It Was in the Bag, or So Says My Boston Buddy

Matt ShieldsCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2008

For me, it was among the best Superbowls ever.

I loved the low score and the defensive struggle.

I loved seeing Brady hit and sacked.

And I loved that final drive of the Giants, with its television highlight of the ‘Manning escape and Tyree helmet grab’.

Of course the Brady interview where he questions Plaxico Burress’ prediction of the score is classic, even though no one really knew that’s how it would come down—including Burress.

After spending the next day reading various news articles and internet postings (understand that the Giants beating the Pats this year was almost as big for me as if the Saints had finally made the Superbowl), I found a few Boston-based articles suggesting that the Pats had ‘choked’, or that their O-line lost the game, they sucked, played like crap, etc. 

How about the fact that the Giants brung it?

The Pats defense kept the Giants' score pretty low themselves. The Pats O-line struggled their asses off, but just got beat by a superior force that day.

But I think it is even more than that…

I noticed it during Brady's earlier interview, when he questioned Burress’ prediction.

He gave lip-service to the fact that Burress “should be confident, they’re the NFC champs”, but you could see he didn’t believe it. He, and probably the rest of the Patriots, and all the New England states, knew the Pats were going to win the Superbowl.

Next was the coin toss.

The faces of the Patriots were much more serious, too serious. As if they knew they were here to claim their destiny, and that the Giants had simply shown up to assist them with this.

The Giants were just kind of there, looking relaxed and ready to have some fun.

Of course, the opening drive was probably the biggest part of the Giant’s victory. It lasted nearly ten minutes, keeping the Patriots offense off the field, and not allowing the Patriots game plan to unfold as they saw it in their minds.

Hey, come on now, this is our game. Let us dictate the pace please.”

The shots of Brady sitting on the sideline during that drive were telling. He would probably say he was concentrating, keeping his focus for his turn on the field, but it seemed to me like he expected ‘three and out’ and was a bit bummed that he wasn’t yet on the field for his Superbowl.

During that drive I also noticed Patriots players assisting Giants players up after each play.

Now, I’m sure many are friends, and both sides were simply welcoming each other to the Superbowl, but I also got a sense of Patriots players saying, “Hey guys, this is cool isn’t it? Thanks for showing up for our Superbowl win. You guys certainly deserve to be here with us, really. I though you had a heck of a playoff run. Hey, good luck next year by the way.”

Except the Giants were there to win and win only.

They knew it certainly might not happen, but it wouldn’t be because they didn’t have the talent or ability.

They were hitting that day. By the end of the game, I was watching three of the Patriots faces: Brady, Welker, and Moss. All three of their faces told the story: The Giants are coming hard…we might not pull this off…the Giants are coming hard.

As for those suggestions that the Giants caught some breaks, "if only this happened then we would have won" stuff.

Hey now. That’s football.

How about "If only the Patriots had scored more points", instead of, "If only Tyree hadn’t made that once in a lifetime catch"?  Or, "If only Smith hadn’t bobbled the ball into the Pats defender’s hands while the Giants were in scoring position", instead of "If only Asante hadn't missed that game-ending interception’? 

There were breaks both ways, not many penalties (though it was pretty funny watching Belichick do his side-line hop in determining whether the Giants had too many men on the field), and most importantly, some good old-fashioned football.

As for Belichick leaving early, I’ll give it to him that the game was over.

But I don’t buy that he didn’t know what the clock was at. This coming from the man whose keen eye noticed the 12th man hopping off the field?

I didn’t care as much about Belichick leaving early, though, as I did about seeing Brady already in the tunnel as Eli took his final kneel-down. Come on man, this is the Superbowl. Stay on the sidelines, cross the field, and give the other guy his props.

I never liked Brady much anyway (nothing to do with his play, more to do with his temperament), and that solidified it.

As for Eli Manning, I don’t agree with those comments that he’ll fall back into being his old self.

Those past few playoff games are not flukes.Eli has matured as a quarterback.

And the next interception he throws?

Before any fingers start getting pointed, just remember there’s not one of you who doesn’t like Brett Farve, and tell me that man doesn’t ever throw the ball away.

Finally, why did I root for the Giants instead of football history?

Well, I did live in New York for five years.

Manning’s father played for the Saints.

I am not a fan of Brady (though I’d love to see Welker on the Saints, and Stallworth was always a favorite player of mine).

But, most importantly, it’s because of the most arrogant New England/Boston fan I know. A friend of mine who loves to open his mouth as wide as a man-hole and breathe hot coffee-breath on you as he loudly proclaims “Hah!” into your face after each and every New England team championship.

It is for him that I lovingly type:

New York Giants, Superbowl XLII Champs. 

New England Patriots, 18-1.


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