Monday, January 28, 2008

Smiles & Frowns: Super Bowl XLII, The Giants, Pop Culture, and Some Videos & Links

My post-fantasy football season hiatus is over. There is simply too much to talk about right now. I need to get it off my chest. And…go!

The Super Bowl and Some Miscellany
:

First of all, the pundits predict that this Super Bowl will garner the highest ratings ever. As far as Super Bowl match-ups and expectations go, there will always be detractors, whiners and critics—and that’s fine—but what’s not to like this time around? Admittedly I’m biased (totally and completely—I’m a die-hard Giants fan), but how about this for objectivity:

This game offers your classic underdog team, the ultimate road warrior Giants: an NFL-record ten straight road wins for the Giants, with three of those road wins occurring in the post-season. In the first game the Giants exercised the demon of Jeff Garcia (more on that later), who beat them in the post-season twice before, with separate teams (Eagles and Niners).

The Giants path included a victory at number-one seeded division-rival Dallas, in a game that happened to be the first post-season meeting between the Giants and Cowboys, ever (really).

On top of that, the Giants pulled off a road win at Lambeau Field, with the winning kick coming in overtime off the foot of Lawrence Tynes from 47 yards out in sub-zero conditions, following an interception by the beloved Brett Favre on only the second play in overtime, when he had missed two shorter field goals in the game already.





















Check out these fan celebrations:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=oXAKC0_4V_I

http://youtube.com/watch?v=139ZdOrMvD0

Meanwhile, in the moments leading up to the kick, every legitimate Giants fan was thinking, “Oh no!!! This is Feely at Seattle all over again!” (more on that later). Then a very personable Tynes went on Late Night with David Letterman to discuss the kick. Appearances like this usually take place after a championship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSr5F9ut2Vc

Even more comical, Eddie Murphy of all people actually predicted the outcome of the Giants-Packers game almost twenty years earlier. Check that out:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8dXkZbVkeAU

And your Goliath: I don’t need to recite the significance of this game to NFL history and the New England Patriots. The whole “boot” saga and secrecy just compounds it all as New England tries to take another step towards the Niners-Cowboys-Steelers Fist-Full of Super Bowl Rings Club. If the Patriots don’t win this game, despite the enormous accomplishment of becoming the first 16-0 team in the regular season, they will become the ultimate incomplete “yeah…but” team. Speaking of incomplete, this is funny:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/aus/192659778.html

Any conversation about the Patriots regular season feat would include a mention of the Super Bowl loss. True, a real championship team is driven by the desire to succeed rather than the fear of defeat, but, you know.

Adding another level of intrigue, these teams met in the final game of the regular season, when the game meant absolutely nothing (statistically) to the Giants, and everything—statistically, emotionally and historically—to the Patriots. And you know what happened: the Giants took them to the brink, tagging them for 35 points. Three Giants starters were injured in that game, by the way (Center Shaun O’Hara, DB Sam Madison and LB Kawika Mitchell. The first two missed the first game of the post-season). However, the Pats entered the week as two touchdown favorites.

And yes, this is a quasi New York-Boston match-up. Would you have rather heard about Brett Favre for an entire week? Really? How about a Jaguars-Bucs Super Bowl? You have to admit, unless you’re a Cowboys, Packers, Buccaneers, Redskins or Seahawks fan, this is a pretty cool match-up.

On a hysterical and totally unrelated note (And I wanted a British kid before I saw this video):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM

Almost as cool as this kid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fVDGu82FeQ.

In other news, Terrell Owens is Rod Tidwell. Yes, Rod Tidwell from Jerry Maguire, the “Ambassador of Kwan.” Hopefully you have seen the clip of T.O. from the press conference following the loss to the Giants. If not, let me fill you in and provide the link: an emotional Owens wears sunglasses to cover his tears and chokes up when he comes to the defense of “his quarterback”, Tony Romo.

I may not have written it first, but I shouted it excitedly as the conference aired live, “HE’S ROD TIDWELL!!! THE AMBASSADOR OF KWAN!!! T.O is Rod Tidwell!!! Thanks to the guy who posted the video:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=GVVfsSCrb14

Now that leads me to my next point: I think it’s a safe bet that T.O is like the emotional dude in every group of guys. You know, the guy that gets really sappy and emotional every time he gets drunk and won’t stop hugging you and telling you you’re a great friend. Then when he sobers up the next morning he can’t really remember what happened (or so he claims). That video is easily my favorite T.O. moment ever.

An Unabashed Discussion About the Giants:

This is a different Giants team, and it feels amazing. I’m slowly weaning myself from the “Oh my Lord, the Giants are really in the Super Bowl” phase. And what’s really great, this isn’t a “happy to be there” Giants team. No, they aren’t. This is a team reeling with confidence. This team is like your friend that spent the last few years constantly dating this crazy chick, then finally broke up with her and since then has been seen with a string of very attractive girls. He’s on fire, and though you’ve known this friend forever, you still have a hard time believing what he’s accomplishing. There’s no stopping him, and there’s no convincing him that anyone is “out of his league.”

This is a team that believes in its quarterback, Eli Manning. They’ve accepted him for what he is: a sound, mostly emotionless quarterback that looks like a ninth-grader that woke up and wants only five more minutes of sleep. He isn’t “unstoppable” as the people at Citizen’s Watch would have you believe.




