OK, that’s a loaded title, but it says pretty much everything I want to say here. I’ve been hearing all these talking heads and morons on Twitter talk about how Brady and Manning were “pretty much even” in the way they played last Sunday. There are even some who say that Brady played better because he has fewer weapons (right, because Hernadez, Gronk, Brach, and Welker are nobodies…) than does Eli. Well as you’re probably already aware, I disagree whole-heartedly with those people. You could make the argument that I am extremely bias because of my fan hood for the boys in black and gold, but I’m determined to show you that my disdain for Brady is not the only reason I think Eli was a better QB on Sunday.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Eli has now beat Tom Brady and the Patriots, widely accepted to be the best team in the NFL, two different times on the biggest stage there is in professional sports. That’s right. If Brady and the Pats are supposed to be the best, then why does Eli always own them? Is it because Eli has a better team? A better coach? Not sure you could make those arguments. You could, however, argue that the Patriots lost because of the mistakes that Brady made, and the nearly perfect game that Eli played.
On the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage, Brady threw a ball away and was called for intentional grounding. He was standing in the end zone. This was a major rookie mistake made by the guy who is supposed to be the best QB in that game. That mistake lead to two pts on the safety, and eventually another seven pts the very next possession. Meanwhile Eli was calm and cool, going a cool 7-7 with a TD.
Were there moments when Brady played like the legend he might be? Absolutely. But there was once a time when Brady wouldn’t have thrown that deep ball on 1st and 10 that ended up getting picked off. He would have been more patient. Dinking and dunking his way down the field like he always does. That wasn’t the Tom Brady I saw on Sunday. I saw a Brady who was cracking under the pressure of being in the big game against his rival, dealing with personal life issues and all that stuff. I saw a guy who overthrew Welker on that last drive where he would usually put that ball on the money. Maybe Welker could have caught the ball, but it was overthrown, no doubt about it.
So in what universe are you living in that you think Brady and Eli were “pretty much equal?” Give me a break. They weren’t even close to equal. Eli is like an assassin. Totally calm and cool, never letting a situation get so out of hand that he can’t reign it in. He’s the stone cold leader of that Giants team and everyone on that team believed it. Equal? Not in the game that I watched. The patriots lost in big part to the way Brady played. The Giants won because of Eli. Plain and simple.
I was pumped watching the end of that game. I was actually in flight from New Orleans (I was on tour playing down there), and popped for the in-flight Internet so I could stream the game and watch the play by play on NFL.com. Thankfully I landed with a little time left in the 3rd and could watch Eli make history for himself and his team. It was so satisfying to watch Brady get outplayed, I imagine all of the Steelers fans in the world were elated, if only for a moment, at the thought of Brady having to hang his head for the way he played.
There are a few things worth pointing out here in relation to the Patriots. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spy-gate (when Belicheat was caught filming sideline signals of other teams). Karma is a bitch, isn’t it? You see, it wouldn’t be that big a deal if it were some other team. “Hey, the Vikings haven’t won a Super Bowl since they got caught on that yacht with all those strippers!” Yeah, Ok, they don’t win Super Bowls anyway. The Patriots though, they’re God’s gift to football. They’re favored to win the next season before the previous season even ends. They’re supposed to win. But they haven’t since they got caught cheating, and that is karma at it’s finest.
I won’t every forget that game in 2004 we lost to the Patriots and then we all later found out they’d been cheating to learn play calls by opposing teams. Joey Porter said “it felt like they knew everything we were going to do before we did it.” Well Joey, they did. We were robbed of what should have been Ben’s first Super Bowl because that Jagoff Belicheat thought his desire to win was greater than the dignity of winning with honor and integrity. Well, 2008 and last Sunday were the perfect punishment for their actions. So close you can taste it. So close, but no cigar. No celebration (except Gronk dancing around like an idiot with LMFAO –> not a real band, BTW), no ring, no trophy. Just shame.
Soak it up, boys. You sure as hell deserve it.
Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMeckler, I tweet a lot.