It's past midnight and I can't sleep. This will probably be the least coherent post you'll see on FreeTime, but what the hell. I'm still revved up from one of the Top 5 sports fans moments of my life. It's not Mookie-Buckner or Norwood wide right for a single powerful moment. But for sheer up and down drama it's right there with Niners-Giants NFC Championship in 90, and for unexpected pleasure, it's easily #1.
A few observations:
- When the Giants played their starters in Week 17 against the Pats, everyone had little pros and cons in their heads about the decision. But I don't think anybody said, "You know, one of the pros is that if they play well, and then meet the Patriots in the Super Bowl, they'll have confidence they can win." But that's what has happened. It's hard to imagine a team that will be as big an underdog as the G-men will be, but still have justified confidence they can win.
- 12 quarterbacks have played in the postseason (not counting guys like Billy Volek). Eleven of them have thrown at least one interception. I think you know who has zero.
- Also, only one guy has 3 Wins (hint: it's the same guy)
- Let's put it a different way: those 12 quarterbacks have 20 starts between them. In those 20 starts only 5 have been INT-less. Eli has 3 of them (Hasselback and Brady the others)
- Good call by my buddy Gombo...in the first quarter, Al Harris is shoving and jawing at Plaxico Burress. Gombo says, "You know, this could work out for the Giants. Plax is a guy who can take a play off here and there, but Harris may fire him up." Burress finished with 11 catches for 154 yards.
- You know how a lot of sports fans think every call goes against their team? Well, I'm not that guy. But I couldn't help shake the feeling during this game that Roger Goodell stopped by the official's locker room before the game and dropped hints about how a Favre-Brady matchup would be good for the NFL. The hold on Snee during Bradshaw's TD run and the 3rd and 5 call that extended the Packer's first FG were head-scratchers.
- Oh...and if the Packers had won, we would have had one of the great missed camera shots of all time. In the 3rd quarter, the Giants stopped the Pack on a crucial 3rd and 5...but Sam Madison got called for a 15 yard personal foul that extended the drive. Favre threw a TD pass moments later. Cameras never did catch what Madison did.
- Good observation by Windex...the Giants didn't put much pressure on Favre, but they tackled extremely well. It was as if the G's game plan was to let Favre complete little dinks all day, but tackle 'em for 2 yard gains. On one series, Favre completed 3 straight passes for lost yardage.
- You know how everyone killed Eli for his sideline demeanor mid-season? Being calm through good times and bad is one of those qualities that everybody thinks is wonderful when you win (see Brady, Tom; and Torre, Joe), but terrible when you lose (see Manning, Eli and Torre, Joe). Being wildly emotional is the same thing (see Coughlin, Tom).
- I understand that Brett Favre is a greater American than Lincoln, a greater humanitarian than Mother Theresa, a greater artist than Michelangelo, and a greater philosopher than Plato. But wasn't there room for anyone, in all the pre-game blathering, to say, "You know, Brett Favre has thrown more stupid intereceptions in his life than most of the guys who've ever played the game combined. Maybe he'll throw some today." Favre, even more than most of us, has the vices of his virtues. But none of the professional commentators were allowed to say it, because it didn't fit the script.
- To the 47 non-believers (you know who you are): Norwood missed from 47; Tynes makes it from 47. (And, of course, there was this 47). For 47 Believers it was further proof we are on the righteous path. All heretics, go here, and learn to believe.
Can the Giants go all the way? As I wrote a while ago, the Patriots are not the dominant, soul-crushing team they were through the first 2 and a half months of the season. At 10-0, the Patriots had 9 blowouts (17 points or more); their only close win was a road victory against the defending champs. Back then we were actually talking about whether or not the Patriots were arseholes for running up the score (they were; and they are).Since then, the Pats have played 8 games. Yes, they've won all 8. But they barely slipped by mediocre teams like the Ravens and Eagles. They allowed genuinely awful teams like the Jets and Dolphins to play them close late. A Charger team whose 3 best offensive players were hobbled hung around today. And, of course, on the last day of the regular season they just eked out a shootout win against the New York Football Giants.
The Patriots are the best team in football. But they can be had.