I need to start saying that I'm really not making excuses here for the Pats. Simmons really summed up well the feelings I have about the Pats in that they didn't really show that much excitement or grit and were overconfident coming into the game. I'm not sure how it translated onto TV, but it was clear that the Giants came out on every play like they were shot out of a cannon while the Pats looked like they were just biding their time (and it almost worked!). The Pats performance was so lackluster and unimaginative that I felt like we were watching the Kansas City Chiefs or Penn State Football. But that didn't lose them the game. The Pats lost because the Giants front four ATE THEM FOR F'N BREAKFAST! Strahan, Osi and Tuck DOMINATED that game and every facet of it. It was one of the most inspired defensive performances I've ever seen. And really that should have been the story. But nope, rather than focus on the real story, the pages of the Newspapers and the morning talk shows and the radio were all praising Eli Manning. He of the three dropped interceptions (the one interception Hobbs actually caught was not Eli's fault unless you fault him for throwing one of his signature horrible balls), 56% completion percentage and extremely shaky first 3 quarters (though he wasn't horrible on the first drive, he blew it in the red zone). And that's what bothers me. It's fucking disgraceful.
As I've made abundantly clear on several occasions, I do not think much of Eli Manning (least subtly, I wrote a piece entitled "Is Eli The Worst QB In The NFL? A good read if you've got a minute...). Because I live in New York and I have no DirecTv access, I am forced to watch his third rate Quarterbacking every fucking Sundee from August to December. The only game I've ever seen him play better than mediocre is the Pats regular season game. Every other time he's been horrible. I know that is not necessarily accurate, but I'm not even going to come close to suggesting that I'm not biased here. I REALLY hate the guy and view his performance through shit colored glasses. So please keep that in mind as I digress here (and it WILL be a digression...).
My main premise here is that credit should be given where credit is due. Does Eli deserve some credit for the win? Of course he does. Tyree's catch never would have happened without his remarkable escape. He drove down the entire field in the final two minutes needing a touchdown and he got it... IN THE F'N SUPER BOWL! That's impressive. It's just not the story of why the Giants won the game. The story was the D-line. And they were even less talked about in the newspapers and radio shows than Belichick's walk off the field (the unwarranted outrage over that move deserves an entire separate post). The Giants sacked Brady 5 times and hit him 23 times! He had only been sacked 21 times all season! The Giants' D held the Pats to fewer points than they score in most quarters! Oh but no. We need to stroke Eli Manning for Rodney Harrison missing a tackle on Boss, David Tyree being a freak and Ellis Hobbs blowing out his groin and leaving Plax all by his lonesome. Instead we hear about how amazing Eli is and are forced to listen to people compare him to Joe Montana (if you type in "Eli Manning" and "Joe Montana" into Google News, there are 415 articles. I know there aren't that many final drives in NFL history so you can't compare it to much and some of those stories in this search are angry folks like myself calling bullshit on the NY media's overhyping, but come the fuck on.... Eli is as close to Joe Montana as Joran Van der Sloot is to Mother Teresa. I don't care how amazing you thought that drive was.). I can't fucking take it.
I know I'm probably doing a horrible job of being objective and my arguments (if you can even call them that) are not all that strong, but I think I can best bring this home by putting it this way: Eli had that game lost a second before Tyree gave them another shot. Asante Samuel makes that play ALL THE FUCKING TIME... and Eli threw it right to him! It was a horrendous play and was the biggest play of the game. And if Asante makes that play, Eli is the goat of all goats. The Giants' defense would be praised to the high hills for controlling the game and Eli could never show his face in this town again. They may have to trade him. And what makes me so mad about that is not that it cost the Pats the game (even though it did) but that with the game on the line and his team having given him a shot by playing so well for 58 minutes, Eli blew the game and the Giants' season. No one gave them a shot to be in this position and his teammates willed them to this spot with one of the greatest defensive performances in Super Bowl history. And how did Eli respond? He threw the ball directly to a Pro Bowl Cornerback on the other team. And by pure luck, he got another chance and his team made the most out of it (or I should say Eli threw up an answered prayer and then lobbed a pass to a 6'5" receiver after his defender injured himself). Yet for some reason, Eli is being handed ALL the credit for this game (with some going to Tyree, deservedly so). It doesn't make sense to me.
Look, I recognize QBs get more credit than most players no matter what happens and Eli did make the pass to Tyree and the pass to a wide open Plax, but he also blew the game. Meanwhile all the Giants' front four did was dominate the best offense in league history and make one of the best QBs in league history look more flustered than Mario Lopez getting denied access to the Stone Rose at the Maxim party (I'll get into that). Yeah, I'm biased, but even a more levelheaded observer would have to admit that in terms of achievement, the Giants' defense's effort was light years more impressive than Eli's. And if you can't see that, you're as stupid as Eli is bad at football.