18 Wins….So What?

Let’s hear it for the underdogs!…What? You can’t find it in yourself to temporarily embrace an enemy in their moment of victory? You know, being a Chargers fan, I would probably feel the same way, if someone was trying to tell me to give the Raiders a hug. But this was more than just a game, and more than just a Superbowl. It resembled the biblical tale of David versus Goliath. It was the hard hat wearing man versus the greater powers in society. It was the bad news bears, little giants, mighty ducks, etc. It was the 12 point underdog in a championship game. Strip them of their enemy blues, and what do you have left? You have the most unlikely of champions and a feel good story.
The season ends, as if scripted by Hollywood. It ends with the identifiable message about life’s great obstacles, and how the underdog, with determination and set goals can overcome any and everything. Is there someone that cannot embrace that concept? We all can. I believe the majority of viewers tuned in not to see history made by an undefeated Patriots team, but to see the Giants, the Buster Douglas of the NFL, deliver a knock out punch that would shock the world.
And of course, let’s not forget the old saying, “cheaters never prosper”. Spygate has been one of the great storylines of the 2007 NFL season, and most believed the Patriots received a slap on the wrist, and were indeed prospering. A $500,000 fine for Billicheck and a loss of a draft pick was hardly punishing in most eyes, but the pain of losing the biggest game in franchise history and entering the record books in the wrong category is pretty damn severe.
18 wins? So what? Sound familiar? It’s equal to what echoed throughout Major League Baseball, when the Seattle Mariners finished their record 116 win season, just to be followed up by a “so what” in the postseason. That’s the lone achievement I remember from that Mariners season, and will probably be a lasting memory of the 2007 Patriots, and a topic of future discussions, when any team is in pursuit of perfection. After all, it’s not how many you win in the regular season, it’s all about going undefeated in the postseason. The Giants only needed 14 wins to get a parade.

So, What Happened?

The AFC playoff scouting report obviously stressed 2 things, take away Randy Moss, and pressure Tom Brady. Jacksonville couldn’t do it consistently for 60 minutes, and San Diego rode the report to pick off Brady 4 times, but couldn’t convert 6’s in the red zone.
Enter the New York Giants, a team that pressured NFL quarterbacks better than anyone, and followed the same report. 53 sacks on the season is no fluke, and the underdogs came out of the box woofing, nipping, and biting. The top scoring team in the NFL managed to find the end zone just twice. The greatest offense in the history of the NFL? Let that one fly out the same window as “perfection” and “greatest team ever”.
I’ve said so often that the key to New England’s success has been their overshadowed defensive unit, and they nearly secured the victory. While many were predicting high scoring affairs, both defenses gave a tremendous effort. Just as the Giants took away Moss, the Patriots eliminated Burress. The difference was a New York offensive line that managed to hold up, and a Patriots O-line that continually collapsed. The final drive of dinks and dunks was all that was needed to give the Lombardi trophy to New York, because the defensive pressure left them in striking distance.

First To The Finish Line

Besides for becoming the crowned champs of the NFL, the Giants also solidified their trade with San Diego to get Eli Manning. Though Philip Rivers gave a courageous performance against the Pats in the AFC Championship game, he was left on the Superbowl doorstep. Eli Manning had near perfection in his title run, and though there was nothing spectacular in the final drive, he got the job done. In fact, to show how perfect little Manning was, he threw just a single postseason interception, and it wasn’t his fault. The pass to Steve Smith should have been caught, but it was tipped in the air and intercepted instead.
What the fu$#? Did I just say that about Eli friggin Manning? No Worries. I’ll go back to bashing in August. It’s one of my NFL enjoyments.

Third Time Is a Charm

Speaking of Steve Smith, the NFL rookie has won his third team championship in the past 5 years. He won 2 national championships with Pete Carroll at USC, catching passes from Matt Leinart, and now he adds a Superbowl ring. Counting the loss to Texas in the Rose Bowl, Smith has appeared on 4 rosters with championship implications on the line.
As a Trojan homer, I have joy for Smith, but my heart is also filled with sorrow for Junior Seau. His career was filled with great accomplishments, but his fingers still lack a championship ring.

My Game MVP

This one is a no brainer, and it isn’t even someone that actually participated on the field. Giants’ defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, was the key to victory. Not only was he a key to the Superbowl win, but it was his scheming and game planning that got the Gmen through the entire playoffs. The defense played to near perfection, but it all starts with scouting, game film, and strategy.
I’ll also be man enough to take back every bad thing I’ve said about Coughlin. If my memory serves me right, I recall saying something along the line of “idiots”, when New York extended his contract. Now he’s a Superbowl champion coach. What the hell do I know? Stop listening to me!
Congratulations to the Superbowl Champion New York Giants.
Now let’s get back to work and rebuild our teams. If this dog can do it, why can’t we?
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~ by Anthony on February 4, 2008.

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