Super Bowl XLII Snap Judgments
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from Super Bowl XLII, a game so ugly it was absolutely beautiful. And historic. And dramatic. And everything a New York fan could have dreamed of ...
• Unless he's a complete stiff in the interview process -- and I don't think he will be -- we might want to go ahead and give Giants defensive coordinator
Oh, the delicious irony!
Spagnuolo's unit got after
• Hey, you gotta hand it to
So what if it was 17-14 rather than 23-17?
And let's not forget the miracle escape by Manning on that play. He looked all but sacked by Patriots defensive lineman
• The city of Boston's remarkable sports-related hot streak just officially ended.
• In every radio or TV interview I did all week long, whenever I was asked what the key component of a Giants upset would be, I always said it was New York's pass rush. If the Giants' league-leading sackers could get to Brady, or at least leave him harassed, hurried and harried, New York's chances to beat the unbeaten Patriots would soar.
In the second quarter, that's what started to unfold, as Brady was sacked by
The Giants moved Tuck around on the defensive line, and New England never had the answer for him. Tuck abused Pro Bowl-bound guard
• Trust me when I tell you that folks close to Brady were very, very worried about his ankle on the Sunday night after New England had beaten San Diego in the AFC title game earlier that day. Brady basically couldn't even walk on his sore ankle that night at home, which tells you how fortunate the Patriots were that there's a two-week gap between the conference title game and the Super Bowl.
Still, Brady appeared to have trouble with his deep-passing touch against the Giants, which could be attributable, at least in part, to his inability to plant that foot and follow-through on his throws.
• With the Patriots up only 7-3, it's hard not to see New England's refusal to go for a 48- or 49-yard field early in the third quarter as anything but a lack of confidence in second-year kicker
• Until that last fateful slip on the
• These were two entirely different games, but the Patriots beat the Giants by three in that offensive slugfest in the Meadowlands in December, 38-35, and the Giants beat them by three Sunday, in a 17-14 game where the defenses starred and neither offense ever looked entirely in sync.
Kind of fitting.
• Have to admit, my first thought when I saw the Patriots successfully challenge that the Giants had 12 men on the field on that third quarter punt was: New England gets still more help from video.
• The Patriots' dynasty started with the tuck rule, and it ended with the Tuck Rules. As in Giants defensive tackle
I'm pretty proud of that one.
• I'm not surprised that a new round of Spygate controversy flared up late this week, simply because it was the blockbuster story that never really went away this season. But you get the feeling at this point, with so much smoke mixing with the fire, we'll never really know the complete story of what the Patriots actually did, might have done, or are perhaps being wrongly accused of in regards to their pre-2007 video-taping practices.
Do I think it's likely this latest twist about the Patriots filming the Rams' Super Bowl walk-through in February 2002 is made up out of whole cloth? No. But is it a bit flimsy to try and convict New England based entirely on the account provided to the
I'm not ready to declare the Patriots' first Super Bowl title -- the one the guys in red, white and blue so memorably won amid a wave of patriotism in the wake of 9/11 -- tainted by this questionable addition to the Spygate saga. Doesn't there have to be a little more than lip service paid to the notion of innocent until proven guilty? Produce something or someone who can shed more substantial light on New England's pregame videotaping practices, and we'll be happy to revisit the question of the Patriots' guilt or innocence, along with their legacy. Until then, I don't think we definitively know much of anything.
• The record will show Eli Manning threw his first and only interception this postseason early in the second quarter of Sunday's game, when
• Tell me
• Loved those priceless shots of
• For the second consecutive Super Bowl, a Manning walked off the field as the game-winning Super Bowl MVP.
• Weird game in the first half, wasn't it? Even though the Patriots led 7-3 for almost the entire second quarter, it was a miserable 15 minutes of football for them. New York consistently took the action to New England, at times pushing the Patriots around physically and that four-point New England lead felt more like a 10-point deficit.
• Who would have thought
• Winning and winning big almost always earns an NFL head coach a contract extension, but has anyone ever done more personal renovation to help secure his future employment than the Giants'
Good for Coughlin. Good for the Giants. Coughlin really earned that contract extension which soon will be coming his way.
• Have to admit, Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium (UPS, as I've dubbed it) was dressed up and looking good for its big close-up Sunday. It may look like a giant four-slice toaster, but it has great atmosphere inside; and even with the retractable roof closed, it didn't feel all that dome-like to me.
• Weirdest ranking I've heard all week was turned in by legendary NFL groundskeeper
Third-best? Huh? That's rather specific. Makes me crazy to not know his top two.
• This probably doesn't translate to the experience of watching the game on TV, and please don't think I'm bemoaning my fate, but being at the Super Bowl these days is an endurance test when it comes to the human ear's ability to handle a cacophony of noise. I'm talking a four-hour wall of ear-splitting sound pumped into every inch of the stadium. My head will be ringing until the start of the NFL Combine later this month.
• I'm glad
• Pretty sure we've seen the last of Patriots receiver
• Speaking of retirement, I saw Broncos safety
Lynch didn't tip his hand, but my gut tells me his body has had enough and he'll walk away from the game. Don't know if he'll ever make it to Canton, but Lynch at least has a Hall of Fame candidacy.