X Thoughts on Super Bowl XLII

Well here we are, three days from the Pro Bowl and forced to spend the next eight months talking about free agent signings and creating tension by pretending that Brett Favre won’t come back next season. So, while it’s on a bit of a delay, here’s my X (ten) thoughts about last weekend’s Super Bowl to serve as a closing of what turned out to be a fairly dramatic season.

I. Let’s get the superlatives out of the way right off the bat. This was the greatest Super Bowl victory I can remember in my life. The earliest Super Bowl I remember watching was Giants-Bills in Super Bowl XXV, when I was six years old. That game, I changed who I was “rooting” for accordingly with each lead change in the game. Turns out by the end of the game, “my” team won. Anyway, since then, I haven’t seen another Super Bowl as exciting as this one, including the two in which my beloved team competed. Rams-Titans comes close, with Kevin Dyson tackled at the one on the last play of the game, but nothing tops 1) David Tyree’s incredible gravity-defying helmet-catch, 2) Eli Manning as MVP, or 3) 18-1.

II. As long as we’re on the topic of superlatives, in my opinion Bill Belichick is now the biggest sore loser in the history of sports (a title previously held by Brett Clark, the barrel-chested sixth grader who drop-kicked a basketball about 200 yards into the parking lot after I had three clean steals against him in middle school P.E.). I don’t care who you are, what your record is, or even if you were pretty sure the clock had expired, as a coach you do not abandon your team on the field before the game is over, even if you’re just one Eli Manning patella away from defeat. Yes, if put in his position, we’d all be disappointed to lose the perfect season, especially to a team you were favored to beat by two touchdowns, but football genius or not, that’s no excuse for being a plain old bad sport.

III. Eli Manning is the shit. With 2:42 left in the 4th quarter, and his team down by 4, I said, out loud, “Eli, here’s where you make or break your career.” He did it, and with style. Eli Manning could never complete another pass in his career, and he’d still be the quarterback who beat the perfect Patriots.

IV. Steve Smith (the #12 version) is not the shit. At least not yet. While he is young, and has a lot of time left to prove himself (which I think he eventually will) the only flaw on Eli’s passing stats for the entirety of the playoffs was a catch that went straight through the inexperienced hands of Steve Smith and into the waiting arms of Ellis Hobbs. From that point on, Steve Smith became a drinking game. Anytime he touched (or should have touched) the ball, my jolly friends and I heartily sipped our respective libations to the rousing and communal yells of “SMITH!!!” At least he was good for something.

V. If the MVP award could be split multiple ways, it should’ve been given to the entire Giants defensive front seven. Anybody who can make the Pats’ oft-heralded offensive line look like tissue paper deserves a heck of a lot of credit.

VI. From this point on, any Super Bowl watched without the aide of TiVo or some other DVR device is completely subpar. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but in a year where 98% of the commercials sucked outright, (anyone remember when Super Bowl commercials were more like this?) I’d much rather rewind and watch incredible plays four times in a row, pause the game for a fajita break, and then use that built up time from all the pausing and rewinding to fast-forward through the twelfth consecutive commercial for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

VII. My favorite postgame quote is as follows:

“As Mike Tyson would say, ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’ ”

That quote courtesy of Michael Strahan, describing how the Giants disrupted the Pats’ game plan. A perfect description of how the Giants pressured Tom Brady all night long, sacking him five times and forcing one fumble. During the regular season, it took until week 6 for the Patriots to give up 5 sacks. During the Super Bowl, it took just under an hour. Punched in the face is right.

VIII. Perhaps the greatest non-football clip from Super Bowl XLII was about 10 seconds long, shortly after the Giants locked up the victory. The Fox cameras panned to everyone’s favorite big brother up on his feet in his private box, clapping and cheering for li’l ol’ Eli. Not only was this a heartwarming scene in itself: the more experienced, more famous, more loved and more heralded brother cheering on his smaller, less famous, mouth-breathing little brother, but it proved hysterical, as is typical of every non-football related clip of Peyton Manning on television. It seems as though some young brunette lady, possibly Peyton’s wife, Eli’s fiancé, or some other female friend of the family, was excited about the victory as well, and wanted to share in the moment with Peyton. She went in for the high five not once, but twice, only to be ignored/rejected both times by Peyton, who visibly could’ve cared less about this gal who was forced to slyly attempt to withdraw both of her rejected high fives on the most watched national television program in America. It’s much funnier than can be described in words, so much so that we rewound and watched it on the DVR probably six-to-eight times.

IX. In some respects, the Patriots ultimately benefited from losing this game. Just hear me out on this one… the Patriots, in losing this game, escaped an eternity of “asterisk conversations” that would have tarnished their “perfect” season. Had the Patriots won, every sports fan in the nation would have pointed to Spygate as the big, smudgy fingerprint on their Lombardi trophy, and everyone who didn’t live in Boston would claim that the Pats weren’t really perfect at all, because they were nothing more than big, fat, juicy cheaters. Thankfully, they don’t have to worry about that anymore, because now the Patriots have two things tarnishing their perfect season.

X. There simply is no comparison to watching football with people who both care about and know about the sport. I love my current roommates, but each of them will tell you they are not passionate NFL-enthusiasts, at least not in the same vein as I, and thus I spent a lot of time watching football by myself this past season. Thankfully, the friendly folks who opened their homes and hearts to me this weekend were as nutty about it as I was, and that was one of many reasons this will likely be the most memorable Super Bowl of my 23 years.

So finally, as someone I know would say, “this one’s for my homies.” To the nine people I was privileged enough to spend this past weekend with: I couldn’t have asked for a better time. When I desperately needed a break from real life and a less-than-exciting job, you all delivered in the best way possible. To tell you the truth, when I think back on Super Bowl XLII, I first will think of you, not the game, which is a bigger compliment than it sounds coming from “Mr. Football” (thanks, Joy). Anyway, I appreciate all of you more than you know, and just want to say thanks from the bottom of my heart for an incredible and memorable experience. Let’s do it again real soon. Anybody got dibs on next year?


2 Responses to “X Thoughts on Super Bowl XLII”

  1. February 8, 2008 at 3:08 am

    If the wife and I have a condo or townhouse by then, we’re it.

    ‘Course I’ll have to check with her first. Little BeauAndy will be crawling by then, so we gotta be careful about leaving beer out on the floor.

  2. 2 Beau
    February 8, 2008 at 4:11 am

    “He’s just a little guy”

    Yes, it was beyond amazing. Even if the punter has no control over where he kicks the ball…poor guy, it’s not their fault, they didn’t do it on purpose.

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