Monday, February 6, 2012

Did the GIANTS Deserve Their SB XLVI Win? Of Course!

"Homer fan derangement syndrome" is not a pretty sight to behold. In fact, it's downright ugly and bespeaks the intermittent seizures of insanity and irrationality that can overcome pro football fans if their team doesn't make it to the highest mountain and win - in this case the SuperBowl. Well, Superbowl XLVI is now in the books, and the New York Giants 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots has set off this peculiar derangement syndrome in multiple cities - generally expressed on their assorted (newspaper) football forums.

On the New England Patriots ( boards one sees it expressed multiple ways, ranging from the purely zany and idiotic to the off the wall. Of course, Pats' fans would feel horrible after 100% investing themselves in the belief they'd exact revenge for the Giants beating them in SuperBowl XLII and ruining their perfect season and place in NFL history. Thus it is partly understandable that Pats fans at Univ. of Massachusetts might go ape shit and riot after the loss, unable to handle the inability to get that revenge.

Then there were assorted other comments on the boards, including to the effect the refs "blew the call of a safety" on Tom Brady (giving the Giants 2 early pts.), insisting there was no such thing. (Really? Look at it again and then consult the NFL Rules Book!) Another whined that the "Zebras muffed the call on Manningham and he was clearly out of bounds". Errr...don't think so! Look at the still AP photo in this morning's papers clearly showing Giants receiver Manningham with both feet in bounds and hands securely wrapped around the ball.

But see, in the case of fan derangement syndrome, the reality or facts of the matter don't mean a thing! These are easily swept under the rug of the obsessive fan's perceptions and converted into either the "luck" of the opponent (and I do admit the Giants had some luck in recovering two would be fumbles the Pats might have had) or that the "refs gave the calls away" or made miscalls.

Nowhere is this fan derangement more entrenched than the NE boards, but a close runnerup manifestation still persists on the Green Bay Packer forums of the Milwaukee Journal -Sentinel ( where assorted Pack fans continue to make such wacked out statements as "The Giants are the worst team to ever win a SuperBowl" and "It was all luck, luck, luck...."

But, of course, the trouble with the luck argument is that it turns two ways. One could also argue the Packers were "lucky" in most of their 13-0 run this past season, pulling out cardiac last minute wins thanks to Aaron Rodgers, until they met a 6-8 Kansas City team that exposed their defensive flaws. I.e. had the Pack D been able to make one critical stop near the end of the game (like the Giants' D did last night leaving time for Eli Manning to work his 3-minute magic) they'd have won that KC game 14-12 as opposed to blowing it, 19-14.

Some other pro Green Bay commenters also want to claim, lamely "the only team that could beat the Packers this year was the Packers themselves" then pointing to the 37-20 playoff victory of the Giants at Lambeau and Aaron Rodgers "not being 100% on target, 8 drops and 3 fumbles". But this trickery of syntax merely shows fans' degree of derangement and how that impinges their perceptions - just as it did with NE Pats fans.

The truth is that Rodgers probably played fairly but - unlike Eli Manning- tried to force the ball in certain situations and paid the price. Eli basically took what the Patriots gave him, and Rodgers wanted more. In addition, Rodgers rhythm was thrown off by the relentless pressure inside imposed by the likes of Giant defenders Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. This made him rush throws when he didn't want to make them, and worse, made him try to overcome press coverage on his WRs - ending in two sacks. As for those eight drops, let's be frank, at least five were due to Pierre-Paul's disruption of Packer slot receivers near the line of scrimmage - causing slightly delayed running of assigned routes.

Obviously then, if Rodgers is throwing to the location a receiver is supposed to be, as opposed to where he actually is (even if off by barely a yard) there will be a dropped pass because it's competent execution depends on precise location. The G-men knew this which was exactly why they consistently bumped Pack wideouts. But the hardnosed Pack fans don't want to hear this, they refuse to "give Jack his jacket" meaning the Giants the credit they deserve. They want to lay all the blame on the Pack "playing its worst game at the worst time".

But think about this logically. Does a 15-1 team (then) bruited to the "best"- and which has effectively THREE weeks to prepare for the biggest game of the season and also play at HOME, merit any consideration as a putative worthy champion or champion to be if it can't carry out the win? And against a 9-7 regular season opponent? I don't believe so! Instead, the Pack - this year's version - disclosed themselves to be a pretender with a flawed and suspect defense incapable of making critical 3rd down stops.

But will the deranged fans on the Packer boards admit this? Hell no! It was "all luck, luck, luck" for the Giants, or as one guy put it: "Sometimes its better to be lucky than good". Totally missing the irony that last year Giants' fans might have said the exact same thing about the then 10-6 Packers, lowest seeded of all NFC teams, then making a run and taking the prized Lombardi trophy at the end. It's all relative and all a matter of perspective, but one thing that's become common in all these late season, lower-seeded champs is that they make their own luck!

It is clear to the dispassionate football observer over the past ten years, that the older paradigm of the top seeded team getting to the show has been replaced by the newer paradigm of the late, hot lower seed. Look, in the past 5 years, at No. 6 seed Pittsburgh getting the Lombardi, and the No. 6 Packers getting it last year, while the No. 4 Giants got it this year. Did all these teams prevail merely by luck? Well, maybe a little, but much more in doing the hard work and preparation, and mounting a full steam of gas when most needed.

What the deranged fan needs to do, instead of dumping on the victorious lower seeded team, is maybe realize that his team was so favored in previous years and also.....maybe being the top seed isn't worth all it's cracked up to be! New England was the No. 1 AFC seed and look at what happened to them in the SuperBowl. Meanwhile, the Packers were the No. 1 NFC seed this year and the 49ers were No. 2 and both were beaten by the Giants in the second and third rounds of the playoffs.

Sometimes, it pays to be just plain GOOD at the right time, rather than depending only on luck! In this regard, the telltale words of Packer defender Charles Woodson, quoted in The Green Bay Press -Gazette two weeks (ago about the Giants win over Green Bay in the playoff ) is one every deranged fan ought to heed:

"They just wanted it more than we did".

So, maybe desire is what trumps luck and maybe ebbing of desire, or "fire in the belly" is one affliction that befalls previous SuperBowl champs.

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