Land of the Giants

By Christopher Gabriel, Blog Harbor

Last night in the Arizona desert, Team History met Team Destiny.  When all was said and done, and as it often turns out, Destiny was just a little bit better than History.

In what was thought to be an unthinkable, improbable outcome, the New York Giants ended the New England Patriots’ dream of an historical, undefeated season with a 17-14 victory in Super Bowl XLII.  And those conflicting sounds you hear are coming from Mercury Morris and a certain resident of Blog Harbor.

Somewhere in a cold, damp, sparse basement, with the windows taped up and only the light of a black and white television illuminating the room, Mercury Morris is screaming with joy.  He and his fellow 1972 Miami Dolphins have yet again gotten the last laugh.  With the Patriots loss, the Dolphins remain the only undefeated NFL champion in history. 

Meanwhile in the secluded coastal town of Blog Harbor, the lone, painful cries of a fan desperate to end any further ‘We’re Bigger Than the NFL’ commentary from Morris and his fellow ’72 Dolphins teammates, once and for all, can be heard all the way to south Florida.

Oddly enough, it was just the other day when numerous calls to Mercury Morris were not returned.  As of this moment, Blog Harbor’s offices have received 31 messages from Morris . . . those calls have not been returned.  And they will not be returned.

Am I bitter?  Yes.  If only for one day, call me Mr. Bitterman.  Although I’m not a Patriots fan, they were my Adopted Team for a Year.  Finally, a team had come along to put to bed any further need to hear from Morris, Don Shula, Bob Griese . . . the whole lot of them, ever again. 

And let’s face it, you had to be an idiot to think the New York Football Giants had any chance in the world to win this game.  Although they were on a magical roll, going on the road to win three straight playoff games, they were merely a tiny blip on New England’s radar as the Patriots were on final approach for their arrival into football history.  Right?

Place me, with many others, into the idiot clubhouse.

How ironic this game was when thinking back to New England and St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI.  The Patriots entered the game 14 point underdogs and most everyone considered the outcome a forgone conclusion.  New Engalnd had no shot.  The Rams were an offensive machine that surely wouldn’t be stopped by the Patriots.  As it turned out, playing mistake-free, inspired football while cashing in on three Rams turnovers, the Pats went on to win their first Super Bowl in dramatic fashion with Adam Vinatieri making a 48-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

That game was six years ago to the day, February 4. 

Last night, it was New England as the huge favorite.  They were the offensive juggernaut that allegedly couldn’t be stopped.  Many experts, no different than they thought six years earlier with the Rams, believed the game might be over by halftime.  Playing in perfect conditions inside a dome, not a chance the Giants could shut them down.  

Although the Giants controlled the game at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball for most of the night, seemingly having the Patriots figured out from the opening kick-off, it remained New England holding the lead late in the 4th quarter.  

But then it happened.  One of those plays that defines a team of destiny.  It was, quite simply, the play of the year.  Eli Manning, on a third-and-5 from the Giants 44 yard line, was scrambling trying to find a receiver while being grabbed, pulled and nearly brought down for a sack.  Suddenly, he broke away and f0und David Tyree for a 32 yard completion in what will go down as one of the most remarkable catches in Super Bowl history. eli-manning-to-david-tyree-in-the-play-of-the-game.jpg

Anyone watching should have known, right then, that the Giants destiny was indeed just around the corner.  That corner was exactly four plays away.

But no one told the Patriots.  There they were, holding a four point lead with only 39 seconds standing in the way of their journey to perfection.  39 seconds to 19-0.  39 seconds to history.  Enter the aforementioned fourth play later, Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress in the end zone.  Exit New England. 

And just to top off the evening, ESPN found time to air an emotional Mercury Morris discussing how any team can beat another on any given Sunday . . . except in 1972, of course.  The man was downright giddy through his tears that the Patriots had lost, keeping his Dolphins alone in the record book for at least another year.  A lot of words come to mind to describe Mercury Morris; class is not one of them.  At least now with the season over, Morris can once again return to the shadows not to be heard from again . . . until another team starts climbing the undefeated mountain he and his Dolphins still claim as their own.

Finally, someone should have mentioned to Morris that he and his ’72 Dolphins weren’t actually the story of Super Bowl XLII.  Last night was about the New York Giants.  Last night in the desert, the Team of Destiny proved everyone wrong. 

But isn’t that usually the way it happens when Destiny meets History?

eli manning/david tyree photo, courtesy getty images

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Filed Under: FootballMassachusettsNew EnglandNew YorkNewsNFLPro FootballSports


About the Author: Christopher Gabriel is the host of the cleverly named Christopher Gabriel Program on AM 970 WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. You can hear him weekdays from 9 to Noon. As a writer and humorist, his work has been been published online by the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters and publications within the Sun-Times News Group.

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  1. Now I finally understand why you have been talking about the Dolphins! I’m slow. What a great game, and what a great catch by Tyree. On his HELMET!

    I have to say, I think the Giants’ win was a bigger storybook ending than the Patriots. I like that the Giants’ win came from so many of its players, and I’m glad to see Coughlin get a Superbowl. I think Belicheck is scary.


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