song, the Super Bowl gave hope to the downtrodden NFL fan.

The strategy. The underdogs. The on-field drama. The ties to history. These are the reasons we watch the game and will continue to watch the game, at any level.

No commercials, no halftime shows, no controversies, will ever be above the actual game.

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