Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Greatest Super Bowl Sunday

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Usually a great day in the NFL, but not for me at least this year. It features two of my most hated teams facing off and I can't even pick a team I want to win. I think the Kitten and Puppy Bowls are where it's going to be at this year for me. I can at least cheer on Hairdell Beckham Jr or Eli Pupping or something like that.

I guess if I had to pick a team to win I would go New England for the lesser of two evils for a few reasons. One, I hope Tom Brady would retire after the game. Two, I don't want to see a team from my teams division win it all. Three, I want my NY Giants to be the only team ever to take down Tom and company in the Super Bowl.

Speaking of that, wasn't Super Bowl 42 the greatest Super Bowl game ever played? Can you really pick a better one?

It was February 3rd 2008. Game Day. I spent the entire day nervously planning what to have for snacks, what jersey I was going to wear and who I was going to invite over. It was a big day for me. A day I wasn't sure I was ever going to see again in my lifetime. Which shockingly I did again four years later but we will discuss that next year unless the Giants are in it
The Giants seemed to had been a team that was up one year down another since 2004 and it was the same way that the 2007 season went. The Giants were on a roll to start out the year, fell flat midway and barely made the playoffs in the end. Did I really expect that team to beat Tampa on the road, go to red hot Dallas and hold on with seconds left with an interception in the end zone, then take a trip to Green Bay for the NFC title game in the freezing cold, pick off Brett Favre in OT after blowing so many FG attempts to win and end up winning on a FG?

And here they were versus the Goliath New England. The one that was 18-0 and was on a roll towards 19-0. The Giants had played them tough in the seasons final game and almost threw off their undefeated season but somehow someway the Patriots found a way to win. It was a high scorer at 38-35. So you could only expect the same result in the Super Bowl...right?
By the way, I am missing the Super Bowl 46 version of this card and if you see it, please pass it on to me :)
I ended up ordering food out, wore my Eli Manning jersey, had my parents over (my father is a huge Giants fan and my mother is a Cowboys one) and my wife was there nervously watching by my side as well as that was her first big game to watch with me. We had Patriots fans, mostly family,  texting us all day and right before kickoff to set this stage even bigger.

Now it was game time.

The Giants took an early 3-0 lead on the first drive of the game with a 32 yard Tynes field goal. That pretty much sums up the first quarter. We will bypass the pass interference on Antonio Pierce pass interference that led to a Patriots early second quarter TD run.

Later on in the second quarter had the Giants on the move after a swifty sideline catch by Amani Toomer that helped the Giants to the Patriots 19 yard line. But, three plays later that turned into a disaster as a ball went off of wide receivers hands and into the Patriots for a pick. Luckily the Giants defense buckled down once again and kept it a 7-3 deficit at the half.

I was still nervous and took off my jersey off at half. A superstition I have if my team is losing at half time at any point in the season. We all enjoyed a great Tom Petty halftime show and got loaded up with more snacks for the second half.

What I didn't expect was a second half that was one for the ages.

The third quarter was pretty quiet. The Patriots did drive down to Giants territory but instead of going for a 49 yard field goal by Gostowski they decided to go for it. The Giants defense made the stop and the score remained the same at the end of three.

So here came the fourth quarter. My team had the ball, trailed by only four points. Something had to give right?

On the first drive of the fourth it did. Eli Manning hit Kevin Boss on an incredible 45 yard catch and run and some plays later on Steve Smith caught a big third down reception setting up the Giants with a 5 yard bullet pass from Eli Manning to David Tyree to give the Giants the lead.

You would have thought someone was attacking us from the loud noises of cheers that could be heard from within my house at that point. It's amazing how much noise four people could make. Luckily the neighbors were at a distance.

None of us could believe we were under five minutes game time away from watching my Giants first Super Bowl win. I wasn't into football when they had won their last and the one they were in previous they got walloped against the Ravens (more on that down the road).

However, my dreams turned to a nightmare fast as New England was quickly chipping away down the field and Tom Brady hit wide receiver Randy Moss on a 6-yard touchdown reception with 2:42 left to play.

I fell to the floor feeling helpless. Was this really how things were going to end after such a magical run?

Well, that answer was no.

Down 14–10, the Giants got the ball on their own 17-yard line with 2:39 left. I couldn't believe they were so backed up and had so far to go. It wasn't like a FG could tie the game, they had to go 83 yards. 83 long, long yards.

The Giants gained a few yards to start out the drive including getting a 4th and one and there was only 1:15 left in the game when a miracle for the miracle season happened.

It was third and five, the Patriots blitzed Eli Manning, I could only watch them surround him, grasp him, and pull him...and sacccc...wait...what...

He somehow freed himself and chugged his legs like a locomotive and threw a pass in the air. The ball felt like it was up for an eternity and after watching him make bad off-balance throws all season, he had 20 picks that season, I knew what was going to happen. The play previous was one of those as well as the Patriots almost picked him off which would have ended. I knew for sure this was it and was the end. I put my head down for half a second before I heard an eruption on the TV and in my house. Somehow or another, God was watching over them that day and David Tyree had made a leap and pinned the football with his right hand to the crown of his helmet for a 32-yard gain.  A stinkin 32 yard gain on a miraculous catch. Wow.

I couldn't stop watching the replay. Incredible.

Another big third down and long play by Steve Smith, who had been hurt all season as a rookie but made big plays when they needed him in this game, put the Giants in good position. I nervously finished chewing off all of my hangnails before watching Eli Manning toss the ball up to an open Plaxico Burress who had a step on the DB for a 13-yardTD reception with 35 seconds remaining.

I danced in my house like never before. High fives all around with a Giants 17-14 lead.

But, I also realized there was 35 seconds left, Tom Brady and the fastest WR in the NFL in Randy Moss to come out. It was time for the defense that played well all game to make one final stop.

The Giants pressured Brady with an errant throw on first down. I took a deep breath and fingers crossed tightly.

Second down rookie DT Jay Alford pressured Brady up the middle and sacked him for a 10 yard loss. Woo hoo *quietly*

Third down, Corey Webster defended a Moss ball. Holy moly that was close.

And on the next play,came a long final Hail Mary attempt, the ball sailed just out of Moss' hands and defended by Gibril Wilson and the Giants were, well, I will let Amani Toomer tell you....

In a improbable season, improbable comeback against an improbable undefeated team where they were 12 point underdogs. Simply incredible game all around.

It wasn't just the upset over the hated Patriots that made Super Bowl 42 the greatest Big Game ever, it was the incredible plays, the moments I had at home watching the game (and after as I ran out in the middle of winter shirtless to celebrate and shook open three sodas) and seeing what I saw I will remember and relive forever.

Thank you NY Giants and thank you Super Bowl 42.


  1. That was a great game! Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

  2. That was a great game for sure. My father was a Giants fan and a touch of that rubbed off on me.

    As for today I'll be rooting for the Pats, but not loudly or with a lot of heart. They have quite a few University of Houston connections so that's the deciding factor. And it's odd...I've seen some humanity emerge from Bill Belichick these last two weeks. He has a soul. How'd have ever guessed?

  3. That game was awesome! By the way Gibril Wilson went to the same high school as me.

  4. Man that was a huge upset. Great game by the Giants and it was one thing to win it all, it was another to take down the Pats like they did. Good memories and great post.