Written in the Stars

Four years ago, I sat in front of my television before Super Bowl 42. Finally it was time for both teams to enter University of Phoenix Stadium. The Giants, the ‘away’ team, wearing their white jerseys, ran out of the tunnel first. But what struck me was the song that played in the background while they did; Kanye West’s epic anthem to never giving up, “Stronger”.

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The Game

So it begins…

The madness of the two weeks leading up to the Superbowl is about to reach its climax in just 48 hours. I’m terrified, confident, suicidal, and giddy all at once. Make no mistake, this game is huge. In my opinion, it might even be bigger than any other Superbowl in history. There is so much on the line for both teams that it kind of seems unfair for either to lose. Perhaps that’s why I’m having such a difficult time predicting how the game is going to play out. Usually I have a pretty good sense of whether a game will be a shoot out, defensive battle, or something in between. However, this time, I feel like I’m going into it completely blind. One minute I feel like my Giants have no shot and that the Patriots want revenge too much to screw up this game. Then, I’ll feel ridiculously confident and tell myself that the Giants are playing too well to let this one slip through their fingers. But honestly, in my heart, I know it’ll come down to the wire. One play, one mistake, one lucky break, will decide this championship. I also think there is a rather large chance of this game going down as one of the best in NFL history.

At this point, the game has been analyzed within an inch of its life, and I don’t really have anything else to contribute that hasn’t already been said. So, I’m just going to say to all those Giant and Patriot fans out there, and even those of you who just love football; remember Sunday night. Whether the outcome is good or bad, try to remind yourself that you’re witnessing history.

And just for the record…. Go Giants!!!

 

Daily Links

Here are some of my favorite pieces from this morning regarding the New York Giants…

  • George R.R. Martin (author of the Song of Ice and Fire series) talks about his favorite team HERE
  • A cheeky little post about the Giant’s official Twitter feed laying into the Jets… HaHa :)
  • The debate is finally over (for the next two weeks at least) Eli is Elite
  • What grades would you give the G-Men? Find out HERE
  • Apparently Big Brother was in San Francisco last night…. Hmmm
  • This one is really good :) Destiny

60 Minutes

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.

Hail Yeah!

This feeling is kinda familiar… at least to me. I remember the 2007 New York Giants playoff run, and I particularly remember their divisional game against the Dallas Cowboys that earned them a trip to the frozen tundra in Green Bay and a date with a resurgent Brett Favre.

 

I remember that game because I hate the Cowboys more than any other team in the league and that year they had beat us twice in the regular season. I remember that game because for probably the first time all season I did not watch a Giants game in the comfort of my family room, instead, I was invited over to my Grandparents house to watch it with them. I remember that game because my Grandparents had also invited our Parish priest to come over and watch the game, and watching a game in the presence of a priest is something you don’t really forget.

 

The game was hard fought and close. But Tony Romo didn’t let us Giants fan down and threw a bad interception late to seal the deal. I remember being shocked, like legitimately shocked. We weren’t supposed to win, I was at the age where I believed everything the “experts” had to say and from their perspective, the Giants had no shot. So imagine my surprise when my Dad drives me home already talking about how the Giants will match up against Green Bay.

 

The next couple of weeks are magical, some of the best of my life as an all around sports fan. And I always look back on those weeks, especially after our win in Dallas, and think to myself that there was a specific kind of feeling that I had that made the whole thing seem kinda inevitable… like, excuse my cheese, destiny. When the Tynes kicked the ball through the frozen uprights, I cheered, when the ball somehow stuck to Tyree’s helmet, I screamed, and when Eli threw that perfect pass to Plaxico in the back of the endzone, I cried. But through everything I thought to myself, well yeah, obviously, we’re the team of freakin’ destiny.

 

I haven’t felt that way in all long time. Even the next year when we had a fantastic regular season that probably should’ve ended at the Superbowl. But that dream died when our number one receiver shot himself in the leg by accident…

 

I felt it last night. Like for real felt it. When Eli’s Hail Mary found its target I flashed back to 2007. This team, I think, has that feeling as well. There are not a lot of guys left from 2007 but there are enough. I mean we just beat the best team in the league by 17 points, and that was with 14 points gift wrapped by the awful refs (come on, everyone with eyes knew that was a fumble). I think that the Giants have too much momentum and the players are sensing that inevitability. A lot of things need to happen before the Lombardi trophy is raised once again, but for some reason the road looks clear and inviting.

 

This was supposed to be an analysis, but I realized quickly that its hard to analyze destiny. Maybe I’m too big of a fan to look that last night with any sort of objectivity. But even people who do that for a living are saying that this team is special in a rare kind of way.

 

Oh an if they lose next week, well……………… haha just kidding, they wont lose :)