Afternoon Baseball

Common-sense ruminations on baseball and culture.

The two best national games this year involved the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
Not to knock the fine efforts by other squads, particularly the Colts in the regular season and the Chargers in the playoffs, but the only matchups of equals were in Week 17 and the Super Bowl. Yes, I said equals.

The Giants are overachievers. But they aren't a fluke. They play solid ball, with talented recievers (a legit #1, solid #2 and contributors throughout), a passable running game, a very good line. On defense, they have the best front line football has seen in years, and that helps compensate for less-than-awesomeness elsewhere. But this team stopped beating itself three months ago, and Eli Manning joined them after the Minnesota four-INT disaster.

They make teams expend energy, make them execute -- not just with big plays or with a drive or two, but constantly, over dozens of plays. They're the rare team that wants the pressure of having its defense tested time and again, of leading the fourth-quarter drive.

Make no mistake: If these teams play 10 times, the Pats win eight, maybe nine. But the Giants were a worthy foe, a worthy champion, and one that simply seemed to be calm through the playoffs. It's a rare balance to enjoy being there but still having the ambition to do more. The Giants found that, and hopefully, they persuaded many of their fans before the game ended tonight.

I've never been a Giants optimist (my default pick is 7-9 and has been for a decade and a half), but I believed in this team every round. Why? I don't know. It certainly wasn't my exhaustive football knowledge. The only thing I did know was that I was seeing a team execute, play to its potential. Is that always enough? No. But it is always enough to have faith in your team doing its absolute best. Luckily for me, that meant a Super Bowl title.

The Patriots have a tough time ahead. The only, and miserably small, consolation? They got beat. They didn't lose this. I've no joy at that, merely at the win. But there's plenty more joy at rejoicing a championship than celebrating someone's fall.

The biggest win in Giants history. And there's been plenty of them. The 1986 Giants had dominance. The 1990 team had the thrills of last-second wins and the human interest of backup Jeff Hostetler leading the charge. The 2000 team was just fun to watch until Jason Sehorn helped lead a dive job. Or rather, I pretend they threw it because it's less painful than knowing they lost by 27.

But I digress. This has been the most fun Giants team, in my opinion, I've ever watched, and I thought that before tonight. Tonight just makes the memories entirely happy.

1 Responses to “18-1”

  1. # Anonymous bumfromjersey

    Superbowl > Giants vs. Packers > Giants vs. Patriots, Week 17. Those were the three best games of the year in that order. I am tempted to throw out the Giants vs. Patriots, week 17 and replace it with Patriots vs. Colts from earlier this season. That game was flat out more competitive throughout (the Giants lost by 4 when but could have lost by 11 if that game ended a minute earlier).

    Thats being said, even though I am a Jets fan, the super bowl was absolutely amazing. I was happy to see the Giants win (again I am a Jets fan so that feeling can last ony so long) and the Patriots lose. What was the best part of it for me was that no one could argue that that this was more about the Patriots losing then the Giants winning. Those are the best kind of games because it removes all the 'what ifs' the following day.  

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