By Josh Kramer
So long football season. It has been real. Now America’s favorite sport goes on an extended hiatus. Basketball takes center stage and baseball is on the horizon. I think it is safe to say that the 92nd edition of NFL football did not disappoint by any means and we are all as excited as ever for Year #93. Here are the main items that have caught my attention over the past couple or days.
So maybe the big game was not as high scoring of an affair as many would have hoped. I think we can all agree that it was far more entertaining than the BCS National Championship Game that we all had to suffer through nearly a month ago. The fact of the matter is, the entire football world got to bear witness to an outstanding football game that came down to the final play. Really, what more can you ask for?
In all honesty, the “Super” spectacle was a very evenly matched affair. Plain and simple, Eli Manning outplayed Tom Brady. He was slightly better in terms of every statistical category there is for a quarterback. So much for the question of whether Eli is an “Elite” quarterback. Maybe they should change his nickname from “Easy (though it is very appropriate)” to “Elite.” Not only is the younger Manning “Elite,” but now he appears Canton bound after catching his second Super Bowl title and second Super Bowl MVP Award.
Really though, when you try to break this game down, it was near even in almost every facet. The Giants had a few more first downs and 47 more total yards. Even the penalty yards were nearly identical. Outside of Eli outplaying Brady on the big stage yet again though, the Giants won this game on paper for two reasons. First of all, they had possession of the ball for 14 minutes and 10 seconds longer than New England. Any time you want to beat the Patriots, the top priority outside of winning is keeping the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. Well check that one off the list for the G-Men. Secondly, New York won the turnover battle. As I have said over and over on this very website, outside of the final score, the turnover battle is nearly always the most foretelling statistic in regards to the outcome of a football game. Now I realize that the game only had one turnover and in essence, Brady’s INT was a makeshift punt. But New York took care of the ball, and even when they had mishaps (two fumbles), they somehow found a way to recover (thank Henry Hynoski for playing the game of his life).
This game has been spun so many different ways already. I mean it is the Super Bowl, the most highly publicized sporting event of the year in American sports. There is really not too much else that can be broken down or that has not already been said over the past two plus weeks. I will leave you with this to ponder though. The New York Giants were a 7 and 7 team on Christmas Eve heading into a game against the crosstown rival Jets. New England on that same date was sitting pretty at 11 and 3 heading into a date with a “much better than their record showed” Dolphins team. On February 5th, less than two months later, Eli Manning is heading to Disney World, while Tom Brady and Co. will go back to the drawing board. Maybe they should change the NFL’s name to the NFLP. The National Football League of Parity. I know it is cheesy, but who really saw the Giants, a team that had a coach on the hot seat for much of the season, bringing home their second Lombardi Trophy in four years? This in a way has similarities to last season’s epic March Madness, when a vastly underachieving UConn team went 9 and 9 in Big East play, and somehow managed to cut down the nets. People love unpredictability. People love underdogs. And most of all, people love sports. This is a fact that nobody can deny.
Don’t worry Wes
It pains me to see a guy like Wes Welker on the verge of tears. A guy who has come from nothing, and gotten the absolute most out of his abilities. Welker embodies all that is right in the world of sports. And sure, he dropped a pass on Sunday that likely would have iced the game, but a football game should never be solely reliant upon one play. Wes catches that pass 9 times out of 10, even though it was not a great throw by Mr. Precision himself, Tom Brady. Sunday night, he did not.
Say hello to Reggie Johnson
The majority of America had no idea who Reggie Johnson was heading into Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening, a good deal of the nation knew who the Miami 6 foot 10, 284 pound center out of Winston-Salem was. Johnson has had a solid season, but Sunday, he put together a Dwight Howard like performance with 27 points and 12 rebounds, leading the “U” to their first ever victory in Cameron Indoor Stadium. To add to the magnitude of this victory. Duke had only lost six home games against unranked opponents since the start of the 1996-1997 season. The Blue Devils have now lost two of their last three against unranked foes at home.
The Los Angeles All-Stars
Four of the five Western Conference All-Star starters play for teams out of Los Angeles (Bryant, Bynum, Paul, Griffin). Maybe they should add in an extra event where the NBA All-Stars take on the Los Angeles All-Stars?
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.