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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dang!


I believe it, because it happened. I believe it, because it was bound to happen. I believe it, because as is always the case, the better team won. As I recover from the kick to my gut that was the Giants shocking upset in Super Bowl XLII, here are the first thoughts, questions and emotions that are flowin' through my system...


-First and foremost, what a freaking game. I won't go as far to call it the greatest Super Bowl ever, but I'd have to say it moves straight into the top 10, if not the top 5. It wasn't so much the action itself, (which I say pales in comparison to Pats/Panthers or Rams/Titans) as it was what was at stake. The Giants pulled one of the greatest upsets in modern sports and NFL history, and they did it in a way that many of you may have recognized...

-Because that's how the Patriots won all of their freaking Super Bowls! That imposing defense? That used to be us! That last second drive to win the game? That used to be us, man! We were the physical team that used to punch the finesse team in the mouth. Essentially, we were the Rams, and once somebody got up in our grill, we folded like The Giants beat the new look Patriots, by playing exactly like the old look Patriots, even to the point where...

-The Giants got all the "breaks" that the Pats are used to getting! Don't get me wrong, New England didn't get to where they were on luck, but many of the plays that usually go in their favor, went for the G-Men! That crazy play where Eli avoided that sack? Wouldn't have been outrageous to call him down there, right? And that catch by David Tyree? Much like last year when Reggie Wayne seemingly snagged the Pats hopes out of midair with an astonishing catch, Tyree did him one better making arguably the greatest catch in Super Bowl history. Screw that, that WAS the greatest catch in Super Bowl history as far as I'm concerned. Dude trapped a prayer from a scrambling hick to his helmet and somehow helped on even when ROIDney tried to knock the sucker out of there. You consider time, score, and the enormity of the upset, and I'll argue any day of the week that was the greatest catch the Super Bowl has ever seen. Now in years past, hose balls usually bounce the Pats way, and when you're playin' in close games, and you stop getting those breaks, this is what happens...

-And I'm still not so sure how I feel about what just happened. I mean, on one hand, the Pats just blew a once in a lifetime shot at history. On the other hand, I watched that game, and the Giants not only deserved to win, but should have won by 10 or more! The Giants knew they had to get to Brady to win, but the common logic was that they wouldn't be able to get to him nearly enough to make up for the talent disparity. Cuz let's face it, the better team on paper didn't win this game. That's not a shot at the Giants, it's just a fact. But the fact is, they were able to come together, as corny as it sounds, and play above their heads to get the job done. They were peaking at the right time, and they just were able to capitalize on a great game plan to stop the most potent offense in NFL history. Before the game, you couldn't have convinced me that the Patriots were gonna lose. After watching just one half of that game, my world had been shook, and I knew that at that point, any outcome was possible. As a Pats fan, that's not an easy feeling to accept, and it's a feeling that you almost feel a sense of betrayal when it seeps into your soul. You say to yourself, "I should have faith. These dudes always pull it out in the end, and that's what they're gonna do here". Well, I'm sorry, when Tom Brady coughed up the ball to end the first half, and New England didn't immediately score to start the second half, I knew we were in trouble. So what I'm struggling with, is not so much that the Pats lost the game, but how they were dominated in all the aspects of the game that they themselves have made a point of dominating on their recent run of success. Teams lose games, I get that, but the fact that this team, with this quarterback, this coach, and this historic offense, weren't able to at least make the changes to get something going, and get some points on the board. Maybe I'm just so used to all the right moves being made that it's weird to think that may have been the problem, but from top to bottom I'm still having a tough time believing that the team I saw take the field on Sunday night, was the same team and the same coaching staff that I've watched closely over the last 8+ years. Then again, I don't wanna get too carried away with trying to blame people...

-It's easy to point out the reasons for losing in hindsight, but let's not get carried away. In the immediate aftermath, when Randy Moss was questioning his team's intensity, and Bill Belichick was running for his life off the field, people start pointing fingers big time. This guy's overrated (Richard Seymour), and that guy can't play in big games, and blah blah blah. Listen, it was one game. Sure, there are some old guys on our defense (Seau, Bruschi, Harrison), but those old guys were 18-0 until about 30 hours ago, so to now say they were bums or whatever, is just ludicrous. Besides, if I told you before the game that those old guys were gonna give up 17 points, you would have been like "yea we won 35-17". For the love of God, they averaged giving up almost exactly 17 points per game when the team went an NFL record 18-0! The defense was NOT the problem in this game, and if you honestly think it was, then you honestly don't know the game of football at all, and should look into perhaps joining a cult, or maybe sellin' illicit narcotics in the fresh football free void created in your life. If you really wanna play the blame game in this one, the two names I got for ya are...

