Monday, February 4, 2008

Giants' Gutsy Gamble

Their team was called Giants, but as the days drew closer to the Super Bowl, they were practically written off as the inevitable second placer and the team name seemed a misnomer. The Patriots were heavily favored because of their unblemished record in the regular season and the playoffs; and the fact that they bagged 3 of the last 7 Super Bowls. The much heralded Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, touted as the fair-haired boy of the National Football League, was being bandied about like a conquering hero, as if the game was all over but the final buzzer when it hasn't even begun. But the Giants quietly worked out their signals and their strategy. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just good solid teamwork and smothering defense.

Every NFL fan knows the story by now, most specially fans of the Giants in New York. I can already hear the plaudits that Dave Letterman will say together with his trademark smirk and Michael Jackson-like hoot. The Giants were the lilliputians in this battle based on all the forecasts, and the Giants fans were only hoping for an upset. But they proved to be giant killers and emerged triumphantly as genuine Giants.

The Giants took on a big gamble, putting everything they had on defense. They would ensure that no clear passes would emanate from Tom Brady. The defense was untiring and unwavering throughout the game, resulting in Brady being sacked five times. He was so harassed that he was throwing hurried, harried passes and a dozen or so bad ones. The powerful offensives of the Patriots seldom saw completion, although they led by some points. The gamble paid off and the big defensive plays were the key to the Giants victory. While write ups extol Eli Manning, the efforts of Justin Tuck, Corey Webster and Gibril Wilson should also get solid mention.

Eli Manning beat Tom Brady for MVP honors, duplicating the feat of his elder sibling Peyton last year. Booed several times by his own home state for what is perceived as lacking heart, Eli proved that he was Mr. cool under pressure with that 32 yard pass to David Tyree, putting the Giants on New England's 24 yard line. The second gamble was in the final offense, when Eli threw a pass to Plaxico Burress for the touchdown and the win. Burress missed practice all week because of a lingering ankle injury that seemed to impact on his game considerably. But he played and played wisely with what he had left. It wasn't the most spectacular acrobatic catch, but it was one the Giants needed the most.

Eli Manning has finally come out of the shadow of his elder brother to be his own man. The giants victory is indeed anchored on his ability and keen sense of how the game is progressing. The gamble was a classic strategy of putting their strength on the weakest point of the enemy, defense. It has paid off handsomely. As for the Patriots, it's a bitter and heart breaking defeat, but the lesson is clear: like a New York Opera, it's not over till the fat lady sings; and the Giants are now singing their hearts out - making it big in the city that never sleeps.



horatio salt said...

The Giants were the only team this season to knock Brady on his butt time after time. It's tough to throw long when you're sitting on the ground. Defense wins championships? Quite a concept for the modern pass-happy era in the NFL.

angesbiz said...

Although I do not follow the NFL, I did hear that the Patriots had not lost a game this season! Great effort. I guess the championship wasn't meant for them this time. My other half will be disappointed.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Horatio, I agree with you. And the offense (pass-happy era)focus in the NFL is also visible in other sports such as the NBA and Hockey. People like to see the spectacular getaways, the long perfect passes and the acrobatic catches, the rough and tumble way of getting to score. But its always defense that's key. SunTzu in the Art of War is more on defense. The 300 Spartans were defenders, while they all died, the enemy wasn't strong enough to invade their homeland.

This concept has to take root in America. It will put a stop too for the clamor to go to war and focus on defense, i.e., find out why attacks are launched and correct these, rather than launch a counter attack which does not correct anything. --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Ange, I'm sorry about your other half but if he happened to watch the game, he would understand the power of defense which rendered the Patriot's vaunted offense toothless.

The Patriots had a perfect season (16-0, and a perfect playoff (2-0), and needed only one win to cap a legendary championship. Maybe the idea of becoming legends have put pressure on them, and the write ups and forecasts that have extolled them prior to Super Bowl added extra pressure from expectations. They have now become the Legends of the Fall. --Durano, done!

