Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The sports world just keeps getting more depressing, doesn't it? The Patriots are now 18-0 and only Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin and a very inconsistent Giants team stand in the way of perfection. And so, barring some sort of unforeseen catastrophe, it seems like 19-0 is more real than it was even as recently as the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game this Sunday.

I don't see the Giants being deeper, appreciably healthier or much better than they were in Week 17. Yeah, Sam Madison and Sean O'Hara are back, but Aaron Ross has a bad shoulder and who knows exactly how healthy Rich Seubert will be coming off his knee injury against Green Bay. In Week 17, they may have played the Pats very well for three and a half quarters, but that was in Giants Stadium. In Arizona, weather won't be much of a factor, unless, of course, Al Gore's global warming triggers that ice age between now and the Super Bowl. But if that happens we'll probably have bigger problems than whether or not the Patriots go undefeated.

On last Sunday's game with the Chargers, I have to commend the San Diego secondary for playing much better than I thought they could. Fat lot of good it did them, however, when the offense stalled out inside the ten three times and had to settle for field goals. With LaDanian Tomlinson unable to play, I thought the Chargers could have done a little more damage to the Patriots running the ball, so I suppose I owe some sort of apology to the Geritol set currently playing linebacker in New England.

That said, I noticed a disturbing trend in Sunday's game. Whenever I saw Mike Vrabel taking a shot at Philip Rivers, he never seemed to be hitting him above the waist. I had never really thought of him as a particularly dirty player, but I guess I just never noticed what with Harrison playing in the vicinity and outshining all other cheap shot artists.

Over the last two days, I have spent a few minutes here and there trying to imagine scenarios in which the Giants could pull off the unthinkable. It's very tempting, given how close they were in Week 17 and how well they've played in the playoffs, beating Dallas and Green Bay on the road, both of whom had defeated the Giants soundly in the regular season. However, sooner or later, all good things come to an end. And this time, it's almost assuredly the Giants impressive run to end the season and make it to Phoenix.

Having to root for the Giants is going to be a bit problematic for me. It's not quite so difficult to root for the Yankees, since they are the direct rival of the Red Sox and with the historic tradition of excellence and class, they stand head and shoulders over the Sox. There is no link like that between the Giants and the Patriots. Just because Giants fans are a small margin above Jets and Patriots fans with respect to comporting themselves like reasonable facsimiles of human beings, doesn't mean the Giants are worthy of much respect.

I suppose it comes down to one thing which will make it easier for me to root for the Giants. Every minute of this playoff run must be a mortal agony for Tiki Barber. Funny how we haven't heard much from him lately (although maybe we have, I don't watch the Today Show because it's too early and a waste of air time) since Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin are apparently proving themselves under pressure for the first time.

Interesting, isn't it? That Tiki Barber retires prematurely (in what seemed like his one shot at the Hall of Fame, retiring with some sort of mystique to offset his perceived fumbling problem), bashes Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning in his silly little memoir and on the air, and after an up and down season the Giants pull it all together and beat three teams on the road (two of whom were more talented than the G-men on paper). Would that I were the sort of person to believe in a coincidence. It's also kind of funny that the Giants knocked Tiki's twin out of the playoffs in the process. Don't look know, but it's a good thing someone woke Bill Simmons up to get him to milk the Ewing Theory for one more column.

Before I wrap this post up, I have a couple of things that I want to have out there if the Giants pull off the second biggest upset in Super Bowl history. The 1983 Washington Redskins broke the single season team scoring mark (granted, they didn't have the individual records Brady and Moss set this season). They smashed their way through the NFC playoffs en route to a rematch with the LA Raiders, whom they beat in Week 5, on the road by two points. The Raiders won that Super Bowl in a rout.

And way back in 2001, an unheralded team with a quarterback who hadn't proved himself yet (remember Bledsoe led the Pats on as many TD drives as Brady did in that playoff run) came into the Super Bowl as a massive underdog to a team that had beaten them in the regular season. The 2001 Rams not only beat the Pats in the regular season, but they had beaten them in Foxboro. So they had all the more confidence going into the Superdome for that memorable clash. Coincidentally, that was probably the last really memorable upset in the NFL playoffs, except maybe Tampa beating Philly in the NFC championship game the next year.

In case you're wondering, here's what I watched to cheer up after this disastrous football weekend. I watched Grizzly Man on Animal Planet. It's just as funny as it's always been, but here's a youtube clip of Timothy Treadwell whining and swearing at a fox who stole his hat. Good times. By the way, it's probably not safe for work, so earmuffs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Suck a dick. Who do you think cheers for the Patriots, moron? 90%of Patriots fans are Red Sox fans too.