Saturday, February 6

Super Bowl Countdown #8: Super Bowl XLII

During the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl, I will be counting down the best Super Bowls I have witnessed in my lifetime, starting in 1988. I created a ranking system and will go game by game reliving each edition until the top Super Bowl is listed.

It is time to take my medicine. This Super Bowl was the worst I have ever had to endure. While I can say that I live a blessed life when I can say that this February day was one of the worst I have ever seen, it just plain sucked to be a Pats fan for a long time after this game. I understand the incredible joy and release other fans had for this game but it was Super Bowl I would like to forget although I never will. As a disclaimer, this will not be a Simmons type of post where I complain about officiating or blame the loss on extraneous factors. The Giants deserve the win and it belongs to them. The Phoenix Pounding out of Perfection is next.

New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

Semi-Lame Nickname: "Who Wants It More?"

Historical Significance- 5: While the biggest focus was on the Patriots trying to become the first team to go 19-0, the Giants had history oftheir own right. This was the Giants' 4th Super Bowl, all with a different QB and they became the first NFC Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl, winning each playoff game on the road. The Patriots completed the first ever 16-0 regular season. The team was mired in controversy after the Jets complained to the league about the videotaping on the field of a Patriots assistant in week 2. After that the Patriots made their mission to go Cobra Kai on the league, showing no mercy as they won every game en route to the playoffs. The two teams played each other in the final week of the season, with the Pats escaping 38-35 as Brady and Moss broke the record for TDs at their respective positions on the clinching TD.

Game Enjoyment By the Fans- 5: All fans united against the Patriots, it was like nothing the league had ever seen. After the Spygate business and the arrogance of the Pats, fans were fervent in hoping for someone to stop their march to perfection. The story came to dominate the NFL during the season. When the Patriots failed to win the Super Bowl, it was more than the '72 Dolphins rejoicing, it was a legion of fans realizing they never had to deal with Patriot fans using this season to attempt to trump any sports argument from now until eternity.

High Profile Element-4.5: The Patriots had lost the 2006 AFC Championship to the Colts, largely because Tom Brady had receivers make critical errors on key plays. The bug-eyed drops that prevented them from clinching that game so the Patriots dealt a 24th round pick for Randy Moss(LOL Al Davis) and 2nd and 7th round pick for Wes Welker. The addition of Dante Stallworth as a 3rd receiver and Adalius Thomas at linebacker finished the best personnel the Patriots had produced. Early on in the season New England was in the zone; they beat the Chargers at home, Dallas and Indy on the road and blew out weaker opponents. Toward the end of the season the Patriots had to hold on in games against the Eagles, Ravens, and Giants but still prevailed. They ultimately failed but when you take a step back the team was incredible:

The Giants on the other hand began the season in turmoil, losing their first two games. Eli Manning's leadership came into question, but the Giants were able to bounce back and win 10 games. After dispatching Tampa in the Wild Card round, they upset Dallas and Green Bay in overtime. The strength of the team was in their defensive line, with Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck.

Venue/Atmosphere- 5: The scene at the Super Bowl was crazy. Both teams had fans that travel well and the element of the undefeated season provided extra excitement. Glendale provided a great backdrop and stadium for the event. Even Joe Buck seemed a little excited for the game. Jordan Sparks performed the national anthem. Tom Petty sang the halftime show. At this point the game was 7-3 so there was much left in doubt. Musical taste is extremely personal in taste but I will say I am a huge Tom Petty fan so I thought the choice was a huge home run.

Personal Enjoyment- 2: It was pretty hard for me not to put a "1" in the column for this game. It goes without saying that I did not enjoy this game, but the historic nature of it allowed me to (sort of) put it in perspective.

Cleet's Rating Index: 21.5

Where I Was: I was in my final semester of grad school when this game took place. I was toughing it out by living at home and working the graveyard shift stocking shelves at the local store to pay my bills. I had to work the night of the Super Bowl and it took near begging to let him allow me to come into work an hour late so I could watch the full game. I made a deal that I would stay later into the morning.

My parents came into the room to watch the 2nd half while I paced the floor after the Giants took a 10-7 lead. When Brady went to Moss with 2:42 left I thought it was in the bag, but it was not to be. On the play when Manning hit Burress for the winning TD my Mom saw the play unfold before the pass even came close to Plaxico. She saw Plaxico had Hobbs beat and screamed out "Oh no!" That was the worst night of work I ever had. Aside from being in a bad mood, the store was in a mess and the trucks had not been unloaded properly so I was there until after 8 am. I had plenty of time to relive the game instantly in my mind.

What Happened in the World: A day after the game Iran launched a rocket into space after it opened its first space center. I'm a believer making your country economically feasible before you try to enter space but maybe that's just me.

Record of Note: The 3 lead changes in the 4th quarter were a Super Bowl record which brought the excitement to an otherwise dull, sloppy, defensive battle.

Game MVP: Eli Manning's two 4th quarter touchdowns earned him the MVP. For all the scrutiny that was piled on ELi throughout the year, he played lights out in the playoffs that year.

Most Memorable Play: No quips, no comments, no complaining of holding or dissertation on lucky catches, this play will be replayed even after I am long gone.

NFL Fallout: After a wedding Catfish and I attended for our friend K-man this past summer we went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. In the modern wing of the building they had an area set-up with this Super Bowl on replay. I will never escape this game, because it was a great Super Bowl and provides a chance for people to always throw out the 18-1 tag and there is nothing I can do. It is what it is. The Patriots were a great team, the team of the decade, but when it was their time to make history, they failed.

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