All hail the New York Giants!!! Wow … what a terrific Super Bowl performance by the G-men. They did it by putting great pressure on Tom Brady, by moving the ball on offense in disciplined fashion with a good mix of run/pass to keep Brady off the field, and of course they cemented it with probably the most suprising thing of all … an Eli Manning-led, clutch TD drive when they absolutely had to have it. (Awesome catch by Tyree was the play of the game). Although the Giant win is surprising, it is not shocking to this fan since the “underwhelming” Patriots never seem to dominate in big games. I figured this game would be close … and was it ever!
So historically, what does it all mean? Certainly, this Giants win has to be one of the biggest Super Bowl or championship upsets in history. They were 12-14 point ‘dogs, and maybe 10-15% of the football “experts” predicted a NYG win. So, it’s probably not quite the upset that the Namath-led Jets put on the Colts in Super Bowl III. I think the Jets were 16 point ‘dogs and NOBODY predicted an upset … except Broadway Joe himself. Still, this Giants win is one for the ages.
So what does this say about the Patriots? Well, for one, the book isn’t closed on this team, and we should expect NE to contend again for the next season or three. They’re an excellent organization, and as long as Belijerk, Brady and Moss are together, they’ll win a bunch of games and go far in the playoffs. But FOR NOW, I think this is what we can say: In terms of being a “dynasty”, they settle in at #5 for now … behind the ’70s Steelers, ’80s Niners, ’60s Packers and ’90s Cowboys. These Pats have gone to 4 Super Bowls and won 3 … certainly one of the “all-time teams”.
In terms of their single season significance, you can put these 2007 Pats near the top of the list of once-defeated teams who DIDN’T win the chan’ship, but clearly they are behind the ’72 Dolphins and the ’85 Bears … teams that actually won the biggest game of the season. And since they didn’t win it all, we can probably pick 3-5 other champions who had dominant seasons. Ironically, the Giants beat the Pats yesterday the same way I hypothetically envisioned the ’85 Bears would beat them … with an over-powering defensive line giving Brady little time to think, let alone pass. Plus, a steady, balanced offensive attack that would control the ball and the clock. You’ve got to have a really good running game to beat the Pats … the Giants have one and the Bears of 20+ years ago had it too.
Now we come to Tom Brady. He’s 3 for 4 in Super Bowls, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. But for now, he’s still a notch or two below Montana … the all-time clutch QB who never failed to deliver in the BIG GAME. Tom looked fairly ordinary yesterday with all that pressure on him … he coulda been Donovan McNabb if you weren’t looking for the name on the back of the jersey. In the end, Brady simply proved he’s human after all … he didn’t have a great game … something that we’ve come to expect, probably unfairly, time and again. Without question, though, he’s somewhere on the Mt Rushmore of great QBs.
As for the G-men, why shouldn’t they contend for the next couple years? Eli looks like he’s got the right stuff … can they stave off Strahan’s retirement … or adequately replace him? I think all the tools are in place for several solid, if not spectacular, seasons
Well, that’s it for another NFL season … one ended in dramatic and satisfying fashion. Pitchers and catchers report in 2 weeks, college football signing day is Wednesday, and March Madness is right around the corner. Spring is in the air … except for here in Alaska, where the “Frozen tundra” will be just that for a coupla more months. Cheers!