Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Recap

I know, you’ve seen that play a million times now, and will probably see it about a billion more in your lifetime. If Eli had broken those tackles, then jogged five yards for the first down before stepping out of bounds it would still be played on every highlight show of the game. But the fact that he threw a perfect pass into triple coverage, which David Tyree (a Syracuse alumn - thanks Pat) somehow trapped against his helmet and held onto it as he was hit by star safety Rodney Harrison makes it one of the best plays in sports history (despite the monotone call by Joe Buck).

As Pat pointed out, despite the throw and catch being an amazing play, it has two things going against it. First of all, the play did not end in a touchdown. While it helped the Giants advance the ball, they still had to make a few more plays to get into the end zone. Second, the play came on third down and not fourth down. Had Tyree not held on, or even if Eli had been sacked, the Giants would have had one more chance to get five (or more) yards. These facts probably put it a notch below the Immaculate Reception, Christian Laettner’s shot or Bobby Thompson’s home run.

I still would put it above The Catch, just because in a vacuum it is a much better play. In the past ten years, the only plays in professional sports that come close are Jordan’s last shot with the Bulls and Jeter’s flip (sorry but somehow this is the only video I could find on youtube), and Tyree’s catch trumps both of those plays because of the context. If the Mets win the World Series in 2006, Endy Chavez’s catch in Game 7 of the NLCS enters the discussion.

Much has been written about how it came to be that the New York Giants, a team who’s best win in the regular season came against the Redskins, beat a team that was on the verge of being considered the best ever. One can certainly point to the play of the defensive line, the growth of Eli Manning, etc., but to me there was one play that may have been the difference in the game.

It was the first New England possession of the third quarter, and the Patriots were driving until Tom Brady was sacked on third down the make it fourth and 13 from the Giants 31. It would have been a very make-able 48 yard field goal attempt, one that would have given the Pats a touchdown lead. For some reason, Bill Belichick decided to go for it. Brady threw an incomplete pass and the Giants took over on downs with good field position and momentum.

I know that if the Pats (Patriots, not fellow poster Pat DiSalvo and his namesakes) had converted and scored a touchdown, FOX could have started House early because the game would have been over. But in a game where points were so hard to come by and field position was so important, how could you turn down a chance at points or a chance to pin the Giants deep with a punt? Converting on 4th and 13 is a long shot. The play gave the Giants momentum, and more importantly, didn’t give the Patriots points.

- Another reason the Giants won: Karma. First of all, the Patriots started out the season with bad Karma after the whole Spygate incident and Rodney Harrison’s suspension for using HGH. There was the Patriot’s cockiness all season, Belichick’s running up the score, and Gisele’s pre-game confidence (trust me, more on that later). Also, many Giants said the Patriots were inviting them to their post-game celebratory parties (backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen, however, was not invited because Brady was worried about being short on finger foods). But what sealed the deal for the Pats was the publication of a book called "19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots." This book, written by the Boston Globe, was available for pre-order before the Super Bowl. Clearly, the football Gods took note (although there was also a book about the 2008 Super Bowl Champion Giants available on Amazon before the game).

- Now, back to Gisele. Before the game, she promised that if the Pats lost, she would run through Manhattan naked. It’s one thing when an athlete, like Plax, says something that comes off as extremely cocky. They are on the field and can control the outcome of the game, and can make their prediction come to fruition. But when supermodels are guaranteeing games that they have no effect on, it’s a little frustrating. I mean, if the Pats do end up winning, does she look like Joe Namath? Of course, I wouldn’t be upset about this had she not backed out of her promise after the game.

- How does this game affect Tom Brady’s legacy? Well, had Eli not engineered that game winning drive, then Brady would have yet another fourth quarter comeback. Plus, his prayer to Moss at the end of the game wasn’t that far from being caught. One could argue that the Giants won the game because Brady just didn’t have enough time when he got the ball back.- Finally, I’ll leave you with another gem from Giving 111’s favorite quote machine, Brandon Jacobs. Apparently, the Pat’s Richard Seymour was telling the Giants to get ready to go home late in the game.
Jacobs’ post game response?
"I'll give you a quote on Seymour," Jacobs said. "You can write that he's a soft [rhymes with ‘duck’]. He said we should get ready to go home. Well, now he's on the team that went 18-1."

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