Uninformed Super Bowl Commentary
I waited four days to write this column for a few reasons: 1. I wanted to digest all the post- Super Bowl story-lines to get a better sense of how everyone felt, 2. I’m really lazy, and 3. you’re not the boss of me. In any case, here are my thoughts on the Super Bowl and the aftermath:
1. The Giants outplayed the Patriots, end of story: You can harp on drops, or blame Tom Brady (more on both of those later), but the fact is the Giants were simply better for most of the game. They held a 15-minute advantage in time of possession which is huge against the Pats, who unlike other prolific offenses lack a true deep threat. Much of the post-game coverage has made it seem as if the Patriots blew this game completely or that they were ever expected to win. New England was a 3 point favorite and it’s questionable if the line should have even been that high. Give the Giants some credit for seizing their opportunities.
2. If the Giants had lost, Kevin Boothe would surely have been the goat: Boothe committed two critical penalties almost killed New York. The more egregious of the two was a hold on Vince Wilfork on third and five, which erased a first down run across midfield by Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants were stuffed on the ensuing third and 15 and had to punt, leading to a 96 yard touchdown drive by the Patriots. To that point the game had been all Giants and had some blowout potential.
3. Blaming Tom Brady is idiotic: The trolls in the Boston media have been out in full force this week — I’m pretty sure that Dan Shaughnessy is a vampire who sustains himself on the sorrow of Massholes — and they’re all wrong. Brady threw a bad pick, true, but he was also brilliant, leading his team on one of the most impressive TD drives in NFL history before the half to take the lead, then followed it up with another touchdown drive to start the second half. Brady put his team in a position to win the game.
I also don’t have a problem with what Gisele Bundchen said after the game (and not just because I’m in love with her), it was the heat of the moment, as a wife she should want to defend her husband, and she didn’t say anything that was untrue. Brady could have made a better throw on the Welker drop, but that’s also a play that great receivers make. As my friend Ryan said after the game Brady was maybe 30% to blame on that play, the rest is on Welker. Aaron Hernandez’ drop on the other hand was entirely on the receiver, the ball hit him right on the hands at chest level. I’d go even further than Gisele did and note that Brady isn’t capable of covering the Giants’ receivers either. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, and even Henry Hynoski (Henry Hynoski!) were able to make plays in critical situations. The Manningham catch was an un-defendable (I’m making that a word) play, but many of the plays that turned the game to the Giants were simple cases of receivers beating their defenders.
4. Brandon Jacobs needs to shut up: Brandon Jacobs is maybe the 10th most valuable player on the Giants offense at this point in his career, so I’m not entirely sure why anyone cares about his opinion. That said, there’s nothing that ruins a victory like spouting some misogynistic nonsense a couple days later. Jacobs shouldn’t have any concern about what’s going on with the Patriots, he should just be enjoying the celebration. Jacobs has since apologized, but he shouldn’t have said anything in the first place.
5. Eli Manning isn’t a Hall of Famer (yet), but Tom Coughlin is: Eli needs a couple more seasons with number like this one and he’s in, no doubt (another ring also makes it automatic). For the record, I think he will eventually be enshrined in Canton. Coughlin is already in. He has three Super Bowl rings now (one as an assistant on the 1990 Giants) and he’s turned two teams that no one expected to go anywhere into champions. Combine that with the job he did in Jacksonville, taking an expansion team to the AFC Championship game, and he’s a no-brainer.
6. Both Teams have bright futures: The Giants will be healthier to start next season and should be able to fill some holes as well. The Patriots have four draft picks in the first two rounds, and this might be the year that they decide to use them to reinforce their defense. The AFC is clearly the weaker conference right now and the Pats could put themselves head and shoulders above everyone else simply by getting a pass rusher. Passing on Clay Matthews may haunt New England for a decade, that type of premium pass rush threat is the one thing that they sorely lack.