By 8:20AM in NYC I was in an elevator on the way to my office. With me in the elevator were two people that work on the same floor as me. One, without mentioning anything else and without saying hello, says “You can’t play that number anymore, I just tried to play it and you cannot play 2-0-1-7 anymore.”
20-17 was the margin the New York Football Giants won in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers. The man was referring to playing “the numbers” and he was truly delighted.
The Giants overcame six sacks of their elite quarterback Eli Manning, forced two fumbles against the NIners, a team that given the ball up only 10 times all season (setting an NFL record), all towards earning a rematch of the Superbowl three seasons ago when the the Giants squared off against the New England Patriots.
(Giants reserve wr Devin Thomas, who played collegiate ball at MIchigan State, recovering the fumble in ovetime that lead to the game winning fg by Tynes)
The Giants played well in all phases of the game - offense, defense, and special teams. This was the culmination of an tumultuous season for the Giants. One where cries to fire head coach Tom Coughlin and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, which were deafening in the middle of the season, turned to praise and adulation.
SF fans will rue the name Kyle Williams for a long time. He botched two punts which gave the Giants two costly turnovers which effectively decided the course of the game. Niner fans should not despair too much because they have a heck of a coach in Jim Harbaugh who took a team that was 6-10 last season and brought them within 4 points of a trip to the Superbowl. They will be back to this stage so the NFC should take notice.
The AFC championship was a classic grudge match of two teams with lots of history. THe New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens battled it out and the Pats won in old school Belichik fashion, harkening back to his days as a defensive coordinator. Brady did not throw a touchdown, he looked awful and more like a game manager than the heir to Joe Montana that he truly is. The defense saved the day, big guys up front, namely Vince Wilfork plugged up the middle, kept Ray Rice, the undersized running back of the Ravens who has huge legs and a bigger heart, was unable to get a big run off.
So now the Patriots are back and the whole country should be afraid. It is as if the Founding Fathers themselves resurrected themselves to ensure victory. It’s as if some twisted order has been restored to the NFL with the return of the Patriots to the Superbowl. You could just hear coach Belichik whispering some incantation on the sideline causing Ravens kicker, Cundiff to hook the ball in a hastily kicked field goal miss ushering in the roar of the entire New England region.
It’s going to be New York vs New England. Again. Are You Ready?