Super Bowl 42
Well, I knew it all along (scroll down to the Patriots recap). Yes, forget what I have said every other week about this Patriots team; I knew the whole time that the Giants were just the team to stop this vaunted attack.
No, seriously……I did bet the Giants to cover the spread, but had no thought of them winning yesterday. For a few minutes after the Giants scored and eventually won the title, I just kept saying “Unbelievable”, over and over again. After thinking about it, its truly the biggest upset I have ever witnessed. I wasn’t around for Super Bowl III; I was three when the U.S. defeated the U.S.S.R. in hockey in 1980. The only thing that I could compare this game to was the 2004 ALCS, when the Red Sox came back from 3-0 down to win 4 straight games and beat the seemingly unbeatable Yankees. But that wasn’t an upset as much as it was an amazing comeback.
As shocked as I was, and as genuinely dismayed that Mercury Morris will get more air time because of the Patriots’ loss, I was just as happy for Eli Manning. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I don’t think any player in sports today has had as much pressure as Eli. He plays quarterback for the number one team in the number one market in the country’s number one sport. His father was a star. His older brother is a star. He was the first pick in the NFL draft. For the first four years of his career, he got absolutely creamed for his erratic play. As a Rex Grossman backer here in Chicago, I felt a kinship to Eli for many of the same reasons–he was fairly criticized by some, but by most–there was a lot of unfair criticisms. But all of that is quiet now. Now, Eli can be just another Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
In today’s column, ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote about the Patriots abandoned their usual attacking style of play, especially on offense, and he didn’t udnerstand why. I think its pretty clear why. The Giants’ defensive line had arguably the best game of any defensive front 4 in modern Super Bowl history. Tom Brady hadn’t been rushed like that all season, and with no time in the pocket and no established running game, he and the Pats offense had no chance to do their usual thing.
I was surprised that Bill Belichek didn’t kick the field goal while up 7-3 in the third quarter. The Pats were facing a 4th-and-13 on the Giants 31. New England’s kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, didn’t kick anything longer than a 45-yarder in 2007, but last year he hit a 52-yarder and is a career 5-of-9 from 40-49 yards. That’s better than 50 percent. I have to think those are much better odds than those that the Patriots would convert a 4th-and-13, especially with how the Giants defense was playing. But its hard to argue with Belichek’s coaching strategy and decisions–he’s one of the best of all-time.
All in all, it was a great game. It was definitely the biggest upset in my sports-watching career. (Yes, me watching sports is a career). But if you love me, blog readers, do me one solid…….
If you see or hear Mercury Morris speaking on TV or the radio, immediately change the channel. Maybe if we ignore him enough, he’ll die a slow and lonely death.