The New York Giants are the perfect example of why you just need to MAKE IT to the postseason. So are the Colorado Rockies, who as the National League wild card lost to the Red Sox in the most recent World Series. Question is, will the Giants take the final step and bring home the big one by knocking off the heavy favorite?
It's no easy task, just ask the Rockies, who despite their string of winning about 28 of 30 games heading into the World Series, got the snot beat out of them (is that possible in baseball?) as the Red Sox swept the season's final four games.
In a similar position are the Giants, who have won road playoff games in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay. A neutral field (aka University of Phoenix Stadium) will be a welcome addition to New York's state of mind. Still, the Giants are 12.5-point underdogs.
Packers fans are eating their cheeseheads after watching their main man, Brett Favre, throw the decisive interception in Sunday's barnburner (although nothing could have caught fire in that weather, except Eli Manning apparently).
By far the best NFL playoff game, the showdown at Lambeau came down to the final drive of regulation, when the Giants' Lawrence Tynes missed a field goal. However, it quickly became apparent that New York must be the NFC team of destiny as Tynes won the game shortly thereafter with a field goal 13 yards LONGER. He must've been wearing steel-toed kicking shoes to boot a football-shaped ice cube 47 yards.
Well, everyone has two weeks to recover from their frostbite and other nagging injuries. Oh, and by the way, the Patriots are on their way to Arizona as well. But did we really have to tell you that? The Patsies are 18-0, and are still doing their best to ensure THEY are in fact the team of destiny (you have to wonder, though, with the way the Giants have played).
Things have lined up perfectly for New England, as they played a hobbled San Diego team to advance to SBXLII. The Chargers should be commended for keeping the game close throughout, and their defense continued to be spectacular.
That said, it's time for two cold-weather teams to converge on the desert. Perhaps they can turn the air conditioning way up in UofP Stadium so they both feel at home.
Super Bowl XLII Breakdown
New York Giants (13-6) vs. New England Patriots (18-0) Sunday, Feb. 3, 4:18 p.m. MST Line: New England -12.5 Prediction: New England 28, New York 17
How can anyone pick against the Patriots? Although, most fans would have preferred to see Brett Favre play against Tom Brady in SBXLII, the whole point is to have the best two teams square off, and you can't argue that the Giants don't have some huge moxie after going into Dallas and knocking off the Cowboys, and then surviving the cold and the fans at the Frozen Tundra -- and it WAS frozen.
So, even though we might have enjoyed the hype leading up to a New England-Green Bay Super Bowl, hopefully we'll enjoy the actual game more, and New York will give New England a run for its money.
Tom Brady's three interceptions against San Diego prove he is no super hero, and the New England defense can give up some yards. Still, it seems like a 50-50 chance that the Patriots will lead most of the way in this one. If so, at least the beer is cold, the chips and salsa are fresh and the company of friends is close by.
Not being from either New York or the New England area, and not having ties to either team, I still haven't made up my mind whom to root for yet. What's better, having New England go 19-0 in Arizona, or having the Giants finish off the most storied, uphill climb to a Super Bowl title in history?
I guess neither is a bad option really. But, ah hell, the average-Joe fan in me says go Giants. Let's leave the perfect season out there for a while.
Cross-Country Road Trip?
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Pats and Giants fans have a long trip ahead of them. First they have to find a de-iced plane that can get them in the air. I would recommend a non-stop. It remains to be seen how many thousands of fans will descend upon the Valley for the Big Game. I would think a lot of Pats fans promised themselves they would make the trip if their team went 16-0 and advanced to SBXLII. I mean, how often does something like this happen? If you don't pony up $3,000 for a ticket and risk your marriage for this game, then you probably never will.
And as for Giants fans, this run of road wins was so unpredictable that all of them probably went to bed and wanted to make sure the sun came up on Monday morning before making any plans. I can't blame them. But now that it has, it doesn't matter how big of an underdog you are in the Super Bowl, you have to support your team and make the trip... if at all possible. Either way, you witness history in SBXLII, so we'll just have to wait and see how many Giants fans pony up.
The only question is, how will we be able to tell all of these red, white and blue fans apart? I have one solution: there are plenty of cheeseheads available.