Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl XLVI: Giants > Patsies, Montana still > Brady

I despise these Belicheat/Brady Patriots.  No, I didn't want to see a close game yesterday.  I didn't even care if it was a good game or not, even though good games generally make for better Superbowl parties which of course we hosted again.  I wanted to see a Giant beatdown.  I wanted to see Belicheat completely get outcoached and outsmarted.  I wanted to see Brady battered and sacked into submission.  This one felt personal.  But I guess a last-minute gut-wrenching loss at the hands of the same team that destroyed their perfect season 4 years ago will have to do.  My hatred (sports hatred, not real hatred, mind you - meaning I don't want Brady to die in a fire, I just want him to lose every game for the rest of his career - glad we got that cleared up) for the Patriots really started in the Superbowl back in 2002.

Reasons why I was happy to see a 49ers rival win their 4th Superbowl:

- Belicheat cheated Kurt Warner in that Superbowl for his first championship.  10 years ago, I was just mad that Warner was deprived of his 2nd ring (which is also one of the reasons the Steelers are on my dislike list, others include Big Ben's behavior toward women and the fact they have more SBs than the 49ers).  Years later, we found out that Belicheat cheated his way to the win by illegally videotaping a Rams' walkthrough practice prior to the game.

You think that isn't worth 3 points?  I'm tired of people saying that it wouldn't really have helped.  Wouldn't have helped?  It's like all those defenders of baseball that said steroids wouldn't really help someone hit a home run.  Really?  Why would someone go through the trouble of systematically doing something illegal year after year, if it didn't help?  Experts say that knowing a defense's signals is a huge advantage for the opponent.  Belicheat starting illegally videotaping from 2000 all the way until he got caught early in the 2007 season (Spygate).  Then at that end of that very season, the Belicheat happened to lose his first Superbowl.  In fact, pre-Spygate, they were 12-2 in the postseason.  Post-Spygate, including 2007's postseason, they've only been 4-4.  Pre-Spygate, 3-0 in the Superbowl.  Post-Spygate: 0-2.  So yeah.  The cheating helped.

- As Peter King said, this was the contest between Peyton's little brother and Peyton's arch-nemsis in the house that Peyton built.  Brady and Belicheat had had Peyton's number pretty much until around Spygate came out.  Would Brady win his first untainted championship ring in Peyton's own city?  It was fitting that a Manning took him down.

- Brady dumped his respectable actress girlfriend, eventually the mother of his first child, and settled with a supermodel.  He is definitely going in the right direction.  Gisele of course garners plenty of respect in the Boston area for being one of them.  And publicly throwing Patriot receivers under the bus yesterday will definitely endear her to fans even more.  Would Peyton's or Eli's wife do that?

- Brady  is equivalent of the Kobe or A-Rod in the NFL.  Good?  Yeah, pretty darn good.  Arrogant and unlikeable?  None more so than Brady, with his smug and condescending attitude.  Who would play for Boston but walk around in a Yankees cap?  He couldn't care less.  He'll be up 4 touchdowns in the 4th quarter of a regular season game and Belicheat will still have him air it out into the endzone.  Then Brady will still fist pump and scream when he scores - just classless.  He'll grow out his hair metro-style and gallivant around the beaches of the globe with his supermodel wife.  A celebrity-chasing jerk?  Nah, just not my kind of guy.

- I'm tired of hearing people say he's better than Montana.  He's not even better than Peyton, as attested to by 13 of 15 HOF QBs in 2009.  Had he "won" his 4th Superbowl title, he'd be tied with Montana and Bradshaw in SB wins and there's little doubt that ESPN would have immnediately anointed him Greatest of All Time.  That would be absolutely unacceptable.  Now, he is the Kobe to Jordan.  Pretty great, but lost TWICE in the championship.  Jordan won 6 times in 6 tries.  Montana won 4 in 4.  Brady?  0-2 since Spygate, 7 years since his last title.  Is he even better than Eli Manning now?  Nope, and certainly not more clutch.  Montana will always have that John Taylor drive for the win, while Brady's championships were all secured on the strength of Vinatieri's leg.  By the way, how great is he if his team went 11-5 the season he was out?  Peyton's team went 2-14 in his absence.  Anyway, couldn't be happier today.

As for the game itself, it really was a strange one wasn't it?  Random thoughts:

- Peyton was a standup guy for not showing himself at all.  It was an honorable thing to do and it shows his devotion to his brother and also to the game.  If I was betting the prop bet, I would've guessed he'd be on TV 7-8 times at least.

- All my logic pointed to the Giants winning because of their superior defense.  But I figured that Belicheat and Brady wouldn't lose a revenge game like this and would somehow pull out a last minute fg - again the only way Brady wins his Superbowls - to clinch it.  When NE went up 17-9 early in the 3rd, I thought it was over.

- Giants went on a 9-0 run, Patriots went on a 17-0 run, then Giants finished it with a 12-0 run.  Who would have thought that Brady wouldn't be able to score another single point starting with 11:20 left in the 3rd quarter?

- The NY D-line wasn't nearly as dominant as I thought they had to be to win this game.  But a banged up Gronkowski along with a giant 1st down drop by Welker (on an slightly overthrown ball by Brady) on the 20 yard line, which would have secured at least 3 points and forced the Giants to burn their timeouts, made up the difference.

- Quirky plays all went NY's way.  Giants' 3 fumbles by Cruz, Bradshaw and Nicks all somehow stayed in NY's possession (12 men defending on Cruz's play).  Brady's intentional grounding to the middle of the field was awesome.

- Bradshaw said that nobody specifically told him to kneel down at the 1 until Eli told him while he was in the act of handing off the ball.  It will probably the only time in our lives that we'll ever see the defense celebrate losing the SB lead with less than a minute left.  "We just gave up our 2 point lead and will need a TD drive with 57 seconds left and just 1 timeout to win!  Yeah!".  It was comical to see some guys on the Giants offense almost exasperated by Bradshaw slowly falling into the endzone.  "No!  We just took a 4 point lead in the SB!  Ahhh!".    I understand the logic of kneeling the ball but if they really wanted to do that, Eli should have just knelt 3 times to setup the FG.

If it were me, I'd have made sure Bradshaw knew to kneel at the 1.  Make NE use their last timeout, then take two tries to barrel into the endzone.  We've all seen missed snaps, dropped holds, hooked or pushed kicks.  Think Ravens 2 weeks ago.  Who knows what will happen on a theoretically easy play in the pressure of a SB?  No, I'd rather use brute force.  I'd rather have the 4 point lead and dare Brady, without any deep threats on his team, to march down to win it.  Of course, had he done it, it would have elevated his legend to heights that would have made me puke.  I wouldn't have been able to watch TV or get online for weeks.

- Is Eli Manning better than his brother?  Peyton is probably the greatest regular season QB in history.  However, with guys like Rodgers and Brees assaulting the record books this season, this wasn't the best year to have to sit out.  Eli now has 2 rings, earned the reputation for being the most clutch, and is definitely Peyton's superior in the postseason.

That said, I cannot have the Giants win another Superbowl, especially before the 49ers.  We can't have Eli Manning all of sudden have 3 rings.  Just not acceptable.

Ideal outlook:
Peyton's cut by Indy, signs with the 49ers, bringing along with him Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.  He sets NFL yardage and TD records at SF en route to 2 SB rings while tutoring Alex Smith along the way.  49ers now have 7 championships, more than any other team.  Brady misses the playoffs, blames it on hangnail and promptly retires to grow out his locks and gallivant on more beaches with Gisele.  Gisele immediately leaves him for Ronaldo.  Belicheat admits to a decade of wholesale cheating while producing unassailable evidence of his crimes.  The Patriots are stripped of all their championships.  Peyton then retires and returns to Indy to mentor Andrew Luck in a budding rivalry with the hated Patriots' new QB, Matt Barkley.  Tim Tebow is traded to the 49ers as a hybrid QB/FB/TE/LB and is the league and SB MVP while bringing the 1st 3-peat in Superbowl history back to SF.

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