And Eli really isn’t a “leader.” Not in any traditional sense or otherwise. Really, he doesn’t even need to be. He just needs his players’ trust, and to be himself. It’s all about trust. Eleven players have a job on every play, and Eli happens to have the most scrutinized job among them, in the most critical city of them all, on one of the most storied franchises in the league. Eli is also a former number one draft pick, the centerpiece in an enormous draft-day controversy/holdout that eventually delivered phenom linebacker Shawn Merriman to the Chargers (not to mention Philip Rivers). Further, he’s a member of the NFL’s most famous family, the younger brother of one of the greatest and most overexposed quarterbacks ever (see also Joe Namath). Eli has spent his entire NFL life in a crucible with the media hanging on every throw.

To me, Eli’s career has been like climbing a mountain of confidence. Some games he would take great strides, and others he would repel. As long as he just looks forward, doesn’t look back, and doesn’t wonder how he got up the mountain, I think he’ll be fine.

This team has totally changed personalities over the course of the past couple seasons. The Giants were often the highly penalized, highly volatile, negative attention getting group of me-first players. Now they’re a team.

You know how the lows are often as memorable as the highs? It’s true. I remember where I was, whom I was with, and precisely what happened for each of the Giants most torturous losses in the past decade. They are, in no particular order, off the top of my head (and if I’ve left a miserable one out, please don’t remind me):

1. The 1997 first-round playoff loss to the Vikings, where the Giants blew a nine-point lead in the final minute and a half, in a game that included a Vikings’ onside kick.

2. The 2003 playoff loss to the Forty-Niners after leading 38-14, including the 41-year old back-up snapper, signed as a fill in that week, botching two snaps, one of them on a potentially game winning field goal as time expired. Trey Junkin. Jeff Garcia and Rod Tidwell combined for about 10 completions/receptions, almost 200 yards and at least two touchdowns. This really happened: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recapPlayoff2002?gameId=230105025.

3. The Feely game. Kicker Jay Feely missed three consecutive field goal attempts in a tied game at Seattle, each of which could have won the game, two of them in overtime. Seriously: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=251127026.

4. The Titans game in 2006, where the Giants blew a 21-0 lead in the fourth quarter, eventually losing 24-21 in regulation. The Titans didn’t even get on the board until after the ten-minute mark in the fourth. The highlight of this game was a play where Kiwanuka had Vince Young wrapped up for a fourth-down, game ending sack, but let him go, fearing a personal foul penalty. Young snuck out of his grasp and ran almost twenty yards for a first down, breaking about six tacklers and my heart en route to the game tying drive.

5. The Panthers game in the first round of the playoffs in 2006. I knew things were looking grim when I was distraught over Nick Griesen’s injury, who at the time was the last healthy backup linebacker. The Giants had 132 total yards, scored zero points, and controlled the ball for less than 20 minutes.

6. The embarrassing loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV-- a game that was really never a game. The only Giants highlight--Ron Dixon's kickoff return for a touchdown--was followed by a kick return-TD by the Ravens on the very next play.

7. The Vikings game in 2005 where Minnesota had 137 yards of total offense, but became the first team in NFL history to score on a punt return, a kick return and an interception return in the same game en route to a 24-21 victory over the Giants: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=251113019.

8. A Monday night game against the Cowboys in 2003: the Giants scored the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion with less than seven minutes remaining, then a “game winning” field goal with eleven seconds remaining. And that’s when Kicker Matt Bryant pushed the ball out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff, preserving the clock and putting the Cowboys on the forty-yard line. A twenty-five yard sideline reception left four seconds on the clock—plenty of time for a 52-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. Cundiff kicked his seventh field goal of the game in overtime to secure the victory.

So yes, there have been highs. And as you can see above, there have been plenty lows. And for the past few years, third-down conversions on the Giants have been easier than Paris Hilton on totally hidden video. There were penalties, backbreaking penalties, drive-ending penalties, and personal fouls. The Giants consistently had meltdown plays and mistakes that you just knew would derail the confidence and mental stability of the team going forward. They called for Coughlin’s head. Eli was as much of a waste as he was an enigma. There was internal dissent, and a lack of belief in one another.

Not anymore. Not even in the city where everything is blown out of proportion.

For a fan that has suffered the team’s lowest lows, this is the highest high right now. I know they can win, and I think they will. And it’s this—the peace of mind, the belief, the faith, and understanding again why I fell in love with the team that makes the thrill so great.




Related Posts by Subject



2 comments:

A.M.T. said...

Wow, I almost believe that you actually think the Giants can win this game!

Anonymous said...

HELLO SCROLL DOWN TILL THE END AS YOUR MAKING A WISH FOR YOUR TEAM TO WIN...

m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m
m
ma
mak
make
make a
make a
make a w
make a wi
make a wis
make a wish
make a wish
make a wis
make a wi
make a w
make a
make a
make
mak
ma
m

NOW JUST DONATE .25 CENTS (CANADIAN) TO GIVE YOUR WISH A BOOST OF GOOD CARMA & SOME EXTRA LUCK.


click here to donate .25 cents

**HOPE YOUR WISH COMES TRUE**