Monday, February 4, 2008

New York Giants: Super Bowl XLII Champions!

With all the excitement of Johan Santana finally becoming a Met, I'm going to have to step back for a second to celebrate some football happenings.

The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 yesterday to win Super Bowl XLII! And boy, what a game it was. Probably the greatest Super Bowl that I've ever seen, regardless of the fact that my favorite team ended up the winner. Plus, certainly the best single play in the Super Bowl I've ever seen. I still cannot believe that Eli got away from that sack, and then just an amazing play by David Tyree catching the long pass.

I've also liked the Patriots since I was a kid, and they're my second favorite team, so I'm not going to sit there and rip on them for missing out on perfection. I've been rooting for perfection since early in the season, not expecting it would be the Giants who would have the opportunity to stand in their way in the end.

This was such an improbable finish to the season. The Giants were really sloppy in the regular season; I didn't even think they deserved to make it, but they got into the playoffs thanks to there only being about five teams in the whole NFL who actually deserved the shot.

But what I could see through their struggles was great potential. I was saying all season they could beat any team in the league - including the Patriots - if they could play well for a full four quarters. Throughout the entire season though, all the way up through Week 17 where they nearly ended the Patriots run right then and there, they never showed that they were capable of playing the full four quarters.

But what was a loss on paper may have turned out to be the biggest turning point of their season. They still came out with a very bad first quarter against the Buccaneers, but then they went on to dominate that game. Then the Cowboys. Then the Packers. Each game the team improved, and Eli played as well as he's ever played in that stretch of games.

It was the potential that I saw finally being reached. Three weeks earlier, I had very little confidence in this team being able to make some noise in the playoffs. Now, they were getting ready to play the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and I wasn't even intimidated by them.

The Giants had nearly beaten the Patriots in Week 17, even should have beat them. Now, Big Blue was as hot as could be, with a ton of momentum on their side. After interceptions and fumbles plagued the regular season, Eli had not turned the ball over once in the three playoff games. Their confidence couldn't be higher. And Tom Brady was coming off his worst playoff performance of his career.

All season I believed that the Giants could beat anyone. Not only did I think they could win, I thought that they would win.

One amazing game later, one unbelievable drive later, I was experiencing perhaps the happiest moment in this sports fan's life. My Giants had pulled off arguably the biggest upset in history to become the Super Bowl champions. And I never doubted them over the past three weeks.

I was four years old when the Giants last won the Super Bowl. I have nothing but faint memories of celebrating the victory. That's more than what I have for the last Mets' World Series though, which came when I was just six months old. Since then, both of my favorite teams had only reached that final stage once, following their 2000 seasons. And both of their performances were so horrid that I've tried my best to erase them from my memory.

The New York Giants have finally come through. I have truly celebrated and appreciated a Super Bowl victory by my team. That metaphorical bottle of champagne has been popped.

New York Mets: You know what you have to do now.

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