Super Bowl XLVI: Alternate Narratives for the Rest of Us
Nearly every narrative put forth by major media outlets for this year’s Super Bowl is completely insufferable. To make Super Bowl XLII Part II palatable, I’ve compiled a list of reasons to watch the game that isn’t the commercials or the “helmet catch.” (DRINK!).
Open-faced BradyManningwhich: The Giants offensive line has always seemed a little uncomfortable when it drops into pass coverage, and with Vince Wilfork on the warpath, Eli is going have a rough day ahead of him. While the Patriot’s O-line has shown some more gumption, the Giant’s rushers are tearing it up. Chris Canty looked inexplicably unstoppable in the Championship game, and Jason Pierre-Paul seemingly teleports and destroys to whomever is holding the ball, which, with the Patriots, is usually Tom Brady. Relish the opportunity to see two famous people you dislike suffer physical pain.
Tom Coughlin, the Tebow of Coaches: When Tom Coughlin took the Giants job, he promised two things; the Giants would never have another mid season collapse, and his staff would stop the rampant ACL tears that plagued the organization. He failed to do both these things. His players seem to hate him and disregard everything he tells them, and everyone that leaves the team dumps pounds of dirty laundry into the streets. And yet, he’s sent them to the Super Bowl twice. The first time made some sense, what with Justin Tuck in top form and Michael Strahan putting it all on the line, but it was their first year without Tikki Barber. Without their best player on offense, they got better. (That said, their best player on offense was kind of a dick) This year’s roster looked particularly weak and overmatched. Big name players were hurting, and they lost Steve Smith and Kevin Boss, two key parts of their passing attack, to free agency. Then the playoffs came, and they started pasting fools. They looked unstoppable against the league’s top teams, a few of whom beat them in the regular season. Why did this happen? The same reason the Broncos beat the best defense in the NFL; God has a sense of humor.
Peyton’s Pain: Tall, fit, and oozing poise, Peyton Manning looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game before he became one. NFL MVP a record four times, he’s dominated the game like few others. Except, you know, when it’s really important. He spent the 2011 season watching the franchise he built fall apart, Cam Newton wreck his rookie records, and his shorter, (allegedly) mouth breathing, vaguely fetus-like younger brother establish himself as a clutch post-season quarterback par excellence. From every angle, Eli’s accomplishments in the playoffs dwarf the elder Manning. Peyton had to outgun Rex Grossman for his first ring, while Eli was David to Brady’s Goliath, a hulking touchdown machine that piles on points because it hates you. Likewise, in Peyton’s second run, he brushed middle-lower-class QBs Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez off his shoulders like ants, but imploded when he ran into an elite competitor, Drew Brees. Eli’s play against the former champs in Green Bay, one of the toughest stadiums in the league, just plain shamed Aaron Rodgers, a shoe in for this season MVP. It was painful. Finally, he got ground into pulp by the 49ers, and still pulled off the final drive to send the Giants to Super Bowl XLVI, forcing sports writers to admit that, yeah, he’s a pretty good quarterback. That all said…
Eli Manning Will Never Not Be Funny: His helmet looks too big, he makes funny faces whenever he gets hit, and he gets hit all the time. I remember one moment in the NFC championship; Eli was leading the Giants up the field in overtime. The 49ers dropped him for the sixth time. He stood up, his helmet askew and his mouth covered by his oversized chinstrap. Drenched in mud, he desperately called for a timeout, his curled hands barely able to form a “T.” It was pitiful, sad, and easily funniest thing I’d seen in months. In the offseason, when the inevitable Peyton vs. Eli comparisons pour into blogosphere, I’ll snicker every time I see the title, even if Eli wins a second ring. Despite the mounting evidence on Eli side, it’s an absurd question. You know that Peyton still sits at the head of the table at Thanksgiving, Archie can’t remember if his other son plays for the Jets, the Giants, or the Buffalo Bills, and Eli’s mom still calls him up to tell he’s “her very special boy” every time he loses a game. It’s totally ridiculous to think otherwise, even if Eli wins two Super Bowls and holds the NFL record for 4th quarter touchdowns in a season.
A Patriots Win Will End Spygate Forever: There are two people who talk about spygate; Patriots fans who want to make sure you’re aware that Bill Belichick is 64-16 since he stopped video taping other teams’ practices and ESPN bloggers who haven’t met their traffic quota. This win will quiet the Pats fans down, though I don’t see those “… but remember SPYGATE!” posts ending anytime soon.
Chad Occhocinco Might Get a Ring: Unless Belichick cuts him before kickoff, that is. One of the most entertain players of his generation, and an incredible wide receiver back in his prime, it’d be fun to see a highlight reel of his touchdown dances get capped off with him celebrating a Super Bowl victory, so long as no other Patriots players get in the frame. Sure, he’ll play 3 downs and finish with zero catches, (since for Occho, embracing “the Patriot way” means sitting the bench and high-fiving everyone within fifteen feet of him) but, he’ll nail his post-victory interview anyway.
The Game Might Actually Be Kind of Good: The Patriots’ and the Giants’ last game was a nail biter that came down to the last the drive. While we can argue about who wants it more, Brady vs. Giants secondary, etc., it’s a dead even matchup. Some of that confusion comes from the differing strengths of their schedules, some from their varying play styles, but the big reason its difficult to pick a clear favorite is because they’re both really good football teams. If you can ignore the color of the uniforms and Cris Collinsworth’ Bradygasms, it’ll be a damn good time.
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