Monday, January 21, 2008

Title Game Wrap - MTAC's Thoughts

First off, good for the Giants and Eli Manning. Maligned for so long all year, Eli played his best football at the right time. Nobody outside of New York was rooting for them. Yet they stayed quiet, ran the ball with authority, played solid defense, and had Eli manage the game. All of it added up to a Super Bowl trip. Kicker Lawrence Tynes has to be the most relieved man in America. Had the Packers won in OT, he would have been strung up by his balls in New York and gone down as the biggest goat in Giants history.

Four things struck me during this game:

1. Tom Coughlin's wind-burnt face - My man is a noted red-ass, but nobody has ever seen a face this wind-burnt. When my father was battling cancer, I used to have to take him to his radiation appointments at times. We would sit int he waiting room and see other patients with faces that were completely red where their skin had been burned off by the radiation. This was the first time I've seen a man's face this bad since then. At least it was worth it for Coughlin. he is going to the Super Bowl.

2. Fox's coverage is so weak - Curt Menafee is the host? Is it really necessary to have these guys outside in -20 degree wind chill? What does that prove. Terry Bradshaw forgetting to talk into his microphone? But worst of all was the camera coverage. Tynes kicks the game winning Field Goal after missing two late in the fourth quarter, yet they didn't have one single shot of his reaction to making the kick. Not one. But they did show Archie Manning in a box with a bunch of randoms. Not that you could even tell it was him. That is bad production.

3. The great Brett Favre laid an egg - For all of the love-fest articles and TV talking heads fawning all over him, Brett Favre lost this game for the Packers. He reverted to Favre of 2004-2007, trying to force passes and putting balls up for grabs. The game would have never reached OT if not for RW McQuarters fumbling a Favre INT back to the Packers deep in Giants territory. Take away the 90 yard TD pass to Donald Driver where Giants CB Corey Webster fell down leaving Driver wide open, and Favre's numbers were extremely pedestrian. He picked the wrong time to play poorly. Nobody in the national media will say that out loud, because as well know Favre is the Messiah, but it is the truth.

4. Did you notice how Eli Manning was the Jimmy V of 2008? He was trying to find somebody to hug. Nobody went for him. I think that speaks volumes. From everything that has been said by the Giants players about Eli in the media, you get the feeling that he isn't loved in that locker room.

Not that I am happy in the least bit that the world will now be subjected to New York vs. Boston in yet another sport, but this will probably be the best game. After all, the Giants battled the Patriots better than any other team during the regular season. They line opened at Patriots -13. At first glance, you gotta like the points, don't you?

The AFC title game was kind of a bore I thought. The Patriots proved yesterday again they don't have to play there best game to win against essentially any team in the league. Randy Moss, such a beast during the regular season, has been a non-factor in both playoff wins. Yet, the defense stiffened in the red zone and that was the big difference. You don't beat the Patriots kicking Field Goals.

One fact that has flown under the radar is the teams that rested their regulars down the stretch are all out, while the teams who played it to the wire mostly played well in January. I truly believe the Patriots run to perfection was paramount to them getting to the Super Bowl. Look at the Colts. They rested Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, etc, etc in the last two games of the season, had a bye week, and then lost at home to the Chargers. Tampa Bay rested Jeff Garcia over the last 3-4 weeks and they came out flat and were smoked by the Giants. Those same Giants played all of their starters against the Pats on that last Saturday night of the season and while they lost the game, they were given a huge confidence boost going into the playoffs.

Two weeks of hype being today. I know the NFL finds it necessary, but I find it lame. In two weeks, we will be so over saturated with crap, the game will be secondary. It always is. I hope that this year is a little different because of the fact that the Patriots are going for a perfect season. But odds are it won't be.

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