And when the dust settled, only one could truly be called a champion.
Or some such bullshit.
But seriously, what a great game, right? If you had no rooting interest, if you hadn’t laid any money on the line, how could you possibly disagree with how awesome this game turned out to be? You can’t, plain and simple.
Oh wait… I can complain (shocking, right?). Again, as an unbiased, financially inculpable party. And why’s that? Because now, in the wake of Eli Manning’s second Super Bowl victory, as his brother sits by, nursing a broken-neck/tingly arm/age problem, the pundits will begin to decry, “Eli is the better Manning! Eli has two—count ‘em TWO rings to be placed in his safe!”
But those people are idiots.
Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl. Is Eli Manning a better quarterback than Dan (Fucking) Marino? Of course not. And is he a better quarterback than his brother? No way.
If we all know one unflappable fact about football, it’s that it’s a team sport. Occasionally, there will be one person who tries to single-handedly do it themselves, but it usually doesn’t work out too well (for a very recent example, see Tom Brady um, like, last night).
So Pats fans, what in the hell happened?
Were you guys outcoached? Well, no. The Grand Lord of the Dark Science did just about everything he could—within his wizardly power—to seal a victory. Oh sure, Manningham’s sideline catch late in the game—right in front of Bill Headband, by the way!—was a stupid challenge, but it was one that I think that everyone in his position would have taken. Grandpa Tom Coughlin, meanwhile, burned two of his three timeouts like they were spliffs, under some sick guidance of renegade commissioner Ricky Williams.
Was your defense overmatched? Well, shockingly, not really. The Patriots’ much maligned defense, widely accepted as the worst ever (for all intents and purposes), actually held it together. Mostly. Brother Eli finished 30 for 40 with 296 yards and 1 solitary touchdown. All things considered, it could have been much, MUCH worse. I could have thrown for 296 yards against that weak-ass secondary (and been much more handsome doing it).
The Giants ground-game, spearheaded by two demonic backs who’s just as soon spit in an eye as buy a dehydrated man a bottle of Dasani, was affective, but not overwhelmingly so. They weren’t the difference. Bradshaw coughed up the ball like a kid with unchecked tuberculosis, but much to New England’s chagrin, it never resulted in an actual turnover.
Special teams was pretty even. Fantastic punting, fellas! Bully!
So what in HELL was it?
Honestly, I have no idea. Mario Manningham? Seriously, if it wasn’t for his 38 yard grab with 3:39 left—and the Giants down by 2—this game would NOT have been the same. At all. And that play? It had nothing to do with Eli. He heaved it, desperately, and the Tyree-like reception was all about Super Mario.
So was the the difference? Microcosmically, yes.
But what’s the REAL story? There’s a bigger story out there, waiting to be told. Something big, with a Danny Elfman score and amazing cinematography.
Well, the Giants won. Period.
And last night, they were the better team. But not by much, and probably, if this game is played 100 times, the Patriots win it 75, maybe 80 of those times. I truly believe that.
But for now, the Giants are 2-0 against the Pats in recent Super Bowl history, Eli is the greatest thing to happen to NYC since Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby, and Tom Brady, with his cascading plugs, supermodel wife and beautiful, straight teeth sits on 3 championships, perhaps one good linebacker away from immortality.
Football is both a whore teeming with gonorrhea and the love of your life on the day you got married, and sometimes, the two seem inseparable. So keep your head up, Tom. Gisele (probably) doesn’t have an STD. And you’re only 34. And if Billy sticks around, and you guys don’t fuck up the draft (as you’ve been wont to do over the past few years—tight ends being the notable exception), you’ve got a long, winning road ahead of you.
That being said, keep your devilishly handsome eyes on the Giants, Tommy. I’m STILL convinced they’re not THAT good, but man, they sneak their way through the playoffs like a meth’d-out lab-rat in search of copper wiring, and once they get there, they’re fucking RELENTLESS. And they seem to have your number. Good luck.