I wasn’t real enthused about watching this years Super Bowl, not least because my team, the Green Bay Packers, should have been playing in it and weren’t. After their loss to the charmed New York Football Giants, on the Frozen Tundra no less, I was done with football. I didn’t watch a single minute of the 336 hours of hype leading up to it. Didn’t want to hear about the Giants amazing run of nine straight road wins, or the New England Patriots’ quest for perfection. But being a good, red-blooded American boy, I couldn’t very well not watch the game and so I took my place on the couch with a record 97 million of my football loving friends around the world. And I’m glad I did.
Like probably the majority of non-Eastern seaboard sports fans, I’m pretty darn sick of Boston and New York always being in the spotlight, so all I really wanted was a competitive game. If I have to watch it, they may as well do me that small favor. Fortunately I was not disappointed. The score was only 7-3 New England at half-time, but it had to be the most exciting 7-3 game I’ve ever seen. There were big hits and some big plays and the specter of a Giants upset was becoming much more of a serious possibility. I’m as tired of the ’72 Dolphins’ smack talk as the next football fan, but the Patriots have become the equivalent of a WWF villain in the past couple seasons. Or as Bill Simmons calls them (his favorite team, by the way) the Cobra Kai Yankees. The team everyone loves to hate. Especially this year, with the Spygate scandal, to running up the score on everybody early in the season, to coach Belichick’s bellicose personality, to the pretty-boy QB Tom Brady. It wasn’t their confidence that was infuriating, it was the smugness.
Now, again, not a Giants fan…usually. But Sunday was different. Not only would they keep the Pats from being perfect, but a Giants win would maybe make the Packers look a little better–they would have then lost to the champs–plus their’s was a pretty good story. Its not often a New York based sports team is in the role of underdog, but they certainly were and the rise of Eli Manning during this post season was something special. So on Sunday, I was all in for the G-men. So in in fact, that it might have been a good thing the Pack wasn’t in this game. My heart was pounding as it was, and I don’t even like the Giants. If the game had gone similarly but with Favre and company, I may be writing this post from my local cardiology ICU.
After halftime, and a pretty decent show from Tom Petty, the intensity kicked into high gear. Neither team could get much going in the third quarter, but the fourth proved action packed. Manning lead his team on a dramatic march to score a go-ahead touchdown, but the Patriots finally began to look like themselves as Brady brought them down the field with a barrage of pinpoint passes and before anyone knew it Randy Moss was scoring a touchdown with less than three minutes left. This is what the Patriots do. You hang with them for three quarters and think you’ve got a shot, and then just like that you’re down a score and times almost up. But the Giants didn’t panic. On an improbable drive, that will no doubt become legendary, Eli took his team down the field, showing no fear, even as they faced two third and longs (more than 10 yards) and a do-or-die fourth and one. But one play in particular will be remembered as the key to the victory. It’s one of the best football plays I’ve ever seen. Watch:
I have no idea how Eli didn’t get dragged to the ground when three, yes three!, three hundred pound defensive linemen had a hold of his jersey. And the catch! David Tyree pins the ball to his helmet! Just awesome. That is why I watch sports. Of course the Giants went on to score with only about thirty seconds remaining and held on to win the game. In the confusion at the very end, most everyone thought the game was over and poured onto the filed. However, there was actually one second remaining on the clock. Apparently Belichick didn’t feel it necessary to stay on the field to play out the last second of his loss, and he ran off to the locker room. Another classy act, for a real classy guy. Yahoo! football columnist Michael Silver was right when he wrote that Belichick is a terrible winner and an even worse loser. He’s really earned a place amongst the greatest villains of all time, joining the likes of Darth Vader, Henry F. Potter, and Johnny Fairplay.
That’s the great thing about sports. You’ve got heroes and villains, drama and suspense, inspiration and heartbreak, all in the small space of one afternoon.
Of course, you can’t talk about the Super Bowl without mentioning the commercials. There were a few decent ones this year. Here are a few of my faves: a spoof of a famous Godfather scene, a talking baby, and a horse in training.
For an extra little trivia tidbit, the actor in that Audi commercial was actually in The Godfather, in the role of Moe Green. So there you go.