OK, unless you are one of those people who hate sports, or TV, or both, you know the Giants did it again, beating the Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl, 21-17. And, were you one of those anhedonics who does hate what the bulk of us at worst cannot resist, I really doubt you would have read this far.
And, in the scheme of things, the game was really not that much more scintilating than the commercials. In fact the Doritos ad with the dog who killed the cat and buried the evidence might have been as compelling.
Not that it was a bad game, but to me it did tend to plod. In fact the only really memorable play to me was the terrific Mario Manningham catch (alright, throw by Eli Manning first). Though Manning's toss to Victor Cruz was also pretty good, and there were a number of fine defensive plays--Chase Blackburn's seemingly impossible interception, for one--but it is hard to tell what makes a compelling game. Or is that more, it is hard to tell what makes a game compelling?
For example, in the 2008 match-up between the Pats and Giants, the final was 17-14, meaning at best each team found themselves right around a field goal shy of Sunday's fete. But, somehow that game did indeed feel compelling. Maybe it was because the Giants were such underdogs, while the Patriots were trying to close out a perfect season, and it is not like Sunday's game was a bad one.
For there were not a lot of penalties, nor a lot of turnovers for that matter. But, I found it hard to root hard one way or another. For, while I did think Brady and the Pats would win as the superior team, so did I want Eli and the Giants to prevail because I love it that Manning now has more Super Bowl rings than his illustrious brother. For, if you think about it, Peyton has been a first round fantasy pick for years. He was even selected in my Kathy League Gifford, as a long shot where we have to play two signal callers a week. Just in case.
Well, I took Carson Palmer "just in case," much to the horror of my league mates, and that one worked. But, I also grabbed Eli in the fifth round (actually the second round of the draft, but, we do get to freeze up to three players each). Further, it is not that I dislike Peyton, but, well, as a younger brother, I can appreciate Eli's success.
So, back to the game, it was not bad, but as my friend Steve Chattler pointed out, the Giants should have had more points by the half. And, I thought the game would have been that elusive more compelling if the Giants had won, but if each squad had netted ten more points each with a final of 31-27, somehow that might have been the ticket.
In the end, though, Super Bowl day is still a lot of fun. I planned for a couple of days, and probably should have conceded before kickoff that the Giants would win when Diane asked for Manhattan Clam Chowder instead of New England. And, it turned out well, though if you like to cook, the guy at the fishmarket told me buying fresh littleneck clams was really not worth the effort, and that I should go canned.
As for the game, it is true that halfway through the third period, things started to kick in gear, and well, the fourth quarter actually was pretty exciting. In fact, as the Giants marched downfield for their final drive, and Ahmad Bradshaw tried to fall down when, to some, the Pats inexplicitly let the running back score, things were tight.
Now, if you think about it, when was the last time you saw any sporting event--let alone one of this magnitude--where such explicit role reversal was presented? That is, if the objective of the offensive team is to score, they tried not to, while if the purpose of the defense is to prevent scoring, they acquiesced.
Talk about counter intuitive.
In the end, the game boiled down to what almost everyone could want: the Patriots had a chance to win on the last play.
I guess maybe that is compelling after all.