Iím well aware that many Dtoiders probably have little to no interest in sports and thus donít care about the content of this blog post. But Iím going to go ahead with it anyway.
Last night, the New York Giants pulled off the third-greatest upset in Super Bowl history (by betting spread, that is) by defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII ó thatís 42
, for the Roman numeral-challenged. Going into the game, the Giants were 12-point underdogs, and the only two more significant surprises came in 2002 and 1969. In Super Bowl XXXVI, the St. Louis Rams were beaten 20-17 by the 14-point underdog Patriots. In Super Bowl III (1969), the Baltimore Colts were favored by 17 points over the AFLís New York Jets, who shocked the world by winning 16-7. (The Jetsí quarterback, Joe Namath, had famously guaranteed a win prior to the game.)
As the above image of ESPNís homepage (three and a half hours after the end of the game) shows, they thought it couldnít be done. Most analysts were picking scores like 42-10, 31-17, and the like (in favor of the Patriots, of course). Either way, everybody expected a high-scoring game; when these two teams met in Week 17, the Patriots eked out a 38-35 win, and the over/under in the Super Bowl was 53 points. Instead, what we got was a tight defensive battle that turned out to be one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory. The three lead changes in the fourth quarter set a new Super Bowl record, and this nailbiter came right down to the wire.
While it was the Giants (especially WR Plaxico Burress) who came under fire during the past week for talking trash, the Patriots were patronizing the Giants before and during the game: Giants WR Amani Toomer mentioned that members of the Pats were inviting the Giants to their celebratory postgame parties, and that Richard Seymour taunted, ďGet ready to go home,Ē during the now-famous last touchdown drive. But I knew all along that the Giants had a legitimate shot, especially when they got the ball back with 2:39 to go, down 14-10. Thatís plenty of time in football, especially when you have all three of your timeouts and the two-minute warning. And Eli Manning got it done. Finally stepping out from his older brotherís shadow, he engineered a fantastic 12-play, 83-yard touchdown drive, capped by a floating touchdown pass to a wide-open Plaxico Burress. But the drive may have been stopped in its tracks were it not for a play that may come to be known as ďThe Catch IIĒ or ďThe Catch, Jr.Ē On third-and-5 from the Giantsí 44, Manning somehow evaded a sure sack and threw a lob to David Tyree, who leaped and snagged the ball out of the air, Rodney Harrison be damned. Tyree trapped the ball against his helmet at one point, and the amazing 32-yard pass play continued the drive.
The Giants were able to overcome incredible odds because of a great team effort ó their offense wasnít spectacular, but it got the job done in the clutch, and their special teams play held up. But it was the defense that was the heart of this upset victory. Against a Patriots offensive line with three Pro Bowlers, the Giants sacked Tom Brady five times and hit him 18 times, not including the sacks. The Giantsí D kept them in the game, and then it was up to Eli. What a game, what a win, what a season. Iím still amazed, and you know what the best part is? Most sports video games use the previous seasonís championship contenders as their default opponents, especially in demos. Itís going to be a great feeling to see the Giants and Patriots at the team select screen for Madden NFL 09
Iíll leave you all with one last image of the Giant upset: