Whether it’s done in sports or any other aspect of life, perfection is something very few of us are able to attain. Even witnessing a player or a team being “perfect” is such a rarity in sports like football and college basketball, where perfection is not completely out of the question but very far-fetched.
The New England Patriots got through 18 games unscathed, and seemed to be on course to join the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins as the only teams in NFL history to complete the perfect season. They’ve got all the tools to pull it off: a genius of a head coach, a superstar quarterback, and an offense stacked with talented players.
So how could the New York Giants, a team with a head coach who has been criticized for years with multiple teams and a quarterback known for usually holding his team down, upset the powerhouse Patriots and win the Super Bowl?
We’re talking about Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, not just any other team.
First of all, luck was certainly on the Giants’ side, with some of Eli Manning’s rainbow passes not getting intercepted when they should have been. How Eli came away with a Super Bowl ring and did not fold under pressure just befuddles me; this was a guy who usually never showed up in big games and had his leadership questioned at the beginning of the season.
But maybe this just wasn’t the Patriots’ night. Maybe they were destined not to win this game.
One thing I know for sure is that the Pats, despite ending the year with a ‘1’ in the loss column, put together one of the great seasons in sports. Patriot fans should be thankful for their team putting together such an incredible run this year.
Keeping an unblemished record in any sport is very hard and puts a huge target on that team’s back. Not many teams have been in a situation like New England’s, being on the brink of perfection only to get knocked off in the championship game.
The 1991 UNLV basketball team completely dominated their opponents and was undefeated heading into its game with Duke in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. The funny thing about this is that UNLV had beaten Duke in the championship game the year before and had experience playing against this team, just like the Giants did coming into Sunday’s game. Anyway, Duke pulled off the upset and left the Rebels heartbroken.
The same thing happened with Southern Cal’s college football team in 2005, heading into the championship game against Texas with consecutive national titles and an undefeated record. Unfortunately for them, they faced a quarterback named Vince Young.
It’s like having a perfect game or a no-hitter in baseball with two outs in the ninth inning, only to see it broken up after coming so close. New England had history in the palm of its hand, leading 14-10 with less than one minute remaining, but saw its perfect season broken up when Eli finished the drive with a game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress.
Another year goes by, another attempt at a perfect season halted. Will we remember the Giants as Super Bowl 42 champs or the team that ended the Pats’ perfect season? We’ll let the history books figure that one out.
Bold Prediction of the Week: Nobody will care about the Pro Bowl.