I don’t normally talk much about football (and the last few weeks that had been on purpose- I didn’t want to jinx what was transpiring). But after such a great game and an improbable run by The Giants, I think I’m finally ready to discuss it.
– Eli Manning is finally what everyone hoped he would be. He’s not Tom Brady: he doesn’t have the GQ persona, the West Village pad, or the supermodel girlfriend. He is the “anti-star.” He lives in Hoboken, is kind of goofy looking, and celebrates awkwardly. And you know what? I think it’s perfect.
– How far has Eli Manning come? Over Thanksgiving, my Dad and I debated if he was the worst QB in the league. Not whether or not he could get us to a Super Bowl. But rather whether or not he was the worst QB playing in the NFL. To my credit, I defended him on that one. But I’m the same guy who after week 2 thought the Giants would be in line for a top 3 pick and a new coach by year’s end.
– I couldn’t help but think afterwards: that’s all the Pats have? A few days ago they were the greatest team ever. And the greatest offense ever. And that’s all they had to offer? I don’t want to make it sound like it was a matter of the Pats simply not showing up; the Giants defense played a truly incredible game. But I still think we’re throwing around the “greatest ever” mantra a little too quickly. If Eli messes up that final drive, are the Pats really the greatest team ever? I don’t know.
– That said, part of the reason why the “greatest offense ever” looked so pedestrian is because the Giant front 7 put forth one of the greatest stretches by a defense ever. From Gregg Easterbrook on espn.com:.
In successive postseason contests, the Giants’ front seven ate the lunch of the league’s third-best offensive line (Dallas), then the second-best (Green Bay), and finally, in the Super Bowl, the best. What a performance! The Giants’ front seven should, as a group, have been named MVP.
This is a great point: the Giant defense didn’t quite come out of nowhere. They were dominating throughout the playoffs.
– Before the game, many analysts said they couldn’t rule the Giants out because if this game were to be played 10 times, things would probably bounce right for the Giants to win once or maybe twice. After watching this game, would you still say the same thing? The Giants didn’t get all the breaks in this game; they simply won the battle at the line of scrimmage and convincingly at that. As of February 3rd, the Giants were simply the better team. I can’t believe I’m saying that. But it’s true.
– After the game Brady said (paraphrasing) “losing the Super Bowl doesn’t take anything away from what we accomplished this year.” I’m sorry Tom… but yes it does. I don’t care if you’re 16-0 or 9-7, winning the Super Bowl is why you play the game. You failed to prove yourself as the best team in your sport. Sure, you’ve got your individual records. But I thought the Pats were all about team? Guess not.
– I was still genuinely nervous when the Pats had the ball back with 35 seconds left, all 3 timeouts, needing only a field goal. But they completely panicked. Why not throw underneath to Welker and try to get a couple 20-30 yard gains? The Pats had timeouts. How are they not at least trying to make sure they get a FG attempt, even if it ends up being 60 yards? Simply heaving it at a double covered Moss wasn’t going to get it done. But I honestly think after that last sack, Brady said “that’s it, I’m done hanging in the pocket.” He was just going to lob the ball up. He’d had enough.
– Was Aikman required to talk about how cool and collected Tom Brady is? The guy looked dazed, was missing open receivers, and generally being “un-Brady.”
– How is it the Giants were able to evolve into a team with 5 different viable receivers (Burress, Toomer, Smith, Tyree, and Boss)? All 5 guys had a critical catch. If I told you before the game that one team would have 5 different receivers play a large role, who do you think I’d be talking about?
– A lot is being made of the New York vs Boston storyline and the rivalry has truly reached epic perportions. I prefer to cheer for my own team over rooting against another, but wow, what a hit the Pats “dynasty” took in a 48 hour span. News leaks they may have cheated to win their first Super Bowl, then they get beat in the current one. Next year now looms as crucial for them and how they will be remembered.
– How good will the Giants be next year? Before the playoffs, footballoutsiders.com said the G-Men were the worst team in the playoffs. And statistically over the course of the season they probably were. But the team in January was simply not the same. Steve Smith, David Tyree, Kevin Boss, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Justin Tuck are all significantly better players. And of course you could say Eli is too. With so much youth, it would seem that the Giants have a decent future in front of them if they can continue drafting wisely.