Monday, February 04, 2008

Almost Perfect

The idea of a perfect season crept into the football conversation a few weeks ago. The Patriots came to East Rutherford to play the last regular season game, and they had not lost a game all year. By the end of that game, they were still unbeaten, but the Giants had shown that they could compete with the vaunted Patriots.

Over the next few weeks, the Giants defeated the Cowboys (who were astonished in defeat) and the Packers. Still, depending when you placed your bet, you could get 12-14 points taking the Giants in the Super Bowl (and of course, you took the Giants and the points - didn't you?)

The story yesterday turned out differently than most people expected, and the Patriots did not achieve their perfect season. 19 - 0 was not to be. I am not at all sympathetic with the New England Patriots -- and not merely due to my lifelong attachment to the Giants. I don't like Bill Belichick, I don't like anyone who thinks he is too good to lose to the Giants (ie, most of the Patriots team) , and I really didn't like Tom Brady's arrogance in ridiculing Plaxico Burress for predicting a 23-17 Giants win (Brady thought it was absurd to suggest the Giants could keep him from scoring 35 - 40 points).

Oh yeah -- I should add that I hate sore losers.

Yesterday, Mr Belichick was the sorest loser I have ever seen. With one second left, he decided he had had enough. Everyone else had to stay for the last play - the field had to be cleared, the players and ref's taking their places till the clock ran to zero - but not the big ego himself, the all-important Mr Belichick. In his surly manner during the post-game interview, Belichick made it clear how disappointed he was, as if some great disaster had fallen unfairly from the sky, some arbitrary act of the gods, rather than a contest in which his team and he had been measured and found wanting.

Three thoughts for Mr Bill:
  • It's only a game, Bill. Grow up.
  • You're not that important, Bill. Walking out when you feel like it is a bit rude to everyone else, and pretty childish. Grow up.
  • Nobody likes a sore loser, Bill. When you lose, and sometimes you will, smile, remind everyone of the great season they had, congratulate your honorable opponents on their victory, and express your eagerness to do it all again next year. 12 year-old's act like you did yesterday, Bill. Grow up.
I salute the Giants defense for an outstanding performance and for making it possible for the Giants to win on only 17 points. That is all the proof anyone should need that the Giants defense is the class of the NFL, and true Giants fans really appreciate the defense. We have had some great defensive teams, and none performed better than this team did yesterday.

I salute Plaxico Burress and David Tyree and all the Giants receivers who fought to get open and made tremendous catches - and of course, Eli Manning - reviled by the fans all year long - who have finally proven that, on any given Sunday, he is the equal of any quarterback in the league. I had my own doubts about Eli, but in the past month, in his competitive spirit and his refusal to give up interceptions, he has reminded me of Phil Simms -- and that is saying a lot.

I will never be a Tom Coughlin fan - the guy always looks lost and aggravated on the sideline. No matter who wins, he always looks to me like a guy who should be somewhere else. Congrats anyway, Tom.

Looking forward to next year. When do we play the almost-perfect Pats again, I wonder?


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