I am generally a Super Bowl Grinch. I don't like the commercials, the halftime show, the parties, the buildup. None of it.
I just like watching the game.
But since I sat in front of the TV for four hours and took notes, I figured I could at least share my thoughts, some of which have an Eagles slant.
1. During the regular season, Eli Manning had 67 completions of 20+ yards, fourth-most in the NFL. At the 3:46 mark of the fourth quarter, he had zero such completions against the Patriots. But that's when he lofted a beauty down the sideline to Mario Manningham for 38 yards, setting up the game-winning touchdown. Yes, Manningham did a great job to keep his feet in, but watch the replay. The throw was every bit as good as the catch. With the game on the line, Manning fit the ball in perfectly between Patriots defensive backs Sterling Moore and Patrick Chung. During the Giants' two Super Bowl runs, Manning has thrown 15 touchdowns and two interceptions in eight games. Is Michael Vick capable of putting together four strong games in a row against playoff-level competition? That's the question Eagles fans will be asking themselves for the next year, at least. Meanwhile, Manning is 31 years old and might just now be peaking as a quarterback.
2. In four playoff wins, the Giants allowed 56 points, or 14 points per game. They limited Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 20 points. And they limited Tom Brady and the Patriots to 17. Is the Eagles' defense capable of putting together that kind of four-game run under Juan Castillo? We'd all have to see it to believe it. Perry Fewell was not considered a great defensive coordinator when the regular season ended. In fact, some even wondered whether he'd last another season if the Giants lost in Week 17. Now? He's probably on the same track as Steve Spagnuolo was after the Giants' last Super Bowl win. If the Giants' defense delivers a strong showing in 2012, Fewell could very well be a head coach somewhere in 2013.
3. I know opinion is split on him, but I thought Cris Collinsworth called a great game. I don't think there's an analyst who sees plays develop live better than Collinsworth. And he generally does a good job of explaining unusual plays. For example, Collinsworth pointed out that the key to the Brady safety was that Justin Tuck was pressuring him. Had Brady thrown the ball away just a second earlier, it would have been an incomplete pass with no penalty. But Tuck was relentless, starting out at left defensive end, looping behind Linval Joseph, bouncing off the left guard and knocking Brady down.
4. If Aaron Rodgers retired right now and went into TV, he would immediately be the best ex-player analyst out there. I'll admit I only watched portions of the pre-game coverage, but Rodgers looked comfortable with the mic and made points I actually found interesting. What a concept, huh? Quite a departure from the usual yelling and over-the-top laughter you get from many ex-players.
5. I thought we were done with that "Written in the Stars" song when the baseball playoffs ended, but the NFL brought it back out when the Giants were introduced. Please bury that song. Forever. I'm begging you.
6. I'm interested to see what the coach's tape shows on the Wes Welker drop. From the TV angle, it didn't look like a good throw by Brady, although Welker should have made the catch. I'm not sure if Brady intentionally threw it to the outside, forcing Welker to turn his body, or if he just misfired.
7. Speaking of misfires, let's go back to Dec. 11. With 5:41 left in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys led the Giants, 34-22. With under three minutes left, the score was 34-29. Tony Romo and the Dallas offense faced a 3rd-and-5 from its own 25. But Romo couldn't connect with a wide-open Miles Austin. The Cowboys punted, and Manning took the Giants 53 yards in 1:26 for the game-winning score. New York escaped a fifth straight loss and improved to 7-6. They would lose just one more game the rest of the season, before winning six in a row and being crowned Super Bowl champs. I'm guessing Romo and Austin thought about that play wherever they were watching last night's game.
8. Jason Pierre-Paul proved once again that you don't need to pile up sack totals to affect a game. The box score shows no sacks for JPP, but he batted down two passes at the line of scrimmage, including one on third down that forced the Patriots to settle for a field goal. He also had a tackle for loss and drew a holding penalty. Yeah, that Brandon Graham/Pierre-Paul comparison isn't going away any time soon.
