Monday, February 6, 2012

THE MORNING AFTER - SUPER BOWL XLVI

2-0 Eli.

For the second time in five years, the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots to win the Superbowl, in a game that capped off a great season of NFL football. Brady and Belichick have officially met their match. Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants are the kryptonite to the Patriots dynasty. However, the Giants didn't play like world-beaters, as the majority of Patriots wounds were self-inflicted. The Patriots lost the game, just as much as the Giants won it.

Tom Brady made two crucial mistakes in the ball game, one on his first touch of the ball game and another eerily similar to the mistake he made in the AFC title game. On the first Patriots play from scrimmage, Brady and the Patriots, who practise and prepare for every single situation that could possible happen in a football game, made an unthinkable error. Although it only put two points on the board, Brady's inexplicable intentional grounding safety set the tone early for the Giants and put the Patriots in a hole that they could never quite overcome. The Patriots, who practised their half time in the week leading up to last night, were without a formidable check down while backed up in their own end zone. Bad mistake, good call.

(By the way, whoever threw some cash on the first scoring being a safety, won 40x their money. Good start.)

The second mistake was the only turnover of the ball game, when Tom Brady escaped the pocket, a la Eli Manning, and threw a bomb downfield to the hobbled, non-factor Rob Gronkowski. Chase Blackburn found his way into the post and leaped in front of Gronkowski for the pick. Throwing the ball was a mistake, but it was who Brady was targeting that was the major error. In a jump ball situation, you'll need two ankles to win the battle. Gronkowski only had one tonight.

After Brady's two blunders, the Patriots still had control of the game with the lead and the ball late. However, Brady and his receivers just could not get on the same page in the crucial moments. Missed targets and dropped passes haunted the Pats late, with the backbreaker being Welker's uncharacteristic drop on a play that would have likely sealed the game. The Patriots were forced to punt -- cue Eli Manning.

A magical catch from Mario Manningham along the sideline, although not quite that of David Tyree's, dug the Giants out of a hole and put them a first down or two away from being in field goal range to win the game. Manning, who has had one of the most clutch seasons in NFL history, did what he has been doing all season. He led the Giants into the end zone, and whether it was planned or not, the late score left the Patriots with simply not enough time.

After the Hail Mary hit the turf, I immediately thought about who would win the MVP, and no clear choice shot out at me. Was this a case of a complete team effort leading to the win, or the Patriots beating themselves? Definitely a bit of both. However, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, with their second Super Bowl wins, likely have punched their ticket into Canton, regardless of what happens from here on in. Eli, simply by accumulated performances, deserved his second Super Bowl MVP honours and that slick Corvette to boot.

The Giants win on the money line and Eli's MVP saved me from suffering prop bet misery. What looked to be a push on Kelly Clarkson's anthem duration was nudged towards the over, NBC didn't show a single frame of Peyton Manning, both Manning and Brady threw under the number and the orange gatorade lock, turned out to be purple.


Looking back on the 2011 season, that was once in doubt, it certainly delivered. From record breaking performances to magical play off runs and a Hollywood matchup for Super Bowl XLVI, its no surprise why the NFL owns the world of sports.

Til next season.

@kidcuthy 

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