Sunday, February 3, 2008

A super treat on Super Bowl Sunday

Never before in my lifetime (or at least as far back as I can remember sports) has a single game been more one least supposedly. The New England Patriots went undefeated in the regular season and often were blowing out teams by over 30 points. They scored somewhere around 589 points this NFL record. Their QB, Tom Brady, threw more touchdown passes this season than anyone QB has ever before (50). This, in part, was helped by acquiring one of the greatest WRs ever in the off-season, Randy Moss. How much did he help? I'd say quite a lot...seeing as Moss set a record for most receiving touchdowns in a season (23). There were other offensive records that were set, and some games weren't blowouts (and were almost lost) but their season was magical.
I also despise the Patriots. I think several of their players play dirty and are too arrogant. Their coach is so smug and arrogant....I can't stand him either. So imagine my surprise when the Super Bowl rolls around, (and no surprise here...the Pats are in the Super Bowl) and I'm rooting for the Patriots to blow out the New York Giants. Seriously. What's wrong with me? Well...I'm greedy. I wanted the Patriots to blow out the Giants (and their QB Eli Manning (yep...Peyton's little brother)) so that I wouldn't have to hear about Eli being the next big thing in football for the next 800 years.

Shame on me.

So the Super Bowl was supposed to be one final step for the Patriots to complete an undefeated season, but it turned out to be an amazing game. I didn't like one of the teams, and didn't want the other to win because I didn't want all the media hype Eli was going to attract by winning...and yet it was an extremely entertaining game. So after watching the game, and watching the Giants play phenomenally well, I realized that I shouldn't have been rooting for the Patriots...because they represent all that is bad in football....maybe not everything that is bad (bc not everyone on the team is bad)...but for the most part they're no good. The Giants on the other hand were the Cinderella story of this postseason...a wild card team who (during the regular season) looked great at times, and terrible at others...but still managed to win 10 straight road games, including the playoffs (an NFL record).

So my point in all this is that the Patriots were supposed to win. They already beat the Giants this season (in the last game of the year) and no one really gave the G-men a chance...including me. Well when do things ever go the way they're "supposed" to? Rarely.

The Giants came out and played tremendous football. The took the opening drive down and scored, only a field goal, but mentally that had to be huge for them to score on their first possession. The defense played out of their minds all game, even though they gave up a touchdown on the Patriots first possession. Every analyst and sports pundit out there said the key to this game was the Giants front seven getting pressure on Tom Brady (and based on their performance in week 17 against the Pats....this did not look possible). Oh wow how things can change in such a short time. Never at any points this season did I see Tom Brady get pressured, hit and sacked so many times. I don't know what the final numbers but they were in his face the whole game and it was AWESOME! As the game was going on, I felt myself rooting more and more for the Giants, even though I initially (and quite publicly) made it clear I wanted them to get blown out....but they were playing so well (and keeping the record setting Pats offense in check) that it was hard not to.

If you watched the game, you know how amazing it was...whether you were a Giants fan, a Pats fan, or neither but watched the game bc its the Super Bowl. Well my friends and I who were watching the game at my place all fell into that last category. Most of us are Seahawks fans, with a few Broncos fans. I say this bc I have never seen so many neutral/non-fans of the teams in the Super Bowl get behind one of the teams so fully. Every time the Giants did well, the whole room was cheering, and every time the Pats did something well, the room got upset. It was quite a spectacle. I never got into this though, bc I was still selfishly hoping for a blow out.
The best moment (and even I was in awe) was on the Giants final drive. There was less than a minute left and the Giants needed to score a touchdown to pull ahead bc they were down by four points. I believe it was third down, but I'm not sure...Eli dropped back for a pass and was under heavy pressure quickly. Several Patriots were all up on him and a few even had a hand on him. Somehow Eli ducked and spun away from the pressure. Unreal. He should've been dropped for a sack (and that would've severely ruined their chances to get in the endzone). Ok so he avoids the sack somehow and I'm thinking he's just going to throw the ball away or run for a few yards and that would be that. Nope. Eli collects himself...looks down field and throws a bullet to a WR about 25-30 yards down field who's been covered quite well.
Somehow the WR out jumps the defender and catches the ball at the apex of his jump. As he's coming down the defender manages to dislodge the ball but even more impressive...the WR is able to secure the ball (with only one hand!) to his helmet, then as he's falling hold onto the ball with both hands. It was an amazing play by both Eli and the WR. As Eli managed to escape, the room was freaking out but when the WR actually caught the pass...OMG! It was almost as if everyone in the room (except for me still bc now I was in awe of everyone else...and this play!) jumped out of their seat at the same time and cheered loudly. It was a lot of fun to watch.

By the end of the game I had changed my tune. I was extremely happy the Giants won, and they deserved it after the game they played. Even though a Patriots victory would've ultimately been better for the sports that its what everyone thought would happen and a blow out would've made their undefeated season forgettable (yes I think it would have...bc its what everyone expected, so after a month of "OMG THEY WENT UNDEFEATED" it would've died out and that would've been that) instead of Eli's face being everywhere and being touted as the next big, tough under pressure QB. Oh well. He deserves all the attention he gets from here on out. After an up and down season, he turned that "imaginary" corner and has shown a very high level of poise and good decision making. I wasn't ready to accept this new Eli quite yet...tho winning three playoff games on the road is impressive...he didn't play all that well...he just didn't make mistakes. Well in the Super Bowl he finally did throw a pick (first one all post season) but he played phenomenally. Even with the mistake, he still showed poise, made good decisions under pressure, and that final drive down the field for the winning touchdown was the stuff of greatness.

So congrats to the Giants on a well earned victory. I'm not sure if this new Eli is here to stay, or if he's ever going to be on the same level as his big brother, but he took a huge step forward in this game, and I'm now excited to watch him mature even more and hopefully continue his great play...bc its always fun to see hyped players find their niche and perform at a high level...I only hope that he doesn't beat my Hawks in the process :)

No comments: