Wednesday, February 06, 2008
GIANTS ARE CHAMPS!
Giants are Champions of the world!
What an amazing game! I was as shocked as everyone else. I had people emailing me and harassing me about NOT winning all of those NFL futures, but here is the part where I disclose that I am a New York Giants fan.
The reason why I have been pretty secretive about my NFL alliegence is because I do NOT want to be accused of being biased in my handicapping ( I did a good job because I had a couple people email me and taunt me that the Giatns won). In the Super Bowl I had a win/win situation. If the Patriots won, I won a pot of gold, if the Giants won, my team would pull off one of the top upsets in NFL history. My wallet is a little bit empty, but I am so proud of the Giants.
Here are some notes I had during the game...
- Brandon Jacobs cracked Brandon Merriweather early on in the first quarter which set the tone of a physical Giants team.
- The Giants opened the game with a 9:59 second drive which was the longest drive in Super Bowl history. They scored 3 points and shortened the game 2/3rds of one quarter making it a just over 3 quarter game. That is a good thing for the underdog.
- That bud light " wine and cheese party" commercial got a crack out of me, but overall I thought the commericals were cheesy. How many singing animal punch lines are those marketers going to deliver? The under armour "movie" was kind of cool, but the comedy commercials were a waste of 2.7 million bucks.
- Antoinio Pierce is so unathletic and cannot cover tight ends. On 3rd and 10 at the goalline, the Pats went right after him with a toss in the endzone to Ben Watson. It was actually a pretty key play that resulted in PI and a 7-3 lead for the Patriots.
- The Giants were flagged for that delay of game and I disagree with the call. The Refs usually give a fraction of a second lee way and they called it exactly when the clock hit zero ( and Eli snapped it). I think the fact that they were so quick to call it is because they were " ready" to call it. The reason why they were " ready" is because it looked like there was no way Eli would get the play off on time when he was audibiling with 2 seconds left. I disagree with the call and believe that perception took over and the Refs gave the Pats a favorable call. However Amani Toomer did push off a little bit later and these calls tend to pretty much even out.
- I counted 5 dropped passes by the Giants and the Steve Smith one resulted in an INT. That sort of stuff was happening to Eli all season as the Giants led the league in dropped balls. I counted them from Boss, Plax, S.Smith ( led to the INT), S. Smith #2, Burress #2. Five dropped balls and an INT might sound bad, but for Eli it was pretty normal to get that kind of effort.
- I thought that Joe Buck was extra critical of Eli. He harped on Eli for the delay of game ( that shouldn't have been). He kept talking about the interception ( which wasn't his fault) and even started the next series with " Eli Manning, FRESH of throwing an interception". The guy honestly gets off by being as negative as possible to Eli and that is uneccesary. He is supposed to call an unbiased game but every time Eli made a mistake, he goes out of his way to point it out over and over, where as when Brady makes mistakes... he doesn't.
- The Amad Bradshaw play was crazy, but the call was right. Just because a Patriot lands on the ball belly down, doesn't mean he has possession. Bradshaw grabbed the ball from the guy twice his size because the Patriot never really had it anyway.
- There was a really cool play where Kwika Mitchell lined up right in the A gap like he was going to blitz. When the ball was snapped he turned his head and back like he was dropping into coverage and then quickly changed direction and blitzed in untouched. The initial fake forced the Patriots interior O-Lineman to commit elesewhere and by the time they commited, Mitchell was on a B line to Tom Brady.
- Another key play was the Justin Tuck forced fumble at the end of the first half. The Patriots were up 7-3 and looked like they were going to march downfield and take a 14-3 or 10-3 lead into halftime. Brady didn't really have a chance to throw the ball deep downfield because he didn't have the time to do so. One of the reasons was because Justin Tuck and Osi were getting in there VERY fast. If Tuck doesn't hit the ball out of Brady's arm, he just might get that deep pass off and take a commanding 14-3 lead. Football is a game of inches, and the Giants earned those inches in that play.
- Bellicheck challenges Chase Blackburn as a 12th man on the field. I'd agree that the call was right, but it was sort of a cheap thing to challenge. All of a sudden the Patriots challenge that Chase Blackburns foot didn't get out of bounds before the snap. YES, technically it was a penalty, but he was obviously out of the play. By the book it was a penalty, but by the rule of law Blackburn having that foot in bounds didn't matter. With those big stakes I can't blame Bellicheck for the challenge, but it was a rather cheap thing.
- Lost in this game was a great pass defense by Asante Samuel. Eli Manning threw the deep ball over the middle to Plax, and Samuel reach forward and made a legal and pefect play on the ball to prevent the touchdown.
