They did it. They did it again. Deja three! First Superbowl 42, then this year's regular season game in Foxboro, then tonight! Big Blue 3, Patriots 0. Eli 3, Brady 0. Coughlin 3, Evil Little Bill 0.
Hot damn. Excuse my enthusiasm. I'd be doing a salsa dance right now, but I did one earlier and I think I threw my hip out. (No, don't send get well cards, just kidding).
I do swear, though, the similarities between this one and Superbowl 42 were pretty damn eerie. Same teams. Even the same uniforms (Pats in blue, Jints in white). Close game. G-Men down late in the fourth quarter, and Eli leads a desperate, heroic drive. Instead of Tyree's miracle catch, Manningham's miracle catch. Instead of Burress, Bradshaw takes it in for the go-ahead touchdown (though this time, the Pats and Evil Little Bill let the Giants score). But there's still time on the clock for Tom Brady to answer. In 42, the Gmen shut him down in four plays... though on one of them, the third down pass, the ball was just inches beyond Randy Moss's outstretched fingers. In 46, it looked almost like a replay... but Brady makes the 4th down connection on 4th and 16, and it comes down to a Hail Mary... and the deflected pass is just inches beyond the grasp of a diving Gronk. Whew. And YAY! That sonic boom you heard was my house in Santa Fe exploding with excitement.
Football truly is a game of inches. The Giants did get several lucky bounces this time. They fumbled twice and recovered both times. A third fumble, potentially disasterous, was undone when the Pats had twelve men on the field. And SB 42 turned on Asante Samuel letting a game-ending INT slip through his hands. Well, SB 46 turned on Wes Welker letting a game-ending reception bounce off his.
Even so, the Giants deserved the win. Eli outplayed Brady. The Giants receivers outplayed the Pats receivers. Both defenses played well, but the Giants D were toughest in the clutch, when the game on the line, and the Pats D wilted in the fourth quarter.
And Coughlin outcoached Evil Little Bill. I have to say it... I understand why the Pats parted like the Red Sea to let Bradshaw score on that last Giants TD, but I think it was a bad call by Belichick. It was second and goal, sure. If the Pats stuff Bradshaw, then it's third and goal. The G-Men probably try another run. Maybe they punch it in, maybe not. Maybe Kevin Glibride tries to outsmart the defense and calls a pass. In either scenario, lots of stuff can happen. Bradshaw might fumble. He'd already fumbled once. A pass might be deflected or intercepted. If the Patriots can hold the Giants for ONE MORE PLAY, they force a field goal attempt. A chip shot, sure. But kickers have been known to miss chip shots, especially when a world championship is on the line. Which Evil Little Bill should know, seeing as how the Pats are only in this SuperBowl because THE RAVENS KICKER MISSED A CHIP SHOT TWO WEEKS AGO. Belichick could have put this game on his D and Lawrence Tynes. Instead he chose to put it on Tom Brady and the Giants D. Which is how SB 42 ended too. And we know how that one worked out.
Bad call, Evil Little Bill. Bad bad call.
I do feel sorry for Wes Welker, a great and gutsy player who made a mistake that will likely haunt him for the rest of his career, and go down in SuperBowl history beside the Jackie Smith drop, Earl Morrell missing Jimmy Orr wide open in the endzone, and Scott Norwood's wide right. Welker may play for the despised Pats, but he reminds me of Wayne Chrebet, one of my favorite all-time Jets. I hope the Pats fans won't buckner him.
I also felt sorry for Robert Kraft. I do wish the TV cameras had not turned on him so mercilessly (and so long) after Brady's last hail mary fell incomplete. He looked so heartbroken. I admit, I love seeing Jerry Jones make his Pissy Face every time the Giants beat the Cowboys, but I can't hate Kraft the way I do JJ. TV can be cruel at times.
Mostly though, I feel good for all the Giants... Cruz and Nicks played great games, Mario Manningham came through when it mattered most, Chase Blackburn (out of football at mid-season) had a key interception, Tuck and JPP were amazing...
And the Giants are once again world champions!
What a game. What a season. What a year.
Bring on the parade.