Kim said...

it was very exciting Durano....
and you have written such a good wrap up...
although I'm not too familiar with this type of football it is definitely contagious ....especially when you back the underdog and they win ;)

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Oh Kim,

My throat still aches a bit from all that screaming-like a banshee; with the neighbors looking at me the next day with grins on their faces.

The American football is a bit like the Rugby, but the latter is more tough and there are no protective gear on the players.

Its always a blissful feeling when the underdog you root for beats all odds and comes out triumphant. It feels so noble, like the victory of right over wrong, good over evil, dark versus light; and winning is truly exhilarating!

It's like a cause you are fighting for, and even if victory is not achieved, the cause lives on; it just refuses to die!

I really have a penchant for lost causes. My quixotic approach to life has been likened to an adventurer. This is one thing I probably have in common with artists like yourself, a kind of idealism that burns within. Without idealists, where would the world be? May our tribe increase! --Durano, done!

The Fitness Diva said...

"Its always a blissful feeling when the underdog you root for beats all odds and comes out triumphant. It feels so noble, like the victory of right over wrong, good over evil, dark versus light; and winning is truly exhilarating!">>

You hit the nail on the head! I love to root for the underdog, the one that most don't give a chance in hell to win. I've always been like that. I guess a part of me, while being the conquering, valiant lion, is also at the same time the lion tamer, if you can decipher that mindset. I've always been the bully beater...never the bully. Watching the bully go down in flames is one of my favorite things...

Anyways, seeing the Giants' comeback in the last two and a half minutes of the game did my heart (and all of NY's as well), some serious good!

My only regret is that I didn't get to go to the parade today. I had to work, darnit! lol

blogtommy said...

I had said some weeks ago that the only D that would put Brady boy on his butt was the Giant D. Having said that I never believed they'd actually win. Not a Giant fan nor NFC fan but really can't stand Belicheat and the whole holier than thou attitude this franchise has carried throughout their record setting season. Eli came of age and the Giants earned the title of NFL Champions. Hat's off to them. PEACE........T

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

Welcome to the club of those who have a penchant for lost causes - the cause of the underdogs.

It was one of the most exciting, nail biting, heart thumping finish to a game that was billed as a walk away for the Patriots. Seeing the underdog giants fight tooth and nail for every yard churned the stomach; feeling like throwing all energies you have to help push the Giants on.

When I saw your post about looking for a bar to watch the games from, I knew I just had to return to your site after the game. Too bad you had to work. At least you can watch the replays. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...


The Giants gambled on Defense, and gambled on the injured Burress, who the Patriots thought would just be a decoy.

As Horatio Salt said, it's hard to imagine any American team going to defense to win a championship. The offense oriented attitude of America displays itself in all sports, even in politics.

The victory via defense is a surprise only because America is not used to it. :-) --Durano, done!

John (Copyright JMM 2007-2008) said...

Excellent - came here via laketress - I live in NY, work in Manhattan and you wrote a good one- one of the best football games of my life and I grew up in SF and followed all those great niners teams.


blogtommy said...

I'm not sure I'd go that far. Some of the most storied franchises and seasons have been built on defense. My Steel Curtain Steelers, The 85 Bears, The Orange Crush in Denver, and to some extent the bears of the last decade..all great defenses and winners. Free agency, rule changes and a desire by big advertising has lead to the romance with the 42-38 contests. It's all relatively new...and yet when the big game actually plays out to be a good one, more often than not the scores are pretty low. Defense wins championships and most coaches get that. Plus I don't think the Giants did much different on D. They lead the lead in sacks all year. They always got after the QB and Plax never practiced all year long with that same injury but always played every Sunday.


durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

John (copyright jmm 2007-2008)

Thanks for passing thru and reading the signs, and the compliment. Drop by again anytime.--Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...


Will there ever be a cure for the ills (free agency, rule changes, big advertising) you cited in the near future? Or are all these part of the "business" development and growth strategies in professional sports?
--Durano, done!