Here are some miscellaneous thoughts as we head into Super Bowl XLVI.
1) A few days ago Glenn wrote a piece in praise of the work of Bill Belichick. I have admiration for the DC that brought us XXI and XXV. I did comment though that we need to be reminded about the cheating that took place, especially Francesa's BLUNT reporting that both Faulk and Warner (XXXVI) knew that the only way the Patriots could be so prepared was to know what was taking place before it happened. In H2, the Rams ditched their SB playbook and went to unplanned stuff with much better results. Unfortunately for them, it was too little too late.
I find the comments of Amani Toomer to be typically candid and blunt. Asked if he would put an asterisk next to the Pats SB wins: “I would,” he said in an interview on “The Jim Rome Show” yesterday. “I would, definitely. Without question." You have to consider that Toomer is not one to back away from the truth. His comments about Super Bowl XXXV 9 years later are stunning in their honesty. Given that I have not read any challenges to what Toomer said about that Super Bowl, and given the lack of comments to deny any of the cheating allegations in the Patriots past, I am feeling pretty certain about what took place. All we have in concrete terms is the franchise's loss of a 1st round draft pick in 2008, but it is pretty obvious that the NFL cannot afford to admit that one title (XXXVI) was stolen and two others are tainted.
2) There is a piece from yesterday that is written by Senior NFL Columnist Clark Judge of CBS Sports. He asks aloud with complete bewilderment at how Gilbride doesn't get the love. To the uninitiated here on this NY Giants blog, we are not the biggest fans of Kevin Gilbride. We have documented over the years with maddening frustration at how the Giants OC weaves straw from gold. Whether it is the Steelers- Giants game in 2008, or even the NFC Championship game vs SF only 13 days ago, we know what the KG story is. The Giants scored exactly one TD in the game vs a very good Niners defense (w/o the aid of a turnover). We don't think we are completely clueless when we actually called for the play that generated the TD, using Pascoe in the red zone. In fact, after rereading the Final Thoughts Before the NFC Championship, I'd say that we nailed the game, the morning before kickoff. The only thing Clark Judge nailed was his complete lack of knowledge of Gilbride, the one who coaches to tendency to his team's detriment. Keep going into the teeth of the Steeler defense, KG. Keep going into the teeth of the 49er defense, KG. Keep asking why the phone doesn't ring for KG, Mr. Judge.
Maybe, just maybe, KG will break tendency and turn the strobe light back on for a few moments in XLVI. I'm not holding my breath, but I sure will throw him the props if he does so, because it will mean another Giants title.
3) The NY Post writers are looking for a Giants victory, but not as biased and wide as I would have expected. 10 out of a total of 14 (71%) pick the Gmen. I'm happy it wasn't more lopsided. And in terms of trying to gauge consensus, I want to share a story from 4 years ago before XLII. Someone I was chatting with who knew I was a Giants fan told me he liked the Patriots to win the game. I smiled politely and finished the conversation. Then someone else who overheard the exchange came up to me and politely said, don't worry, he's always wrong about his sports predictions. Fast forward to four years later, and I was wearing my Giants tie (yes, I wear it ~ once per year to amortize the gift from my wife), which prompted many smiles from others. As luck would have it, I bumped into the same man again. His prediction was for a comfortable Patriots win in XLVI. Translated-> Good news for Giants fans!
4) There is one player who quietly does his job, gets less praise from us than he deserves, but let me rectify that in some small part by singling out the work of Matthias Kiwanuka. Everyone wants to throw a parade for Reese, but let's remember that this guy ignores LBer year after year, to the team's disadvantage. So the coaches have to make Grant into a pseudo LBer. And they have to make a 6'5" 266 lb DEFENSIVE END into a Linebacker. Let's remember that he suffered a season-ending injury in 2007, which forced him to miss XLII. Here, in 2011, he is playing out of position and he is doing the best he can to help the team. Belichick is going to target him, because Kiwi really does not belong in coverage. But I'll be rooting for this team guy because it's not his fault that his GM keeps drafting DL instead of LBer. He just quietly sucks it up and does what he is asked to do. That means he doesn't get the glory of Osi, JPP, and Tuck, but let's hope he gets the ring. I'm sure that'll be enough for the quiet warrior.