It could literally take years for us to fully understand the magnitude of the New York Giants win over the New England Patriots. So, to try and write about it a few hours after the final snap is like trying to pen a quick synopsis of War and Peace. For me, and for many of us Colts fans, it's an odd, mixed bag. Other than our own team winning it all last year, I can honestly say that the feeling I have right now is almost as comparable. Almost. It also helps that (on the SB Nation podcast, episode 3) I said the Giants would win this game, and that it would be close.
Yes, I admit it. I am a genius.
Perspective is hard for me right now. I've been disgusted with how the Patriots have played and conducted themselves all year. From Bill Belichick's and Rodney Harrison's cheating to their offense running up scores to their club trademarking "19-0" before a snap in Super Bowl 42 was made, this team deserved the nasty, bitter defeat it got tonight.
18 and no. 18 and uh-oh. 18 and choke. Whatever.
Like the Bears last year and the Seahawks before them, the Pats are now the second best team in football. Winning 18 straight games means absolutely nothing in terms of history unless you win the Super Bowl. They didn't. The 2007 is a disappoint for them. Couldn't have happened to a nicer club.
It would be easy for us to laugh and call Belichick and Brady chokers, because of all the playoff games Peyton and the Colts have lost, they never "choked" away a Super Bowl like this. The Patriots offense was wretched, in particular their running game. Their defense folded big time (again) in the fourth quarter of the biggest game of their season. As I have said from day one: The weakness of this Patriots team is their defense, and without a dominant defense, you cannot win a Super Bowl.
Obviously, Eli Manning was the MVP, putting together two fourth quarter TD drives, the last with two minutes left and scoring with 35 seconds left on a TD pass to Plaxico Burress. The key play on that final TD drive was the Hoodini act Eli made, avoiding numerous pass rushers and throwing the ball downfield to David Tyree, who caught it for a first down.
Ironically, Tyree caught the ball right in front of Rodney Harrison, the HGH doper who is also known as the dirtiest player in football.
There are so many ways to rub this in Patriots fans faces it isn't even funny. Other than the Yankees blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Red Sox, this game was the biggest choke job in sports history. Say what you want about "any given Sunday," but when you are a 14 point favorite and your team is 18-0, you better go out and play inspired football in the Super Bowl and win the damn game. The Pats didn't.
You can rest assured, if the Colts had lost this kind of game, ESPN, Patriot Nation, and just about every other idiot in creation would call it a "choke job." And if that label would apply to the Colts in that situation, it applies to the Pats.
Choke job. Big time.
Does this tarnish Tom Brady's legacy? No, of course not. Brady is human. Shocking, I know. Patriots fans built up a stupid aura about the guy, but the fact is Brady was not good in this year's playoffs. In fact, the Pats offense really sputtered from December through now. Regardless, Brady is still one of the best ever to play the position of QB. Best is he the best? No. Does it tarnish Bill Belichick's legacy? No, but if the new allegations of his cheating are true and do go further back than 2007, that will certainly destroy his legacy and tarnish the reputation of both the Patriots and the NFL.
But all that aside, the night, and the league, belongs to the New York Football Giants. It's nice to see a team win and celebrate with some class, shaking hands with the opponent, and waiting for the final gun before exiting the field. It's nice to see, despite a horrid season of scandal and tragedy, that the good guys won the day. It's nice to see a great player like Michael Strahan win one before he retires. It's nice to see the Giants defense FINALLY get the respect they deserve.
It's nice to see Eli Manning keep the Super Bowl, and the Super Bowl MVP, in the family.
So much for AFC dominance, huh? And how about that NFL parity? Despite all the crap that has happened this year, parity is what makes the NFL the best league in America. Flawed as it is, the NFL still finds a way to amaze. And flawed as they were, the NY Giants are now the best team in football.
Does this improbable win save the 2007 season? No. This season will long be remembered for scandal (Patriots), ugliness (Michael Vick), poor sportsmanship (Patriots again), and senseless tragedy (Sean Taylor). But, for one night, the ugliness was wiped away and we got to see what the NFL really is in its truest, purist form: A league of parity.
A league where anybody can beat anybody any given Sunday.