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New York Whoops Boston

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I have no balls.

After talking about the New England Patriot’s upset win against the St. Louis Rams six years ago, I said in this webspace, “Somehow I get a similar feeling with this Sunday’s game.” But I quickly dismissed it.

In the end I picked the Patriots to win the game 34-27, and I was flat wrong and Bill Plaschke was right. And you don’t know how hard it is for me to admit that Plaschke was right.

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This was an amazing game, among the best Super Bowl games ever played. The two big stories to come out of this game was the Giants defense eating up the Patriot’s offensive line, and Eli Manning somehow channeling Fran Tarkenton on the Giant’s last drive.

The Giants absolutely mauled the Patriot’s offensive line, getting to Tom Brady all night. Brady was sacked a season high five times and had no time to make any deep passes. By the end of the game his receivers were running routes of no more than 20 yards.

And what happened to the Patriot’s running game? Laurence Maroney had only 14 carries for 36 yards. Kevin Faulk and Heath Evans rounded out the Patriots running attack poke combining for two carries for nine yards. In the second half the Patriots all but abandoned the running game. Without even attempting to run the game, the Patriots had no way of making the Giants defense stay on their heels. Instead the offensive line led by Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora spent most of the game in the Patriots back field.

The result: the Patriots scoring a season low 14 points. Not the best time to score a season low, It’s amusing to note that when Giant’s receiver Plaxico Burress made an audacious prediction of victory earlier this week, he said the Patriots would score only 17 points. Tom Brady with bemusement dripping from his words thanked Burress for credit for scoring 17 points. I guess Brady wishes that his team could have scored 17 points.

But never in my mind did I think the quarterback with all the accolades would be Eli Manning. Oh my word did he play the game of his life. This game has quieted down all the questions of Eli's leadership abilities. I wonder if Tiki Barber enjoyed the game.

Of course the play that everyone will remember is the catch (with all due respect to Joe Montana and Dwight Clark). With the Giants trailing 14-10 with 1:15 left in the game, there was Eli Manning facing a third and five with the tension mounting. He gets the snap, the Patriots rush four and get to Eli. Like I said before, Eli somehow channels Fran Tarkenton and escapes the grasp of the would-be sack. He rolls to the right and does what every quarterback is instructed never to do: throw across his body back into the middle of the field. 32 yards away, Giants receiver David Tyree was there with Patriots linebacker Rodney Harrison draped all over him. Tyree jumps and somehow grabs the ball away from Harrison. He uses his helmet to secure the ball and falls to the ground having completed what could be the best play ever made in a Super Bowl.

So where does this leave us?

We have a Patriots team that is ultimately a failure. They will go down in a similar fashion as the 1934 and 1942 Chicago Bears teams: all three were perfect leading into their respective championship games and all three went down in defeat. The Patriots had a chance of being in the discussion as being the best team ever. Now they are yet another Super Bowl loser.

And the Giants have left their imprint in history. They are the first team to win 11 consecutive road games in a season, and the Manning brothers are the first brothers to win back-to-back Super Bowl MVPs. Defensive end Michael Strahan has cemented his ticket to the hall of fame, and head coach Tom Coughlin is no longer a joke.

For us, we are left with an amazing game filled with the tension of wondering whether the Giants could actually upset the Patriots. Personally I was back-and-forth all game long, but when the clock ticked 0:00 the feeling was pure exhilaration. And I didn't even play the game!

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I can't wait until next year when we watch the masses huddle in Tampa, Florida watching the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Denver Broncos.

AP Photo by Gene Puskar

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