Good game yesterday! Here's some thoughts:
Letting Them Score - Patriots coach Bill Belichick made the right move by allowing Giants running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, to score with about 58 seconds left, but he should have done it earlier. In fact, I would have let New York score as soon as the Giants crossed the 20. Had they done that, the Patriots would have had about 2 minutes and 2 timeouts to score a game winning touchdown, which is a virtually eternity at the end of the game. I know that sounds strange, but Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes is pretty accurate, and though I don't have statistics in front of me, he doesn't miss field goals under 40 yards often (for those who don't know, if the ball is at the 20, the field goal attempt is from 37 yards). In those types of situations, I'd always rather have the ball, so I can dictate my results instead of placing hope that someone else will screw up. Especially when the quarterback engineering the possible game winning drive is Tom Brady. (also, some people at the party I went to thought Bradshaw was "showboating" during that final touchdown because he paused at the one inch line before falling in. He wasn't. He briefly considered kneeling the ball at the one inch line to burn more clock and set up a chip shot field goal (which would have been very smart), but at the last moment he decided to go for the sure thing (which I can't really blame him for either, I suppose). In fact, Bill Barnwell over at Grantland posited that had Bradshaw kneeled the ball at the 1 inch line, the Giants win probability was at 96 percent. Because he scored, it decreased to 89 percent. Barnwell didnt put up the percentages for what I was suggesting, but hey, that's what I would have done (and said so at the time). Also, some might say "well the pressure of the super bowl might make all those stats null and void," and you may have a point, but that really is impossible to measure.
Gronkowski Must Have Been Really Hurt: We all know about his high ankle sprain and kudos to him for playing through the pain. But a healthy Gronkowski does not let Chase Blackburn outduel him for a ball on a long pass when he's healthy. Also, Blackburn must have set a Superbowl record for being the player wearing the highest number for an interception that far down field. Guys who wear the number 93 generally aren't making interception 40+ yards downfield.
The Patriots Desperately Need A Deep Threat: When your idea of a deep threat is a hobbled tight end running up the seams, you do not have a deep threat. The Pats successfully worked their short game (they wore that out route out to Hernandez), but their offense lacks the weapons to go downfield. I have a feeling you'll see one or two speedsters in Patriots uniforms next season. And their failure at getting the ball downfield had more to do with lack of talent than the Giants vaunted pass rush (which was good, but the Pats did leave in extra blockers often to handle it and give Brady time. Since the Pats often play with 2 TE sets, they are generally better prepared to have heavier protection...as opposed to them spreading the field with receivers, leaving them vulnerable to blitzes and such. Which is what happened in their last match-up a few years ago.)
Who Is Better, Peyton or Eli: I mentioned last week that if Eli Manning won the super bowl (giving him 2 wins in the big game), many would start to say he's better than his older brother Peyton (who only won 1). I said it was a dumb argument then, and it is now. They are both great and it should be left at that. Football is a game with a gazillion things that factor into its outcome, and if Super Bowl wins were the only metric we consider when discussing great QBs, then Trent Dilfer, Mark Rypien, and Brad Johnson are all better than Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and Fran Tarkenton. And I think any football fan would agree that's absurd.
Well Played Game, Not Many Memorable Plays: Outside of the Manningham catch on the final drive (awesome throw, Eli!) there weren't many memorable plays in this game. It was well played by both sides, very well coached by both sides, and it was virtually turn over free (aside from the Blackburn pick), even though the Giants put the ball on the carpet 3 times, though they recovered two and the third was negated by a penalty.
Halftime Show: Who cares. Though remember that prop bet I mentioned about Madonna's hair? Blond vs the field? I assume that color is considered blond, right? Did it have some brown in it?
Commercials: I didn't really pay attention. Though I noticed those polar bears were back.
Crazy Bets: Some crazy asshole won 50,000 dollars because he bet a thousand dollars that the first score of the game would be a safety. He must be incredibly rich, or he spoke to Miss Cleo before the game, because putting a thousand dollars on the off chance that there's a safety to start the game? Unreal. Hell, I wouldn't have even bet 5 bucks that the game would feature a safety period. Nice job, crazy asshole!
Good Super Bowl, congrats to the Giants, and for all the Giants fans...yes, I hate you, but enjoy it. Now, lets bring on Free Agency and The Draft!