Sunday, February 10, 2008

Smiles & Frowns: Highs and The Lasting High From An Unforgettable Super Bowl

I used to think that Sports Illustrated and NFL Films Super Bowl Championship videos were a total sham. Well, not anymore. Definitely, not anymore.

I want the video, the authentic signed ball, the hat, the sweatshirt, the boxers, the toilet paper—just about anything Super Bowl XLII Champions. I would bathe myself in Super Bowl Champion soap if they made it. Of course they don’t make that and I can’t afford any of the rest, so I bought several copies of the New York Post and the Daily News instead. My father started that tradition when my brother and I were kids—a copy of the Post for every New York sports triumph. There’s a collection somewhere in our basement, and the one that reads “Super Men” will go right on top.

It’s amazing how the thrill of a Super Bowl Championship can affect someone. When things have gone a little bit wrong for me lately, it just hasn’t mattered as much: the lady at Dunkin Donuts spread cream cheese on only one side of my bagel, my neighbor took the good parking spot; the cream cheese spilled all over me, and my pants got wet when I forgot to shake before I left a public bathroom yesterday. But the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, so none of that really matters much right now. Not while the thrill is still sinking in.

And it’s still sinking in. It happened to our team.

Some other thoughts and highlights from the Super Bowl and the weekend:

1. One of my buddies, a huge Giants fan, was fortunate enough to be out in Arizona for the game. Even more fortunate got him into the Maxim party out there, where he saw McLovin. McLovin!!! Talk about a whirlwind for that kid: he went from pale, scrawny high school kid to a pale, scrawny high school kid with an amazing one-name nickname taken from a fake-ID in one of the highest-grossing comedies in Hollywood last year. And now random dudes are calling other random dudes across the nation to tell them that they saw him. McLovin!!!

2. A transcript of the message from my brother on Thursday, January 31, three days before the Super Bowl: “Dude, I just had a good omen: it’s three P.M. on Thursday, I’m driving around in downtown Norfolk...I see a homeless guy, smoking a cigarette, wearing a Dave Meggett jersey… I can’t even make this up… It was fantastic…a Giants Dave Meggett jersey, not the **** Patriots one… it’s a sign dude…it’s a sign… I tried taking a picture and almost crashed my car.”

Honestly, we both took it as a good sign. For those that aren’t familiar with Dave Meggett, he was an all-purpose, third down, special teams type guy who played for the Giants from 1989-94, and then for the Patriots from 1995-97. He was one of those beloved, blue collared Giants that won the hearts of corporate executives and homeless guys alike.

3. I should have known something special would happen on the Giants last drive. Just before it started, I received a text message from a female friend that has very little interest in professional sports, and even less understanding of them. The one word message read, “Football!!!” It was the first Super Bowl she had ever watched. Bless you, Kim.

4. Karma: Why tempt fate? The Patriots, supporters and businesses looking to cash in on history had a role in the Pats demise. I’m not so much concerned here with the Mayor of Boston planning for the event of a victory parade, or Patriots owner Robert Kraft filing to trademark the phrase “19-0”, but with some choice comments made by Richard Seymour to Amani Toomer and Brandon Jacobs before the Giants game winning drive. ESPN’s Jeffrey Chadiha reported that Seymour told them that they "should be ready to go home.”

Now, I WISH I could hear just some of the trash-talking and outlandish remarks that go on at the line of scrimmage and after each play, because I am sure they are hysterical, and I imagine that Seymour’s comment is no more grandiose than the average. However, if you believe he said that, at that point in the ball game, and meant it—it goes to show you that even until the very end the Patriots did not take the Giants seriously, not even after 57 minutes of a championship game where the Patriots simply did not match the intensity of their underdog opponent. So why tempt fate? Who knows. I don’t know if the Patriots believed they could lose the Super Bowl. I’m sure the team is comprised mostly of hardworking, unselfish athletes, but as a team they exuded an overwhelming amount of arrogance. That’s arrogance, rather than confidence. And that’s part of where I think they went wrong.

5. Joe Buck’s call on the Tyree catch was terrible. One of my favorite columnists, Bill Simmons, addressed this issue with equal disappointment in his recent mailbag. I have to say something too. I have watched the clip over and over and over, and each time I keep thinking that 1) Tyree will drop the ball, or Harrison will pull it away, and 2) Joe Buck will actually get excited or show a modicum of emotion. It just baffles me. Someone without sight listening to Buck’s call in real time would have had absolutely no idea how outrageous that play was, both at the spot of the catch and at the line of scrimmage where Manning escaped. Football fans, not just Giant fans, have cause to be outraged. Buck averaged an audience of 100-something million people and the best he could do for that play was, “[Manning] airs it out down the field…it is caught by Tyree…inside the 25 and a timeout is taken.” Thanks, Joe.

Giants fans can enjoy this one, though, a clip taken by a fan from behind the end-zone of Burress’ game winning touchdown:

Six months until football season. I’ll be back soon with thoughts on baseball.

Related Posts by Subject