I’m a huge, and I mean huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. If you think about this logically, you would assume that since my team did not even come close to making the playoffs that I would root for another National Football Conference East team. Well, that definitely wouldn’t be the Dallas Cowboys, but how about the wildcard winner New York Giants?
Don’t get me wrong, I was running circles around the regular bar-goers with their Cowboy jerseys on when the Giants pulled the first of three upsets. But really, how did the Giants win that game?
They most definitely won with their defense because Giants’ Eli Manning was 12 for 18 with 163 yards compared to the Cowboys’ Tony Romo’s 18 completions for 201 yards, but with one critical interception that stopped their drive at the end of the game. So, one team down, two to go.
The next week I was again at the “hosie” truly believing the Giants couldn’t do it again, especially playing the Green Bay Packers at Lambeaux Field.
C’mon, these “cheese heads” are bred in negative degree weather, how can they not use that to their advantage? But, yet again, something weird took place and the Packers quarterback Brett Favre choked, literally on the wind chill, and him and his team lost the game.
Ok, so this time I wasn’t screaming at the top of my lungs in jubilation because I was witnessing something that just didn’t seem right.
Not only were my Eagles not in the Giants’ shoes, but also these all-star teams seemed to all of a sudden blow the games that count most. Two teams down, one to go.
Now, I follow sports pretty closely and I was the most confident I have ever been in saying that the New England Patriots were going to come into Phoenix and blow the Giants out of the water and prove their perfection. An 18-0 team, a record-breaking season from star quarterback Tom Brady and wide-receiver Randy Moss and one of the biggest fan bases in all of professional sports.
How can anything overcome that? I didn’t even think that the Giants, being hot on the road, could cause any threat to a nearly perfect squad.
Coming from a small town based around high school sports, our fans always root for the underdog because our teams were in that position for quite a while.
Me, I’m the complete opposite; the better teams deserves to win.
Yes, I hate Brady because his Alma Mater is the University of Michigan and being a Penn State fan, they just don’t click.
But, with all of that aside, I couldn’t deny his natural talent and had to show my support.
So, again, I traveled home to Weatherly’s famous firehouse to hopefully be entertained by saddened Giant fans in what I thought was going to be a blowout. As each quarter passed, I couldn’t believe my eyes that the Pats weren’t pulling away.
I kept assuring myself, “Kasey, don’t worry, you won’t be wrong, you know your shit.”
Just as those words flowed through my mind, here comes Brady connecting with Moss in the end zone to take the lead, 14-10. Wow, what a relief that was. I pretty much put the game in the bag and allowed my blood pressure to drop.
As the time was dwindling down, I noticed that these underdog Giants were putting forth a pretty strong effort on their drive.
There was no way this was going to happen. Now with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter and the Giants facing a third down and five on THEIR 44-yard line, my emotions were flaring like crazy.
As Manning took the snap in the shotgun and was instantly rushed by Adalius Thomas, Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green and I saw a slight tug of Manning’s jersey, my heart went a flutter.
“He’s going down, it’s over, it’s over,” I said myself.
Then the “miracle play” took place. Manning, stepping back into the pocket threw the pigskin to a tightly covered David Tyree.
This action was one of the most slow- moving passes I have ever seen. There was no way that this ball was going to get past safety Rodney Harrison and into the soft hands of Tyree. And then, to my amazement, everything that I thought about the entire game meant nothing because I was wrong.
Tyree held onto that ball like he was jumping for the Vince Lombardi trophy himself and keeping the drive alive that ultimately resulted in a Giant touchdown.
In the end, I was the brunt of everyone’s’ jokes that night and I guess I deserved it. I just don’t get it and never will.
How can this team possibly pull three straight upsets like this? And why, oh why did Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick wear a red sweatshirt? Why couldn’t he just do what he was doing all season and wear his navy blue and gray?
Being an athlete, I am a huge believer of superstitions and that just could have been the team’s downfall. I will never know.
I guess all I can take out of this experience is that I should never underestimate the underdog and the cinderella story in the game of sports.
Anything can happen on any given day to any given team and this streak by the Giants proves that.
All I know is next year for the “big game,” I will sit around that same old bar with the same old people and keep my mouth shut and simply enjoy the commercials.