They didn't break my heart; they gave it a mighty squeeze and punctured it a little.
It's now 4:35 am in London, and I feel like I want to throw up. This could be due to either sadness/disappointment/frustration or my contracting scurvy from a lack of vegetables. And yet I can only imagine how elated a lot of you are feeling. You may be Giants fans, haters of the Patriots, or fans who just like seeing the underdog win, and I'd like to think you're all dancing in the streets and/or drunk as hell. So to all of you happy people in the NFL universe, congratulations. Go celebrate.
I had a really good time tonight watching the Super Bowl at the Cheers Bar in London with my best friend. We got chills when Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem, and everyone in the bar started cheering. We all sang along to Tom Petty during the halftime show. I was so giddy when Randy Moss caught the touchdown in the fourth quarter. I reminisced about how I felt when they won the last three championships.
The fairy tale was great. The ending just sucks. It absolutely sucks. I'm a glass-half-full kinda gal, and I'll get to that in a minute, but I've never been this sad after a sporting event. Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS doesn't count, because I went to bed after Pedro Martinez gave up the tying run because I was so pissed off and so sure the Red Sox would lose, I didn't think it was worth it. My friend and I ran across the street to catch the bus home, and slouched in our seats, starving and confused. I didn't cry, which I'm proud of, but I couldn't help but think about how they, the Patriots, all feel. I feel sad that they're sad, as if I know them.
What hurts the most, to me, is all they've put into the season. They were perfect, record-wise, until tonight, when they had to be perfect. They waited until the last game of the season to play their worst offensively. The offense didn't have rhythm until the second-to-last drive. The defense did the whole bend-but-don't-break thing, until they absolutely needed to, and failed. Tom Brady looked off most of the night; whether it was the ankle, I don't know, only he does. They decided to completely abandon the run game. The offensive line was a sieve for the first time in a long time. They basically became a shell of themselves, and picked the worst time to do so. And they nearly won the facking game anyways. I swear to God, they were singing "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, GOODBYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYE" after Eli Manning threw the touchdown to Plaxico Burress, and I still thought they had a shot.
But it was not to be. The Giants deserved to win. The pass rush was relentless. Eli was awesome. The receivers played well. Brandon Jacobs bowled his way to yardage when he needed to. Pass coverage was good. They didn't play a perfect game, but they played a damn good one. Better than the Patriots did, that's for sure.
Why the Patriots did all of the above? Who knows, and, at this point, who cares. They lost the Super Bowl, and there's nothing they can do to change that. It's not like they can go back to the drawing board and prepare for next week. There is no next week. The season's over.
But I am a half-glass-full kinda gal. There are so many reasons why I loved the 2007 Patriots, and one loss isn't going to take away one of the most magical seasons in the history of professional sports and probably in my lifeltime. I fell in love with Wes Welker. I fell in love with Tom Brady all over again. I began to appreciate Randy Moss. I got excited about Lawrence Maroney in the playoffs. I loved how the organization handled Spygate, as much as I hate that they did it in the first place. I loved beating Indianapolis, San Diego twice, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and New York. I loved how so many people got infinitely pissed off at how good they were, but I just sat back and enjoyed it. I don't think I will ever have a team like this one.
Even the Giants...I'm happy for them. Especially for Eli, who has probably taken more undeserved shit than any athlete I've ever seen. He's been as inconsistent as all hell, but he's a quarterback in the NFL. Not every QB is a Tom Brady or a Ben Roethlisberger. It's a complicated job. He's growing, he's maturing, he's a leader and a Super Bowl champion (who's laughing now, Tiki?). Tom Coughlin, a classic hard-ass, gets his due for being one and coming into the game with a great game plan. Michael Strahan gets a ring. Amani Toomer gets a ring. And Tiki Barber doesn't...poetic justice is a bitch, ain't it, Tik?
So yeah, the whole "I didn't cry" thing? Out the window. Boston.com's sports page has a picture of Junior Seau, face down on the turf, under the headline "Nobody's Perfect." God knows worse things have happened to me, but this facking hurts.
Shit happens. Reality bites. But life goes on.