Wow, what a game!  I was lucky enough to have been in great company while watching the Super Bowl.  My better half and some very close friends.  We were all glued to the TV until the very last second, just like the 113,000,000 other viewers that were not in Indianapolis on Sunday. 

Funny thing, though.  After the game was over, I was receiving condolences for having missed the call on this one.  I’m not sure why because I think I nailed it.  Okay, so I had the other team winning.  But what do you say we take a look at the rest of my pregame prognostications (there’s that big word again). 

Let’s review what I said were the keys to the game. 

The key for the Patriots is to protect Brady and give him enough time to make the plays. 

Was it just me or did the Giants have him on the run for the majority of the game?  Okay, so they only registered two sacks, but Brady was hurried and chased for all but a brief spell at the end of the 2nd quarter and the beginning of the 3rd quarter.  This led to a lot of hurried passes, a saftey and an interception. 

The Giants ‘defense needs to be tenacious.  They need to be as physical as ever and make sure that Brady never has the opportunity to stand around looking for an open receiver.’ 

Anybody remember what happened on New England’s very first play from scrimmage?  That’s right, an intentional grounding penalty while standing in his own end zone, resulting in a safety.  How’s that for setting the tone early? 

The Giants ‘secondary must be able to handle man coverage because there are too many potential targets for a zone coverage to handle.  In order for this to happen effectively, they cannot let either tight end come off the line unhindered.’ 

For the majority of the game, there was a New York defender lined up at the line of scrimmage in front of the tight end.  When they pulled back and removed this defender, Brady found the big guy every time (mostly Hernandez). 

The Giants ‘need to furnish the … protection for Eli Manning.’  ‘If given the time, he is also very capable of picking the defense apart.’ 

Again, this did not occur all game long, but at key moments, Eli was able to stand in the pocket for more than five seconds, keeping drives alive, more often than his counterpart was able to.  (Can you say Manningham?) 

The Giants ‘need to establish the running game early.’ 

Okay, this didn’t happen until their second possession, as the run game was stuffed for three yards on four carries during the first possession.  However, the second possession was much different, with the running backs combining for 36 yards on just four carries, which ended with Manning finding Cruz for a touchdown.  The final stats for the Giants’ running back corps was 115 yards on 27 carries, which equates to about 4 ¼ yards per carry.  This allowed Manning to utilize the passing game effectively. 

I also stated that I wouldn’t be surprised if either team won, I thought it would be very close and it wouldn’t be decided until the final three minutes.  Even though I picked the Patriots to win, I’m still feeling pretty good about the outcome. 

Now, let’s hit the controversial topics that came out of the game.  Once again, we’re hearing one person being blamed for the outcome of the game.  Didn’t we already cover this after the Ravens/Patriots game?  One dropped pass does not mean that guy gets to shoulder the blame for the loss.  Okay, it would have been nice for Patriot fans if the pass had been caught, but a true football fan knows that New England had a golden opportunity to run away with the game early in the third quarter, but failed to do so. 

After the Giants had dominated for the first 22 minutes of the game, New England got things rolling to close out the first half with a 10-9 lead.  They picked up where they left off to begin the second half, marching down the field in 3:35 to score a quick TD, taking a 17-9 lead.  They looked like they were ready to destroy the Giants at that point. 

The problem is they had nothing left after that point.  Their next three possessions included a three-and-out punt, an interception and a stalled drive punt.  The next time they touched the ball, they were down by four points with less than a minute to go in the game. 

Another topic that has become controversial for several reasons is the Bradshaw touchdown with 1:04 left in the game.  First of all, it looked like he was showboating when he stopped short of the goal line, turned around, and then fell into the end zone.  However, after seeing the play over and over again, it became apparent that he was actually trying to stop, but couldn’t keep from falling across the goal line. 

In subsequent interviews, he confirmed this.  Apparently as Manning was handing him the ball (in the middle of the actual play) he told Ahmad “don’t score”.  It didn’t register until he hit the two yard line and by then it was too late.  The fact that the Patriots stepped aside and let him score didn’t help. 

Which leads us to the last controversy.  “How could they just stand there and let him score?”  How many times have you heard that over the past two days?  Well like it or not, it was probably the best call to make.  Look, a chip shot field goal attempt of 23 yards is going to be successful 19 out of 20 times.  Would you rather face those odds with the final seconds ticking away or would you rather put the ball in Tom Brady’s hands with a minute left?  To me, this was a no-brainer. 

The bottom line is this…both teams had the opportunity to win this game going away, but neither one was able to.  In the end, the Giants were able to do what was needed to pull out the victory.  For that, I say “CONGRATULATIONS”!



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