9. If I ever need a spokesman, I'm hiring Clint Eastwood. By far the best commercial of the night. Haven't felt that patriotic since the days of Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
10. If I ever am in charge of producing a Super Bowl commercial, I'm hiring Don Draper. Surprising how overall, the ads disappoint year after year. The default ideas seem to be animals and babies. Not doing it for me.
11. What were the odds of DeSean Jackson getting a mention during last night's broadcast? Al Michaels referenced Jackson's punt return in 2010 at the Meadowlands. After that game, the Eagles lost seven of their next eight games - three in a row to end the 2010 season and four of five to begin 2011. Now, the Giants are Super Bowl champs, and we don't know if Jackson will even be in an Eagles uniform next season.
12. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez finished first and second among tight ends in yards-after-the-catch during the regular season (668 and 534 respectively). Guess who was third? Brent Celek, with 500. Gronkowski clearly was not 100 percent last night. If he's at full strength, does he come up with the Hail Mary at the end? Probably not. But it would have been close.
13. How many movies does Tim Riggins have coming up? Where is he finding the time to build that house in Dillon? I need answers.
14. We saw a cornerback from each team - Kyle Arrington and Aaron Ross - make excellent plays against the run. Not something you're used to if you watched the 2011 Eagles. Nnamdi Asomugha had a couple good moments in run support, but overall, disappointed as a tackler. We know Asante Samuel isn't going to give you much in that aspect. And neither is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. That's something that needs to improve this offseason - fewer missed tackles by defensive backs.
15. Ahmad Bradshaw had three carries of 20+ yards in 171 regular-season rushes, or one every 57 attempts. In four playoff games, he had five carries of 20+ yards in 57 rushes, or one every 11.4 attempts. Bradshaw's 24-yard run in the first half last night set up the Giants' first touchdown.
16. Hey yogurt company, you've got to do better than Uncle Jesse. C'mon!
17. Hey Bridgestone, maybe six or seven years ago, Steve Nash and Tim Duncan could have convinced me to buy some tires. But you may want to get some younger, more relevant spokesmen, considering that it's, you know, 2012.
18. On Dec. 20, the Cowboys were 8-6; the Giants 7-7; the Eagles 6-8; and the Redskins 5-9. Who would have thought that the NFC East, which was horrible all season, would produce the Super Bowl champion?
19. The Patriots briefly seized control in the second quarter with a 14-play, 99-yard drive that resulted in a 4-yard Brady-to-Danny Woodhead touchdown. The offense took over with 4:03 left and three timeouts in its pocket. In case you're wondering, the Eagles got to the 4-minute mark of the first half with all three timeouts exactly three times in 16 regular-season games.
20. What I've learned about sportswriters in Indianapolis from their Twitter feeds: If your city has a couple good steakhouses, a couple good places to get a beer and is easily walkable, they will consider it among the greatest places in the world.
21. What was Will Ferrell doing bouncing up and down on a tight-rope during the halftime show?
22. The Patriots had the 12th-fewest penalty yards per game in the regular season, but they were caught with 12 men on the field in the first half, drawing a flag that negated a Victor Cruz fumble.
23. Does luck play a role in winning a Super Bowl? Of course it does. The Giants fumbled three times in the past two games, but recovered all three. In the regular season, though, they recovered about 53.85 percent of fumbles, which was right around the league average.
24. Is there some kind of government mandate that requires announcers to mention that Chris Snee is Tom Coughlin's son in-law during EVERY Giants game? We get it already!
25. I wonder how Trent Cole feels about Pierre-Paul dropping back into coverage. I also wonder how Brian Westbrook and Jon Runyan feel about Bradshaw not going down short of the end zone. For the record, I think letting the Giants score was absolutely the right call by Bill Belichick. Yes, there's a chance the Giants botch the snap or miss the short field goal. But I'll take my chances with Brady going 80 yards in 57 seconds, even though it didn't work out.
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