Monday, February 6, 2012

Final Thoughts on Super Bowl XLVI

1) Has there ever been a more awkward game winning touchdown than the one that Ahmad Bradshaw scored to win the Super Bowl last night? I mean he literally fell into the end zone accidentally when trying to unsuccessfully take a knee at the one yard line. Was anyone who was cheering for the Giants last night excited that he scored? Giving Tom Brady a minute and a timeout to score a touchdown just seemed like way too much time. Granted it didn’t work out, but if Tom Brady’s receiving corps hadn’t developed hands of stone in the final quarter, and had Rob Gronkowski been just a split second faster breaking on that Hail Mary pass in the end zone, who’s to say that the game might not have had a different ending. Anyhow, I was thinking about this today - how is Bradshaw going to retell this story to his kids? '4th quarter, game on the line and there I was, and I saw this huge hole open up giving me a clear path to the end zone. But it was really a trap so I tried not to score the touchdown... but, I fell over. And it almost cost us the game.' Needless to say it's probably now how he dreamed it would happen. But I suppose at the end of the day, all that really matters is that he's a champion.
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2) Anyone else think the Patriots missed having a healthy Rob Gronkowski? Two catches for 26 yards was all the injured tight end was able to come up with in the biggest game of his career. Not to mention the fact that he was outjumped by linebacker Chase Blackburn, a guy who was teaching 8th grade math just a few months ago, for an interception to start the fourth quarter - the only turnover of the game - and was just a half step too slow in getting to the deflection of Tom Brady’s Hail Mary at the end of the game. The Patriots were without probably the biggest advantage they had over the Giants and it definitely showed. Don't believe me? During the regular season when these two teams met, Gronkowski hauled in 8 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
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3) The parallels between this Super Bowl and Super Bowl XLII back in 2008 were remarkable, not the least of which was a Giants receiver hauling in a ridiculous 4th quarter catch. In 2008 it was David Tyree with the helmet catch, and this year it was Mario Manningham down the sideline in between two Patriots defenders. If you're a Pats fan, which one hurts worse? As good a catch as Manningham's was, I still think it's Tyree's. The guy never caught another NFL pass after pinning that one to his helmet with Rodney Harrison draped all over him.
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4) The ball just seemed to bounce New York's way all night. While it's true the Giants caught some bad breaks of their own in this game, the majority of the breaks that championship teams usually need to win went New York's way. Think about it:

*Brady getting called for intentional grounding in the end zone
*The fumble Victor Cruz lost that was negated by a 12 men on the field penalty
*Punter Steve Weatherford pins the Patriots inside the 10 three times in 4 punts
*Ex-math teacher Chase Blackburn's interception in front of Gronkowski
*Mario Manningham's sideline catch between two defenders
*Hakeem Nicks' fumble that was recovered by Henry Hynoski
*Ahmad Bradshaw's fumble immediately following Blackburn's pick recovered by Chris Snee
*Wes Welker's wide open drop that could've put the game away
*Branch and Hernandez dropping passes on the final drive
*Gronkowski missing the deflection on the Hail Mary by half a step

I'm sure there were others, but that's already quite a list. It's better to be lucky than good, and while to a certain extent you make your own luck, the Giants seemed to have the football gods on their side yesterday.
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5) Nobody’s laughing at Eli Manning for calling himself an elite quarterback now, are they? Flashing back to August, Manning had this exchange with ESPN New York 1050's Michael Kay:

Kay: Are you in the Tom Brady class? Are you in that type of quarterback?

Manning: Yeah, I consider myself in that class and Tom Brady is a great quarterback.

Considering Eli has won 2 Super Bowls over Brady now, and been the MVP in both, can you really argue that he's wrong? I'm not saying he's better than Brady, but he has to be in any conversation involving elite quarterbacks right now.
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