-Matt Light and Bill Belichick. Light's the easiest target for me. For years I've been saying I thought this guy wasn't nearly as elite as his press clippings suggested because of his inability to stop top flight pass rushers, and this one it couldn't have been more obvious that was the case. No sooner had the Pats got the ball, and Light was making like a green light over there at left tackle, letting Tuck, Strahan and Umenyiora stroll right in and take shots at Brady. I know those guys are good too, but this is supposed to be an All Pro taking on other All Pro's, not a bunch of ripped athletes slappin around a fat guy with a beard. And Light's supposed to be the guy with all the big game experience, yet he's the one that got called for 2 false start penalties! Dude was flinchin' like a rookie out there, and gettin' beat just as badly. I don't wanna hate on my own team, but if it isn't obvious now that Matt Light is one of the most overrated players in the league, then I guess it's never going to be. It's not the end of the world, mind you, and I'm not even suggesting Light be run out of town. It's just that in the future, we need to be much more mindful of givin' that guy help when it comes to big time players, and quit thinkin' he has what it takes to hang out there in a 1-on-1. Call it one bad game if you want, but I think it's a problem that should be looked at, and something tells me the Giants may have noticed it too, and targeted his ass...


As for Belichick, it's getting tougher and tougher to defend this guy's actions. It's bad enough that he got out coached by Tom Coughlin and his staff, but to run off the field like that and give a curt post game interview is just classless. If those coaches have to stand on their sidelines while your record setting offense hangs 60 on their heads, then you're gonna have to stand there and accept defeat when your world beaters fall victim to one of history's biggest upsets. I know dealing with the media isn't your thing, and you're there to win games, but at least be somewhat gracious in defeat. I'll stick up for you when you're trying to trick other teams with injury reports, or even being a smart alleck when being asked about SpyGate, but at least take your lumps like a man. I know the saying "show me someone that's not a sore loser, and I'll show you a loser", but there's a time and a place to let all those emotions out. On the field, in the wake of the game, show some class. THEN go and think of a way to embarrass them the next time. There's a fine line between full on duechebag and menacing mastermind. Please hop back on the other side, and for the love of God please switch back to the gray hoodie!


-Eli Manning certainly performed better than I thought he could or would, but I still wouldn't have had him any higher than 3rd on my MVP ballot. Granted, to lead that final drive against the 18-0 Pats, in a very Brady like fashion, is the stuff of legends, but I just think that there were two guys in particular were really more deserving to be called that game's best player. First up, is my main man from the Cuse, David Tyree. Sure, he dropped a few balls, but he made one of the greatest grabs ever, and had a TD in a game where his team only had 2. Second would have been basically anyone on the Giants defensive line. Personally, I'd have to go with Justin Tuck cuz he was just all over Brady all the time, but it was basically all of them. They were in charge of getting to Brady and throwing him off his game. That was the only way the Giants were gonna win, and without that pressure, Eli Manning and the offense would have been playing catch-up as Randy Moss and Wes Welker went waltzing into the endzone. Eli got the job done, there is no doubt, I just don't think he deserves to be the MVP. He will go down in history though...


-Because this game is one they are gonna talk about for the rest of all our lives. For Patriots fans, it's gonna be a new experience. We were once the underdogs, that rose from the ashes to become a gritty, gutty dynasty. Now, we're the hunted ones, the ones with the classless coach, and the cocky, movie star lookin' QB. We cheat, we dance on your logo, we take cheap shots after the whistle, we do roids, we run up the score and we never talk any junk until the game is over. When you're winning, it's easy to ignore a lot of that stuff, or try to justify it. Now that we've been victimized in one of the biggest upset's in the sports history, peeps are gonna wanna hit us when we're down. Personally, I say bring that shit on. What, I can't take it? Maybe that's what makes some of this so easy. I got my 2 Red Sox World Series titles and the Pats 3 recent Super Bowls to fall back on. Not saying that makes it any better to have lost, but I just think it makes the pain a little easier to handle. After the 2004 ALCS, I was ready to open up my veins, where as this, in reality, just as bad, yet not nearly as painful. It might sound a little far fetched, with the 19-0 on the line and everything, but it's honestly how I feel.


We may not have finished off perfection, or even walked away with the Lombardi Trophy, but that doesn't mean we're rollin over. Congrats to the G-Men, but let the rest of the league be warned. If you thought this team was determined before, then just you wait to see what they unleash next year. After losing in the AFC Title game a year ago, they went 18-1. So if you think a loss in the Super Bowl is going to do anything less than motivate this group even further, then I think you are sorely mistaken....


-Oh, and a huge plus to having to work the broadcast of the game is to be right near the computer right after the game. Right as ESPN.com was in the midst of setting up their front page to represent the Giants historic upset, there was a headline on the right side of the page that read "SPYGATE: WARNER DEMANDS PROBE". One minute later it was "WARNER WANTS PROBE". Two minutes later it was "WARNER WANTS ANSWERS". Now, if I had any doubts that the people at ESPN.com thought that the first headline was as hysterical as I did, then they were quickly washed away when they changed if so quickly. Ahhh, man. In the wake of that crushing defeat, that headline actually made me laugh. So thank you, ESPN.com. And thank you, Kurt Warner, for being such a sketchball, that the thought of you demanding to have something inserted in your anus made me laugh in a time when I felt so much pain.


And that's pretty much all I got for this week. Like I said, it might take me some time to actually wrap my brain around what actually went down this weekend, but for right now, this has been my immediate reaction. It kills me to say that the Giants were the better team, but it's not nearly as powerful as the feeling I have of knowing that I now live in a world where Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, LOSE Super Bowls. I believe it, because I saw it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it...


Make sure to check back on Friday for even more reaction from Super Bowl 42, as well as all the other classic shit you're used to scopin' out...peace!...

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