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Everyone has seen it. Everyone has been apart of it. When the unbelievable happens, when a team or a person does the unexplainable, the hype and cover-ups make their way out of the shadows.
This is evident when people say, "Brett Favre isn't at fault for the interception that lost the Green Bay Packers a chance to score in overtime, it was the wind and cold weather," or "Plaxico Burress has been hurt all year, so if he can't perform to his star status then that must be the cause," but by far, the one excuse that was kindled not by the player himself, but by sports writers and fans alike is the injury to the ankle of Tom Brady.
The fact Brady went out in public with the boot on, full well knowing he would be followed by photographers. Begs to question what he was thinking. The Patriots have made it a point to keep the media out of their business the whole season. Brady, above all, could write a book on how to respond to the media in any situation. The president of the United States of America should hire Brady for his PR council.
In what was a slow two weeks for media, the injury to Brady's foot became front page news. It was analyzed by sports writers and columnists. Yet, the one thing everyone avoided saying. The one thing everyone refused to consider, was if this was nothing more then an easy way for New England, for Tom Brady, for the fans to explain any chance of a loss to the New York Giants.
I must admit, I am definitely not a Patriots fan, but above all things I am a hater of New York sports! So now that we have that out of the way, know that this article has no bias in it, for I would not cheer for either team.
Brady set this up for himself, maybe not purposefully, to have a way to write off any possible defeat during the Super Bowl. A defeat that nobody thought was possible, and would be called blasphemy if the mere idea was mentioned in the New England area. Yet Brady, and even Belichick, spoke up days before the Super Bowl to say the ankle was fully healthy, and would not hinder the MVP quarterback on Sunday. I was waiting for this press conference. Praying they would say this so the doubters and the naysayer’s would have nothing to go off of and nothing to cover up any chance of a loss.
After one of the most amazing Super Bowl games played this decade, an upset that left me, and no doubt everyone else saying "wow, what just happened", I was stunned when I saw it wasn't Tom Brady, or Randy Moss, or even Coach B. that cried foul! It started first with the Fox post game mentioning how the ankle appeared to slow Brady down and limit his ability to move in the pocket. Then, ESPN analysts stated the ankle caused Brady to get out of rhythm and make bad decisions. Finally, it spread like the San Diego wildfire and got out of control.
This no longer was about a Giants team that defied the explainable by holding a juggernaut to only 14 points. The lowest points total they have scored all year! It was no longer about a defense that sacked the golden boy five times and hit him 14 times. It wasn't about the team that won against all odds. It was about how the Patriots lost -- and it was all due to Brady not being fully healthy for the game.
Now, understandably, people want to find a reason for their team’s loss. They need to find the only reason their team could possibly not have pulled out a win. They need to find an excuse!
I am still reading and hearing about Brady's hurt foot being the cause of his poor play for the majority of the game. So let’s debunk that option for the sake of fair play.
Brady was sacked 3 times and rushed 8 times in the first half. Randy Moss was a no factor till after the half when he finally caught the pass for the go-ahead touchdown. The Patriots were held to only 45 rushing yards all game. This means it is not Brady's fault they lost the game. It is definitely not his ankles fault they lost the game. It was their inability to deal with the ferocity of the Giants defense. It was the offensive lines fault for not protecting their quarterback. It was the Giants fault for being the better team this past Sunday.
Brady threw 11 completions to Wes Welker. Brady was 29-48 passing with 266 yards on 1 touchdown. Brady had a good game! However, Brady was getting hit so often by the front four of the D-line, it was near impossible for him to get into any kind of rhythm till midway into the fourth quarter. At this time Brady started to use the three step drop and hitting receivers on short slants and out passes into the flats. If Brady had begun this small ball, passer friendly style earlier, the game would have been over by halftime.
In the end, give credit where credit is due.
- Eli Manning for playing a poised game. Passing for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Giants defensive line for getting more sacks in any one game this season against the Patriots.
- David Tyree for catching the two most important passes of his career (one for a touchdown, the other to save the game for the giants and put them scoring position).
- Amani Toomer for stepping up big and being a primary target for Eli when Plaxico Burress was having an off day.
- Rodney Harrison for having 12 tackles and being one of the only bright spots on a defense that played only par.
- Tom Brady for keeping his composure, only turning the ball over one time, and driving the ball 80 yards to put them in the lead with 2:25 left in the game.
This was a great game. I can only hope the two teams get this far in 2008. It will give the fans a good display.