Cheaters Never Win…
…And the Giants made sure of that last night.
Super Bowl Week Predictions
Unlike Plaxico Burress, I don’t publicize my predictions of games. Usually because when it comes to sports, I’m extremely superstitious. But now that it’s over, I can say this, I knew they were going to win. You might not think I’m telling you the truth if you’d been at my house last night watching me watch the 4th quarter, but deep down I knew it all along. From about Monday last week, I knew. When I saw how the Giants were treating the Super Bowl, that it was just another game, that it was a business trip, I just knew. But I wouldn’t dare say that out loud. I certainly don’t know anywhere near as much about the Giants as I do the Colts, but I knew enough to want them to win. I actually got really nervous right before kickoff. I’m not entirely sure if I ate anything yesterday, so it’s possible I lost ten pounds yesterday from the nerves, the not eating, and the jumping up and down between 9 and 10 pm (during which I think I’ve done something to my knee).
I’ve heard a lot of people say the game was boring until the 4th quarter, but I’m not completely sure they were watching the same game I was. There was no point during that game that you could have definitively said one or the other team was winning handily. In fact, until that final Tom Brady pass fell incomplete, the Giants hadn’t officially won. If that guy catches the ball, breaks the tackle, and runs it in for the game winning touchdown or steps out of bounds and gives Gostkowski a chance to send the game to overtime, we could be talking about something totally different at this point, but I’m glad we’re not.
I have to hand it to the Giants defense for getting to and knocking down Tom Brady 23 times (5 of them sacks). The most effective way to get to the Patriots is to get to Tom Brady. If you can ruffle his feathers a bit, he starts concentrating more on what is going wrong than concentrating on finding a way to win the game. I will say that drive that ended with the Randy Moss touchdown was a Tom Brady-type drive. It’s what we expect to see from him, but I think it may have been too little, too late. The Patriots just waited too long to start their come back performance like they have in several other games this season, and this time it cost them. So, the Giants defense let the Patriots have their little 14-10 lead with roughly 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter because the Giants defense knew they had Eli Manning and the Giants offense in their corner. Wait…What? Yeah, I know.
The Drive 2008
|New York Giants at 2:42, (1st play from scrimmage 2:39)||NYG||NWE|
|1st and 10 at NYG 17||(2:39) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short right to A.Toomer to NYG 28 for 11 yards (R.Harrison).|
|1st and 10 at NYG 28||(2:09) (No Huddle, Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short middle to P.Burress.|
|2nd and 10 at NYG 28||(2:04) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short left to P.Burress.|
|3rd and 10 at NYG 28||(1:59) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short left to A.Toomer to NYG 37 for 9 yards (R.Harrison).|
|4th and 1 at NYG 37||(1:34) B.Jacobs up the middle to NYG 39 for 2 yards (V.Wilfork, R.Seymour).|
|1st and 10 at NYG 39||(1:28) (Shotgun) E.Manning scrambles right tackle to NYG 44 for 5 yards (A.Thomas).|
|Timeout #1 by NYG at 01:20.|
|2nd and 5 at NYG 44||(1:20) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete deep right to D.Tyree.|
|3rd and 5 at NYG 44||(1:15) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass deep middle to D.Tyree to NE 24 for 32 yards (R.Harrison).|
|Timeout #2 by NYG at 00:59.|
|1st and 10 at NE 24||(:59) (Shotgun) E.Manning sacked at NE 25 for -1 yards (A.Thomas).|
|Timeout #3 by NYG at 00:51.|
|2nd and 11 at NE 25||(:51) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short left to D.Tyree (B.Meriweather).|
|3rd and 11 at NE 25||(:45) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short right to S.Smith pushed ob at NE 13 for 12 yards (B.Meriweather).|
|1st and 10 at NE 13||(:39) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short left to P.Burress for 13 yards, TOUCHDOWN.||16||14|
|L.Tynes extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Alford, Holder-J.Feagles.||17||14|
This play-by-play doesn’t do it justice by any means. Twice Eli averted a sack in what can only be described as pure athleticism and determination. That 32 yard pass to David Tyree in the middle of field after pulling free from about 6 Patriot defenders was incredible. It was trumped only by the catch that David Tyree made on that same play. Any other time, I guarantee you that ball bounces right off Tyree’s helmet and either falls in complete or into the hands of a defender for an interception. But not last night. Last night, Tyree some how, some way defied the laws of football physics and pulled that ball down. Without that catch and the one on the sideline to Steve Smith, Plaxico never gets a chance at that game-winning touchdown reception. Fabulous, fabulous football playing there guys. With that one drive, Eli and the Giants, at least for now, quietly, professionally, and collectively told the media (New York especially) to Shut the (Bleep) up!
The Brothers Manning
I think the world would be a better place if all siblings loved each other as much as the Manning brothers do. I have never in the last 14 years that Peyton Manning has been on my radar screen seen him as happy as he was last night. That includes after last year’s AFC Championship game and last year’s Super Bowl. NEVER!!! And really, how could you blame him? That was his brother out there. Every time they showed him cheering Eli on and getting so incredibly excited on great plays, it warmed my heart. Although I was a bit concerned about Peyton’s blood pressure during the game.
But the best part came after the game. ESPN interviewed Eli, Peyton, and Archie. Eli said that watching Peyton win last year made him want it even more. Peyton said he was probably more happy last night than he was after his own Super Bowl win. And, Archie just couldn’t believe how blessed he was to be their father. However, if you watched really closely, this is what you saw. Under Peyton’s name on the screen when he was being interviewed, it simply said “Eli Manning’s Brother.” There was no mention of the Colts, that Peyton is a quarterback in his own right, or anything about any of Peyton’s accomplishments…just that he is the brother of the Super Bowl XLII MVP. Likewise, under Archie’s name during his interview, it simply said “Eli and Peyton Manning’s father.” No mention of the years of suffering as the Saints quarterback…just that he is the father of the last two Super Bowl MVPs. And that is as it should be.
This is how I showed my support for Eli and the Giants last night:
I was so impressed to see how Eli handled himself throughout the game. He has not allowed anything to change his “Easy-E” approach or quietness, especially not the New York media. And that demeanor that he has been so criticized for is the same demeanor that helped win them the game. Calm, cool, and collected. Just be yourself and do what you do. There’s no other way.
Thank you to the Giants because parents can still tell their children that cheaters never win and winners never cheat. It was really a treat to see people like Michael Strahan and Jeff Feagles win their first Super Bowl after such long careers. Congratulations to Plaxico who has played with injuries all season and fought to the finish for this one. And Congratulations to Tom Coughlin for coaching one heck of a Giants team to a Super Bowl victory.