Congrats to the New York Giants.
Congrats to Eli and Ahmad, JPP and Osi.
Congrats to the Jordan Rabinowitzs, Diana Glogaus and Megan Brocketts of the world who stuck with Big Blue all season long. You didn’t give up after a 28-14 opening day loss in Washington, nor did you after a 23-10 defeat to the very same Redskins back in New York in Week 15. To all Giants fans across campus and across the world, congratulations.
A Jets fan first and foremost, I cringed when Lawrence Tynes nailed the game-winning field goal in San Francisco a little over two weeks ago to set up the second Giants-Patriots Super Bowl in four years.
Gang Green’s divisional rival against their in-stadium rival wasn’t something I was looking forward to in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. I picked the Pats to win it all because that was my hunch, but deep down as a New Yorker I was rooting against them.
So when Tom Brady’s Hail Mary fell inches from the outstretched fingertips of Rob Gronkowski as time expired on Sunday, I exhaled. The G-Men dodged one final bullet and snatched the Lombardi trophy from Belichick and Brady once again. But that last play said more about the game than anything you’ll hear about it for years. Besides this commentary, of course.
As I watched the game from a surprisingly less-than-crowded Tully’s in University Plaza with a few friends, one thought kept creeping into my head and out of my mouth: “Jeez. That was lucky.”
From fumbles that weren’t (read: 12 men on the field negates Victor Cruz fumble deep in New England territory) to simple drops in crunch time (see: Hernandez, Welker, Branch), Big Blue caught breaks all through Super Bowl XLVI that are directly to thank for their Big Victory.
Now, now, before you get the wrong idea and come find me tomorrow (I have class in Lecture Hall 8 at 11:40 a.m., but don’t get any ideas), hear me out.
I’m not saying the Giants didn’t deserve this victory. They did their job, made plays when they needed to and are reaping the rewards. But I think the story of this year’s Super Bowl is more that the Patriots beat themselves than anything else.
A championship football team is, among other things, one that takes advantage of an opponent’s mistakes. The Giants did that and did it well.
So when that big, oddly-shaped ball was knocked away from Aaron Hernandez and fell just out of reach of both Rob Gronkowski and — yes, though overlooked, he was close too — Wes Welker, the Patriots were oh-so-close to making up for every miscue over the previous 60 minutes of play.
And as the nation exhaled, some in pain and some in jubilation, one thought consumed me one last time.
“Jeez. That was lucky.”