New England Patriots: Most points scored in NFL history. Largest margin of victory in NFL history. Only second team to have undefeated regular season in Super Bowl era. Tom Brady -- 50 TD passes, number 1 all time. Randy Moss -- 23 TDs, number 1 all time.
Super Bowl XLII Champions: New York Giants.
Yes, everyone -- all you front-running New England fans, arrogant Bill Simmons (42-17, Pats, eh, Bill?), and fat-ass, pontificating Chris Berman and all the rest of the jackholes on ESPN who picked blowouts for the Pats -- that's right, the Giants beat the New England Patriots tonight. And I admit, I still cannot believe it. I watched every second and I, like many, knew that they had a shot if they kept it close throughout the game. I said to our guests at our home tonight, "I just hope they're not down 21-3 after a quarter." And there they were, holding the Pats to their lowest point total of the season. The mighty, mighty Patriots.
Who do you give credit to? You give it to the entire New York Giants team. It took what it had to take tonight -- a complete team effort. I said before the game that the Giants needed to be perfect and the Pats needed to have an off game. I think I was wrong. The Giants were not perfect. They made some mistakes. A botched snap. A critical pass interference penalty by Antonio Pierce in the second quarter. A terrible interception in the red zone where rookie Steve Smith juggled a ball into the Pats hands.
But the Pats were beatable tonight. And why? Credit the Giants defense for being beyond stout throughout this game. They came in knowing they had to play the game of their lives. They knew they were one blown coverage away from beating the Pats in late December. So let's be perfect this time, they must have said. And they damn near were. Aside from Pierce's pass interference penalty, I can't think of another mistake -- even a slightly missed assignment -- that the defense made all night. And that's amazing. They sacked Tom Brady five times. FIVE. He was sacked only once in their Dec 29 game and only something like 12 or 13 times all season. Nobody gets to Handsome Tom.
Do you know when I began to believe this game was not going to be just like every other Pats playoff game? Late in the first half, when the Giants forced a fumble to halt the Patriots drive, the fumble was caused by a sack of Terrific Tom Brady. And after the play, it was clear how hard Brady had been hit and even one of his linemen was getting up slowly and limping off the field. And I thought to myself, this is about when Rocky begins turning the tide. He uppercuts the champ hard and makes him bleed. And the champ isn't necessarily losing yet, but they're stunned and not looking like themselves. And the door is open a crack and the challenger has to push their way through. And they did.
Hey, how about Plaxico saying the Giants were going to win, 23-17, earlier in the week? Tom Brady then laughed -- laughed -- when told that and said, "Oh, is Plax playing defense?" He thought the idea of the Pats only scoring 17 points was a silly concept. Hmmm, what do you think of 14, Tom?
Some more thoughts on the classy Patriots.... how about that last one second of play? Belichick is clearly told at midfield by the officials that the game is not over and that the Giants have the ball with one second left on the clock. But Bill Belichick isn't interested in the Giants having the ball -- now that his team has lost the game, he's outta there! Belichick, Brady and many other Patriots were already up the tunnel and weren't out there for the final play of the game. And do you know who I do respect on the Pats? Teddy Buschi, for one, who was out there for the final play and who was signaling for his defensive teammates to come out there and line up for the Giants last snap. And whomever else on the Pats D that was out there at the end -- I'm impressed by those guys and genuinely appreciate their sportsmanlike nature of letting the Giants have that feeling of the final kneeldown. Please see Boilerdowd's suggestion down below about sending a videotape to the Classy Bill Belichick.
Unexpected heros: Well, as I said, this was a total team effort but David Tyree and Justin Tuck stand out for me. Sure, Strahan and Osi are the mack daddies on this defense, but Justin Tuck nailed Brady a couple of times and was a huge difference-maker. As for Tyree, he caught the TD that the Giants scored to go up 10-7 and then he also caught the desperation heave from Manning on the last drive... it was third and long and Manning escaped pressure from multiple Patriots D-linemen and chucked it downfield, and it was David Tyree who managed to haul it in. And that, coupled with Kevin Boss' 45-yard catch earlier in the quarter, might be the biggest catches in the Giants season. I'm not sure there were many bigger ones in their history. Perhaps Mark Ingrams long catch and run on third down against the Bills in Super Bowl XXV, for those that remember. That's where those two catches by Boss and Tyree rank.
How pleased must Goodell have been to be presenting that trophy to the Giants and not the Pats? Who wants to present a trophy to a bunch of cheaters, anyway?
Where do the Pats go from here? How bad does it hurt to go 18-0 and then lose? How hard will it be for Belichick to get these guys to buy in to his system next year? Those guys can say they buy in, but won't they be thinking, "hey, this didn't work last year"? The Pats will now be remembered as the 16-0 team that couldn't win it all. And they will live in infamy, no matter what happens in their future. They're now just like the 2004 Yankees that blew a 3-0 lead in the ALCS. A great team with a huge advantage who.... blew it. Deal with it, Boston.
My last thought for the evening... on an evening of many dissheveled thoughts.... but let's all shut the hell up about Eli Manning. He's the man. This kid is all of 26 years old and he's been in the playoffs every year he's been a full-time starter. Do you realize this? And now he's a Super Bowl champion. And a Super Bowl MVP. It's done, he's the man. He's lived up to his potential. I don't want to hear any more about comparing him to Phillip Rivers or his brother or anyone else. He won the Super Bowl. This wasn't like Big Ben's Steelers winning despite Ben's awful play. Manning was terrific, especially in the fourth quarter, and was deserving of the MVP. He was clutch, he was a champion and there's nothing else to say. Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Eli Manning. Those are the Giants QBs who have won Super Bowls.
I've been a Giants fan my whole life. And not even I expected this for the 2007 season, especially after an 0-2 start and the team looking like crap. But then it all began to truly come together. The Giants went on a 11-game winning streak away from Giants Stadium. They blossomed. We watched Eli grow up before our eyes... like, truly, we saw him go from the kid nobody could ever count on all the way up the spectrum to a Super Bowl MVP, clutch, champion.
And hey, Tiki, how do you like Eli's leadership now?