Monday, February 11, 2008
Perhaps the pain has subsided enough...
...that I can finally write of the loss of the gallant, tragic Patriots. In a way, it is much more memorable that they came one fluky play short of their perfect season. Greek/Shakespearian tragedies are made of this stuff, whereas if they'd won, it would've just been one more Super Bowl win. Besides, just think of the fire this experience is going to light in the belly of the returnees next season! On a more personal note, it is a great exercise in self-control and sportsmanship to have to suck it up when your 9 year old daughter and your wife are in the room cheering on Eli Manning (and the Giants, by extension)! Nick & Nat & I were very sad, Amy was thrilled, and Robin was satisfied. Now I know how the Bengals' fans felt in '89, or the Cowboys' in '81. On the other hand, I expect the Giants will go away next year when we have someone else come out of the NFC East, be it the rejuvenated Eagles, or the 'Boys, or even the Redskins, whereas the Patriots will likely reload and be right back in the hunt.
Turned out Brady really was hurting - big time hurting. He hasn't thrown that badly in a long time, and while much of it was due to the Giants' pressure, and they should get every bit of credit that they're due, normally he'd be connecting with his hot reads regardless of the pressure. He was not himself, and it is unfortunate that he is not getting more credit for the valiant performance he put in.
Which brings me to another point. Where does all this talk of "hubris", and "poor sports" come from? The public face of the Pats has been nothing but graciousness and humility all season long - always giving their opponents credit, always taking them seriously, always complementing them on their skill and abilities. Someone came up to me at church yesterday and said that none of the Patriots shook hands with the other teams' players or coaches after the game. I said "Bill Belichek did", and the point was conceded, but she went on to say that no one else did. Wow. She must have been watching the game on another planets' satellite system from mine. The end of the game was a bit weird, what with time running out and the field being flooded with people, and then the officials putting time back on the clock. Just goes to show, though, that people will see what they want to see, based on their preconceptions. How far this team has come from that 2001 underdog team. This game was like that one's evil twin... especially so as it showed the depth of many peoples' hatred of the Patriots that they'd root for a team from New York City instead!