Kyle Shanahan’s decision not to run the ball at the end of the game undoubtedly cost the Atlanta Falcons a victory in Super Bowl LI. But can Shanahan shake it off now that he’s on his way to the 49ers? (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/TNS)

After Shanahan’s super gaffe, will choke be on Santa Clara?

Know the best part about Super Bowl LI? It’s that the crummiest, most forgettable season in recent NFL history is o-vah. Finally. Mercifully. At last.

Nobody celebrated the occasion more than Balls, which canceled its Sunday Ticket package after more than 10 seasons.

DirecTV lady: May I ask why you decided to drop your subscription?

Balls: Because cheaters, rapists, thieves, women-beaters, senior citizen-beaters and other low-life jabronis are no longer welcomed in my living room, that’s why.

But it’s mostly because of the countless time outs, commercials and injuries, not to mention the needless political commentary, silly end-zone passes, lousy fundamentals, mindless penalties and brain-dead strategies coupled with even more time outs, commercials and injuries.

Besides, if Balls gets desperate, it can always watch the Santa Clara semi-pro team play for free and reduce any purgatory time.

DirecTV lady: I’m so sorry to hear that. Might our NBA League Pass package interest you?

Balls: Have a nice day …

ANOTHER SUPER PATSY: The New England Patriots didn’t win Super Bowl LI. The Atlanta Falcons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Geez, did they ever.

Nobody choked like Falcons offense coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the next head coach of your Santa Clara 49ers.

After the Falcons took a 28-3 lead, Shanahan tried to get cute. You never, ever do that in a game this big, let alone against snakes like the Patriots.

Even then, the Falcons still had a chance to put the game away midway through the fourth quarter. All-World wide receiver Julio Jones made a ridiculous catch that moved the ball well into field goal range. As any high school coach could tell you, the situation called for three conservative run plays. That would have either taken time off the clock or forced the Patriots to use their time outs. On fourth down, a chip-shot field goal would have all but sealed the deal.

That’s when Shanahan decided to serve up a heaping pot of stupid, the kind of thing Patriots opponents always seem to do at the worst possible time. Yeah, here’s looking at you, Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll.

Inexplicably, Shanahan called two pass plays. One resulted in a sack, the other a penalty. Instead of a field goal try, the best offense was forced to punt. At that point, one just knew the Falcons were history. The wrong kind of history.

Seems like Shanahan was practicing for his next gig. Except that it will be years before his team has a 25-point lead again.

GREAT DEBATE: Now that Tom Brady will soon have five Super Bowl rings, many are quick to anoint him as the greatest quarterback ever. You know, because this is 2017, and we want to say everybody and everything is the biggest and best now.

Um, don’t think so.

If league championships are the gauge, then Otto Graham is the best ever. He led the Cleveland Browns to 10 consecutive title games, seven of which they won.

If lasting impact on the game is the criteria, then John Unitas is the best ever. Johnny High Tops is the godfather of the modern quarterback, the first to call his own plays on a regular basis. He also started the transformation of the two-minute drill into what has become today.

If sheer physical skills are the standard, then Dan Marino is the best ever. No QB possessed a more lethal combination of accuracy, release and arm strength.

Brady? He’s the new-age Bart Starr and Joe Montana rolled into one: a highly accurate, low-risk passer whose best attribute is an ability to think the game like few others. His physical attributes don’t wow anyone. The coach and system make him, not the other way around. And unlike Montana and especially Starr, he has benefited greatly from pass-happy rules.

Since moral character is not a requirement, Brady is a first-ballot Hall of Famer beyond a doubt. The best ever, he certainly is not.

NO CONTEST: While we’re at it, let’s not call the Patriots the greatest dynasty, either.

The Patriots have won five Super Bowls in the last 16 seasons. Brady and coach Bill Belichick are the only constants. While impressive, the feat isn’t in the same ZIP code as the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s (five league titles, eight seasons) or the Pittsburgh Steelers of a decade later (four Super Bowls, six seasons). The Packers and Steelers achieved their greatness against tougher competition.

Because of a weak AFC East, the Patriots receive a playoff pass every season. Split the other 10 games, and they finish with no worse than a 10-6 or 11-5 record. That gets them at least one home game closer to the conference championship game.

What’s more, the Patriots still haven’t won a Super Bowl by more than four points in regulation play, hardly the kind of dominance that one associates with a dynasty. The cold, hard fact is the Patriots either lucked out or cheated or both in every stinkin’ one of them.

Play by their rules — back when defenses were allowed to breath — and Vince Lombardi’s Packers and Chuck Noll’s Steelers would have kicked the Patriots’ asses.

YOUR TURN: “Ask me whether coaches and should talk politics on their jobs, and I’m going with a big no. There’s no escaping politics these days, and sports is one of few outlets for enjoyment or at least distraction to think about something else for a minute. These guys are sports pros, not politicos. Their opinions are no more relevant than mine.” — Marianne Smith, San Francisco

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to pladd@aol.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

Just Posted

Thirsty students can fill up at SF schools

Revenue from a tax on soda and sugary beverages approved by San… Continue reading

Grieving mother fears for family’s safety as community of slain teen works to heal

Wearing necklaces with laminated photos of Day’von Hann over their hearts, friends… Continue reading

SFPD to hold LGTBQ ‘reconciliation and recognition’ night at Glide Memorial

Police hope to acknowledge hateful history, build trust

Vaping proponents sue SF over language for November ballot measure

Proponents for a measure backed by E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. that… Continue reading

Presidential candidates, national leaders make their case at DNC meeting in San Francisco

Factions of the Democratic Party and the broader progressive political movement faced… Continue reading

Most Read