- Wes Welker made a phenomanal 16 yard catch and had a great game. As great a game as he had ( 11 catches), the Patriots probably needed to throw even more short passes to him to help negate that pass rush.
- The Kevin Boss 45 yard play was pretty key too. In a suprise defensive and field position battle, that 45 yard play was pretty nice.
The obvious play of the game was the " Catch 42" play where Manning avoids a sack from virtually the whole Pats D-Line, and then throws a ball that is perfectly caught by Tyree, where he pinned the ball against his helmet. That play goes down in history and so do the Giants.
MVP- I know that people want to reward the Giants pass rush, but of course 4 guys are going to be more valued than one quarterback. If Eli didn't lead the Giants to touchdown drives on the final 2 possesions, the Giants wouldn't have won. Eli Manning WAS the MVP.
Anti MVP - Josh Mcdaniels. The pass rush was ferocious, but the Pats didn't make enough adjustments. The pass rush forced the Pats into not being able to run 4 WR sets, but I am suprised they didn't throw even MORE short passes to say Welker. They worked fine in the 2nd to last drive. The Giants LB core is not very good in coverage, and the Pats had an opportunity to exploit that. They also could have used more max protects and went long to Randy on the other weak link, James Butler. Butler wasn't torched because Brady didn't have the time to go deep. It wasn't that Brady was screwing up as much as they were fundamentally attacking the Giants in the wrong way. I blame Josh Mcdaniels for that. Maybe at 31 years old HE CHOKED.
The Refs - Bitter Patriots fans want to complain about Amani Toomer pushing off, and the fumble recovery, but the Patriots didn't lose the game because of those calls, and there is pushing off and holding on pretty much every play in the NFL. Those same Patriots fans weren't complaining when Randy Moss was pushing off on route to his record breaking season.
The doubters - A lot of people had the Giants in the 6-10 range, and even some decent people predicted the Giants to implode and be the worst team in the NFL. Tiki Barber called Eli Mannings leadership " comical" before the season. Whoops, he won MVP and Tiki won nothing in the booth.
Isn't it funny how people said that Tiki Barber was the whole team and that they were screwed without him? The Giants won the Super Bowl without him. It reminded me of how a lot of people said that Peyton Manning would be screwed without Edge James and that he was REALLY the guy that made the Colts offense work. They argued that taking away James 1500 yards off offense would bring the Colts offense down... Whoops. They won the Super Bowl without him! Running backs are rather fungible, and especially when they play in a "smart offense" dominated by a throwing threat quarterback. Peyton ( and ELi) make their backs better by the audibles they call. Not just changing a pass play to a run play, but changing the direction of the play from the strong side to the weak side all so often. The value of a QB is so much tied to his ability to throw, but the ability to manage the run game is far too underrated for QB's. The Mannings have an impact on their run games, and help MAKE them so good.
The Run - The Giants beat division leading Tampa, 13-3 Dallas, 13-3 Green Bay with -1 degree weather, and 18-0 New England all on the road. In fact, the Giants went 11-1 on the road, and the one game they lost was in week 1 and Eli didn't even finish that game due to a cheap shot injury play. People always wanted to talk about how "average" the team is, but that was the most impressive run in NFL history. The Giants showed what they could really do without shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalties, dropped balls, and bonehead plays.
The Giants lost 6 games, but the only team they played and did not defeat this year was the Minnesota Vikings.
The Giants also beat the #1, #2, and #3 offenses in the NFL. Look at how those games ended. Pro Bowl Romo threw a pick in the endzone that ended the game. Brett Favre threw a pick in OT to end the game, and Brady " Mr. Cool" was rattled all game and couldn't drive the troops downfield for one last FG.
I blame a lot of that on Mcdaniels. They had 3 timeouts and 30 seconds. A few 15 yard passes and timeouts and they right there to attempt the FG, send it into OT,and win the game there. They fact that they were trying to STILL go long boggles my mind. Brady got hammered on 2nd down by Jay Alford and the Giants win.
Hyperbole - When the Patriots won in 2001, we had to hear how they are a "team, and unselfish, have good morals, fight for loose balls and are clutch". Now I am hearing a lot of those same arguments for the Giants. If the Giants would have lost, Eli Manning would have got dumped on. Tom Brady didn't exactly have a great game ( it wasn't his fault), but we didn't hear how he was unclutch this year etc. I just hate how the media tries to explain everything in the most simple terms. " The Giants just played harder". It isn't always like that.
The Future - Something to look forward to. The Giants are the 3rd youngest team in the NFL, and they were even playing without Pro Bowl tight end Jermey Shockey, and another stud pass rusher in Mathias Kiwinuka. Congradulations Giants!
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