I guess I didn't want to get my hopes up. That's why I didn't want to allow myself to toy with the thought that the New York Giants could beat the undefeated Patriots. After all, the Giants had struggled through a good portion of the season, even though they were unbeaten themselves, on the road. The Patriots were sooooooo good and had weaseled out of so many jams the last few weeks of the season. It just seemed they had lady luck on their side, along with all that talent. I learned a long time ago though, that the best team doesn't always win. The team that PLAYS best, usually wins. On Super Sunday, it was the Giants.
Bridget got an e-mail from her old HS classmate, and my friend as well, Giants GM Jerry Reese Wednesday. "Wow!, We did it!"
As the time ran off the clock, we broke out "the good stuff" we had been saving for just such an occasion.
Two great things happened this day. Jerry, one of the "good guys," had achieved the top of his profession in his 1st year on the job. The old expression, "It couldn't happen to a nicer guy" certainly applies, or a harder working guy. That's Jerry. Jerry was always a hard worker. For some reason, when I see Jerry I always remember what my buddy Hutch told me once. Hutch played against him in high school. He said the hardest hit he ever took was from Jerry. "He hit me so hard I peed blood!"
I also had to toast my favorite team while I was growing up. Yep.....the Miami Dolphins. 1972 had been like a dream come true to me growing up in West Tennessee. I didn't hate the Patriots, but yeah, I wanted them to lose......at least one.
The PATS did lose just one, but it was the BIG ONE. That's why they go down as the worst 18-1 team ever. There have only been 2 other 18-1 teams: the '85 Bears and the '84 49ers. While the Dolphins and the Patriots both came into the Super Bowl undefeated, most probably don't recall that the undefeated Dolphins took the field as three point UNDERDOGS to the Washington Redskins. How's that for disrespect. The Patriots came into their Super Bowl as double digit favorites, which made their fall so much more surprising.
I raised my glass to Jerry and took a sip of champagne for a fellow West Tennessee kid, who through sweat and perseverance, grew to reach the pinnacle of sports. Then I raised my glass, along with Zonk, Nick, Mercury, Manny, Bob and Paul, and toasted a part of my West Tennessee childhood, that I won't have to share, at least for another year.
If you go by this season's records, the Patriots will face perhaps the easiest schedule in NFL history this fall. It's a little early to start worrying, but I've kinda got it in the back of my mind. Gosh, I hope the Patriots lose, at least once....