Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hey Man That's Not A Prediction It's a Fact of Life

As many of have already known by now, those unstoppable New England Patriots completed stage one of their mission to cement themselves as the greatest team in NFL history by beating the New York Giants and completing the first perfect season since the 1972 Dolphins. It was an event that was pretty hard to avoid considering all the significance of the game, the hype, the media attention, and not to mention the three network simulcast. All in all it was I believe the most watched televised regular season game in NFL history.

As a testament to the inherent injustice of the universe I myself actually found myself with a free ticket to this historic game, courtesy of a friend with a season ticket holding father who just happened to away this weekend. In light of reports of Patriots fans paying ridiculous Super Bowl scalper prices and the Giants faithful coming out to support a Patriots beat down in the very same stadium that in Week 1 they were found to be disgraced, video taping cheaters, I was pretty low on the depth chart in terms of people who actually wanted to see this game. I would have been more content with just playing Madden at home and catching the scores afterward.

These were two teams that I really disliked. As a Buffalo Bills fan I could never forgive the Giants for their dumb luck Super Bowl XXV victory off of Scott Norwood's infamous wide right kick. Also living in North Jersey you get more than your fair share of jerk ass Giants fans all who also seem to synonymously love the Yankees (the most evil organization in all of professional sports). Of course my hatred of the Patriots is much in the vein of rest of the country outside of the New England area: their suspected cheating, their evil genius head coach, their arrogance, their relentless perfection, etc., etc. It'd be like rooting for Cobra Kai in Karate Kid, or the Hawks in the Mighty Ducks, or Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Adding to that default disdain was also the fact that they, being our division rivals, had beaten us twice this year to a combined score of 94-17.

So you could see I was torn as to who to root for. It was a decision I wrestled with all through the 6 plus hour tailgating festivities in the parking lot. No matter how many Miller High Life cans I knocked back or how many hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, I consumed it was a tough call. As we all finally finished up and made that long march across the parking lots into the stadium amidst the sea of jerseys and hooded sweatshirts I realized there was only one cutting the Goridan knot solution that would satisfy me: a tie. I know it's a fairly rare occurrence and something both teams would probably no everything to avoid, but it was the only logical way that both my goals of disappointing both teams and their obnoxious fan bases would be accomplished. A tie would technically be a blemish on the perfect season of the Pats while at the same time leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the Giants fans. As everyone knows by now, the Giants fell a field goal and a futile overtime short of achieving my ultimate goal, so here were some other personal observations from the easy to swallow bullet form!
  • Actually this was one the way to the game, but my friend and I saw on the exit to the stadium a large billboard for Citizen Watches featuring an especially intense looking Eli Manning and the words "Unstoppable" (it was basically this ad except without a picture of a watch). The notion of anyone calling Eli Manning "unstoppable" had us laughing until we got to the gate.
  • At the beginning of the game the video screens showed clips of the famous Dec 13, 1998 game between the Giants and the Denver Broncos where the Giants, led by career jobber QB Kent Graham, ruined the Broncos perfect season in week 15. This instance of past precedent in standing in the way of perfection gave me undue optimism that the Giants might pull off the upset. It also reminded me how old WR Amani Toomer was.
  • I counted at least three fights alone in the general area where I was sitting. The smattering of Drunken Masshole Pat fans and drunken Jersey Giants fans made for more tension than the Smiths.
  • During a lull in the game the video screens showed a top 5 countdown of Giants Season Finales. Former Giants star RB Tiki Barber (who abruptly retired in his prime at the end of last season and became a host on the Today Show) was featured on two of them. A healthy chorus of boos erupted every time. That's NY sports for ya.
  • I predicted before hand that if Patriots WR Wes Welker had at least 10 receptions in the game the Patriots were going to win (He had 11 for 122 yards). Of all the superstars on the Pats, I firmly believe he is the absolute key to beating them. I mean how many drives has he kept alive this season with his hella cheap first down catches?
  • When the Giants went up 28-16 in the 3rd quarter you could tell by the reaction what kind of fans were who. Most young Giants fans were overflowing with optimism, most Patriots fans were still fairly confident but starting to get a little nervous, and true long time Giants fans were glad to have the lead but were already expecting the worse.
  • The Dane Cook doppelganger with the backwards Giants hat that sat next to me kept expecting high fives and fist bumps from me every time the Giants scored, forced a punt, got a first down, drank Gatorade. At first it was just an annoying hassle but as the Giants started to flail towards the end of the game, I kinda missed it.
  • In an ocean of current stars (Manning, Brady, Burress, Moss, etc.) and former stars (Simms, Taylor, Carson, etc.) it was quite a sight to see the guy three rows ahead of me sporting a 18 Jeff Feagles jersey honoring the 41 year old Giants punter (and all time NFL punts leader).
  • If the Giants were going to lose, it really should have been in some sort of massive blow out loss so we could have beaten the traffic home. The worst possible scenario is a close loss which gives us the fans the lovely consolation prize of bumper to bumper immobile parking lot traffic.
For the G-Men I predict a standard fare first round exit by the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This will most likely preserve coach Coughlin's job for another year and insure a future of perpetual adequateness with no actual breakout success. For that team of destiny from New England, I can only hope that somebody in the AFC (I'm thinking the Colts, or the dangerous Chargers) can must up enough perfection on their own to stop these magnificent bastards. Ayn Rand might be all for the objective success of this extraordinary team, but somebody needs to bring them down that notch and make them just another good team, before it's too late.

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