Well the best season I can remember has ended with biggest Superbowl upset in the last several decades. The Patriot's perfect season foiled. Eli Manning vindicated. The unbeatable-beaten. Everybody thought the Patriots were a lock to win. Everybody thought the combined score would approach or exceed 50 points. The outcome was such a forgone conclusion that on INSIDE THE NFL last week Bob Costas picked NY to win for the self admitted reason that nobody else would.
What a game! What a year!
And records broken. Pats QB Tom Brady broke Payton Manning’s single season touchdown record. Randy Moss broke the season record for TD receptions. Brent Favre took records for Lifetime TDs, Lifetime Passing Yardage, Wins by a Starting QB, Most Career Pass Attempts, and Most Career Interceptions (oh well). He also added to totals for other records he currently holds, such as Consecutive Starts by a QB, Career Completions, Seasons with 3000 yards passing, Seasons with 300 completions, and seasons with 30 TD passes. Most of the Farvre’s new records came at the expense of Dan Marino and it was easy to see Marino’s reaction since it is now a league rule that Marino must appear on every highlight show made. Hard to imagine that the talk at the end of last season was that Favre was going to retire.
A new league record was set for kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns. (In large part due to Devin Hester for Chicago, who has returned 11 kickoffs and punts for touchdowns in his career. This puts him just behind Dante Hall and Erin Metcalf in the career standings. The difference is that it took Hall 104 games and Metcalf 179 games to reach that mark. Hester has done it in 32. He’s only been playing to two years!) Tony Gonzolez for Kansas City broke the record for the most career receptions for a Tight End with 820 (passing a personal favorite, Shannon Sharpe who had 815). The Cleveland Browns won 10 games (not a record but friggin’ incredible).
You’ve gotta love football.
And then the Patriots get one game away from a perfect season only to lose the Superbowl. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Isn’t hard to lay the blame for the Pat’s defeat at the door of Tom Brady, the golden boy. Sure it wasn’t his fault entirely. Had his offensive line kept him off his back he might not have wildly overthrown every long pass he attempted. OTOH, Manning was able to connect a few key long passes and even when his receivers didn’t come down with the bombs he threw it wasn’t because the passes weren’t on target. For that matter, the first half of the game saw several Manning short passes booted. The NE pass coverage was strong but once the NY pass corps settled they were able to start bringing those passes in and to everyone’s surprise, Manning’s passing game was the pivotal factor.
Unfortunately for New England the fall hasn’t hit the bottom yet. Belichick walked off the field before the end of the game! With one second on the clock it looked like he couldn’t stand to watch the Giants run the last play of the game. He marched onto the field, congratulated Coach Coughlin for the win, and ran for the locker room. Once the field was cleared, the game could finish. This morning the story is that Belichek didn’t realize the game wasn’t over. Seems improbable to me that the “greatest coach in the NFL” can’t read the clock. I know that it must have been unbelievable to him, it was to everybody watching at my house. Still it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that he wasn’t more gentlemanly about it. All that “being a good loser” stuff that you’re supposed to learn from sports.
And if that wasn’t enough, they still have Arlen Specter’s farcically inserting himself into the Signal-gate controversy from the beginning of the season. What a shame that Belichick would have sullied his near-perfect season at both ends. Caught cheating at the beginning, being a poor sport about losing at the end.
But that’s another thing sports is supposed to teach you.
Cheaters never prosper.