Monday, February 6, 2012

Eli And The Elis

Right about the time that the football just eluded Rob Gronkowski as Super Bowl XLVI, TigerBlog decided that if the Giants don't win a game in the next 10 years, he won't complain.

TB woke up today in a world where Eli Manning has won more Super Bowls than Peyton Manning and where Eli joins Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady as the only players with more than one Super Bowl MVP award.

The Giants, who lost twice to the Redskins and at home to the Seattle Seahawks, won their second Super Bowl in four year, doing so in eerily similar fashion to the one IV years earlier, right up to rallying past the Patriots with a late touchdown (aided by a sensational throw-and-catch by Manning to a wide receiver, though the one Mario Maningham made yesterday wasn't anything close to what David Tyree did) and then holding their collective breath waiting to see if Brady would pull off a miracle.

More Super Bowl thoughts:

* TB isn't sure if the Giants did the right thing by scoring the touchdown there, but it's not Ahmad Bradshaw's responsibility to stop short of the end zone, especially when he had already fumbled once. If the Giants had wanted to run the clock down and then kick a field goal with about 15 seconds left, then they should have had Manning kneel down in the middle of the field. Still, a lot could have gone wrong - a bad snap, a blocked kick, a simple miss, even a kickoff out of bounds that leads to a completion and long game-winner for the Pats. Making the Pats have to score a touchdown might not have been the worst idea ever.

* There aren't too many players who strike fear in TB the way Brady does. It seems like every time he touches the ball, he's about to do something to incinerate the other team. Manning doesn't really inspire that same emotion, but he's so surgical, especially in crunch time. He's clearly headed for the Hall of Fame.

* It's amazing that the Giants have now won two Super Bowls in years in which the call for Tom Coughlin to be fired was loud. The Giants have to be commended for not making the kind of knee-jerk decisions - not only with their head coach but also in personnel - that doom other teams.

* The holding call on Cornell's Kevin Boothe was weak, but it had a huge impact on the game. In fact, had the Giants not scored their last touchdown and the Pats run out the clock to win 17-12, that holding call would have been the biggest moment of the game.

* TB is happy for Marc Ross, the former Princeton wide receiver who is the Giants Director of College Scouting.

* Maybe the most overlooked play (and player) in the game was Chase Blackburn and his interception. Blackburn went from being released and becoming a substitute middle school math teacher to being the Giants third or fourth best defensive player during the last 10 weeks of the season. Maybe the fact that he was fresher than everyone else made such a huge difference?

* The only Super Bowl commercial that TB liked was the one with the big dog who gets caught burying the family cat and then bribes the owner with Doritos. All of the other commercials, it seemed, tried way too hard. Seriously, you can't get a better commercial with Jerry Seinfeld?

* Why is anyone suprised that M.I.A. gave her middle finger to the audience and cursed during the halftime show? The whole goal is to be noticed, right? Well, she got noticed. Doesn't matter why.

Anyway, the Giants fourth Super Bowl championship and second in four years puts TB in the position of never being able to complain again about anything the team does.

While TB was rooting hard for Eli, he was definitely rooting against the Elis. As in the Yale Elis.

Princeton split with Yale in basketball, as the women won 72-47 against a team that is either the second or third best in the league (along with Harvard). The men dropped a tough game in New Haven, but they should benefit greatly by finally getting to play at home.

And then there was this score:

Princeton 8, Yale 1.

That was the men's squash final score, in the match between the third-ranked Tigers and top-ranked Bulldogs, a match that almost surely was to decide the Ivy League championship.

Coming off a 7-2 loss to Trinity earlier in the week, Princeton might have been lacking confidence heading into the match against a Yale team that had beaten Trinity 5-4 earlier this season and who had narrowly edged the Tigers for the Ivy title the last two years.

When TB first checked out the score, the match was already over, as the Tigers had already rung up five wins.

The win should have a huge impact on the seedings for the national tournament, which really could be a four-team race, with Princeton, Yale, Trinity and Harvard all capable. The key is to stay out of the third seed and get an easier quarterfinal, and Princeton's win over Yale might have sealed that for the Tigers.

Besides, should Princeton beat Cornell (a very tough foe who lost 5-4 to Harvard) and Columbia, it would have an outright title. One win means at least a share.

And it's always good to have at least one of your major goals accomplished as the season winds down.

A big win over the Elis and a bigger win for Eli.

Not a bad weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In real time, I thought it was a good idea for the Giants to score their late touchdown for the simple reason that, while an 18-yard field goal from dead center between the hash marks is probably a 95% probability, given the high stakes of the game, it's still putting your kicking team in a pressurized situation.

But then subsequent circumstances seemed to suggest otherwise. On the Patriots' final drive, they started off with two dropped passes (the throw to Branch might have been slightly tipped). And they still almost won. If the Hail Mary had been tipped two feet higher, Gronkowski catches it and we have the greatest Super Bowl finish ever.

To me, the fact that the Patriots came so close to winning despite arguably playing poorly on the last drive is a strong argument that the Giants would have been better off running off another forty seconds and kicking a field goal.