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A Giant night

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The following was posted on one of my other blogs, The Land of Whatever.
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Super Bowl XLVI has just ended, with Tom Brady's last-second Hail Mary pass falling incomplete in the end zone, giving the New York Giants their 4th Super Bowl win, 21-17. It is the 2nd win for Big Blue in the Tom Coughlin era, as he matches Bill Parcells' 2 rings.

Brady, the poster boy for the NFL's policy of overprotecting their star players, committed an odd faux pas early, as a long, incomplete pass was ruled as intentional grounding, simply because, in the officials' view, and I found this strange, to be honest with you, there was no Patriot receiver in the area where the pass was thrown. The officials ruled that Brady threw the ball away to avoid a sack in the end zone, but the result was the same, a safety for the Giants, giving New York an early 2-0 lead. Thing was, Brady's pass flew a good 20 yards or better before it landed on the turf.

Ironically, the Giants spotted Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the Wild Card round, then routed the Falcons after Eli Manning was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. In that instance, Manning's pass didn't travel very far, but the dire straits were enough for the yellow flag.

Manning promptly took the Giants down the field on a touchdown drive to extend the lead to 9-0. New England led, 10-9 at the break. It was 17-15 when the Giants began their final drive. Ahmad Bradshaw scored, but according to the announcers, it appeared the Giants wanted Bradshaw to take a knee before going in, the idea being they wanted to let the clock run and prevent Brady & the Patriots from making one last drive. However, the defense provided Bradshaw with redemption, holding firm, and even tagging Brady for a 6-yard sack. Only a penalty for 12 men on the field prevented this from being a clean drive for the defense. New England gained 2 first downs, but time was slipping away, and after spending their last timeout after the sack, New England was just about done. The final play, with 5 seconds left, was the Hail Mary that ended up incomplete.

Brady's quest to become the first QB since Joe Montana to win 4 Super Bowls ended in failure. He remains tied with Troy Aikman (Dallas) at 3, but there is always next year, and the year after that. Brady's wife, model Gisele Bunschen, made headlines when she had asked fans for prayers for her husband at mid-week.

Had the Patriots won, sure, those prayers would've been answered. The team had dedicated their season to the memory of owner Robert Kraft's late wife, hence her initials on their uniforms. That storyline had been largely ignored all season, underplayed because, well, these are the Patriots, the supposed "evil empire" of the NFL, the football equivalent of the New York Yankees, derided as the "evil empire" by Boston fans in particular. In New York, they weren't getting much sympathy from the press, except maybe the New York Times, the only newspaper in the city proper that doesn't deal in tabloid journalism.

Fans in upstate New York are hoping the Lombardi Trophy comes their way, along with the Giants. After a truncated training camp in New Jersey last year because of the lockout, Giants management has hinted that they would return to Albany this July. We won't know for sure for a while yet, but you can bet if it happens, the University at Albany will be a happening place well before school starts.

As for the overhyped commercials? Fuhgeddaboutit! I wasn't paying much attention this year. About the only thing that I actually bothered with was Elton John for Pepsi. Lah-de-dah. The cameo at the end by Flavor Flav (ex-Public Enemy) was overkill.
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A personal note. I feel sorry for some folks I know.

One is my brother, who became a Patriots fan while in college at UMasss. Another is a guy I bowled with last season, who's dating a woman whose family is riddled with Giants fans (though her brother is an Eagles fan). A third is my high school sweetheart, who now lives in Massachusetts and is married to a local native. She was a Giants fan growing up, and still roots for them occasionally---as long as they're not playing the Patriots, that is.
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