It was always going to come down to this, wasn’t it? 60 minutes for a Superbowl, but somehow it’s so much more than that. The trophy is nice, but this game somehow seems bigger. When Baltimore’s kicker missed that chip shot, I knew. The universe wanted this game to happen.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind to the beginning of the Giant’s game against San Francisco. From the start it was obvious that this wasn’t going to be a shootout. It was old school football; ground and pound and ugly weather. The Giants were wearing white and their game showed all over their jerseys. Eli Manning was battered by a superb 49’er defense but he somehow fought through it all to keep the Giants alive for one more night.
The win was a team effort if I ever saw one. Every phase of the game needed to come up big. The defense was perfection on 3rd down, the offense avoided mistakes and made plays when it counted, and special teams, well, they won the game for us. The 49’ers had prided themselves on their turnover differential all season. They didn’t cough up the pigskin, like ever. All I have to say is regression to the mean baby. They couldn’t be that good for that long. Mistakes were inevitable, and I’m just happy we had players their to capitalize on them.
Lawrence Tynes stopped himself this time and waited for the onslaught. This time he he didn’t sprint away from his teammates, this time he stayed.
I feel like I’ve been here before… Overtime. A sudden-death kick. The New England Patriots waiting on the other side. Yes, you can duplicate moments in time. Yes, you can recapture the glories of your past. Yes, this was the 2007 season all over again.
The story lines of Super Bowl XLVI will be obvious, but that doesn’t make them any less significant. The memories of a lost perfect season. The hope of a much-maligned quarterback perpetually in his older brother’s shadow. With the world watching, get ready for a great one, perhaps the best one.
Some quick Eli stats that I thought were important:
- Eli Manning made the most important play in regulation when he connected on a 17-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Mario Manningham on third-and-15.
- Eli had become the first quarterback in NFL history to win five playoff games on the road.
In a quote that summarizes everything Eli is about he acknowledges 4 years ago but keeps his head. “You can say they’re similar, but it doesn’t mean the outcome is going to be the same. … I’m sure there’s going to be comparisons and that’s fine, but that’s not going to make anything guaranteed.”
The player’s reactions were brilliant, especially the new guys that weren’t with us last time. The punter, Sam Weatherford, who had a monster game, ripped off his helmet clearly exclaiming “We’re going to the f****** Superbowl!” Victor Cruz, who also came up huge, ran around like an idiot, high stepping and not knowing what to do. Just taking it all in, and reveling in that feeling of invincibility. But my favorite reaction comes from Tom Coughlin; the disciplinarian, the old guy, the washed up coach always fighting for his job, cracked one of his rare smiles and I knew it was for real
This team believes that their great, perhaps even more than they did i
n 2007. I remember that frigid night at Lambeau Field. I had no expectations, nothing to go off of. I was just kind of enjoying the ride. This year was different. I’ve already seen this movie, experienced that jubilation, and cried those tears. Maybe that made it worse. This game took a lot out of me, because I knew we could win. The Superbowl will be the same…
Only this time the Patriots aren’t undefeated.
Only this time the Giants won’t shock a soul by beating them.