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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    New York Giants receiver David Tyree, right, leaps to catch a 32-yard pass as New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison (37) tries to defend during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl Sunday in Glendale. Somehow, with time running out and the ball pinned to his helmet, Tyree held on tight with both hands Sunday.
    New York Giants receiver David Tyree, right, leaps to catch a 32-yard pass as New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison (37) tries to defend during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl Sunday in Glendale. Somehow, with time running out and the ball pinned to his helmet, Tyree held on tight with both hands Sunday.

    GLENDALE – Red and blue pieces of confetti fell from the sky while stadium spotlights illuminated a victory celebration.

    The Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player held up the Vince Lombardi trophy just a few feet away from where I stood on the field. He was, of course, the game-winning quarterback Eli Manning.

    But in a perfect world, supermodel Gisele Bündchen would’ve joined the festivities with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, while hoisting up the trophy with his signature All-American smile. In a perfect world, this Patriots team – throughout a season full of adversity, off-field distractions and unprecedented attention – would have prevailed as the all-time greatest – finally shutting up the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

    The surreal experience of standing on the stage at the University of Phoenix Stadium, which served as the second most-watched television broadcast ever, brought mixed feelings – far from a perfect world.

    Our New England god walked off the field as a mortal, hanging his head, blocking out the typical obnoxious New Yorkers and darting from the media. Coach Bill Belichick – the genius himself sporting a new vibrant red hoody – left the field beaten by a blitz.

    But the loss of a perfect season couldn’t take away from the unprecedented atmosphere around the stadium. Buzzing hours before the game, it appeared as if surcharged fans finally overtook the world’s biggest stage, rather than bigwig corporate executives filling the seats with neutral alliances. This year’s crowd was cut and dry – a classic New York vs. Boston rivalry, full of hatred.

    I made my way down to the field with a post game field pass as the clock ticked down to the two-minute warning. A cult of media – the vast majority blatantly rooting for the Giants – sprinted onto the field as the confetti poured out.

    Security secluded the celebration to only media members, but the Giants chose to use the entire 120-yard field as grounds to the celebration. Kissing their wives, hugging children and wearing new hats, the Giants embraced the atmosphere.

    It was a perfect party, bashed by the Brady of the past.

    This was not your father’s Patriots team – no, not even your older brother’s. This season’s (almost) perfect New England Patriots team dangerously resembled the 2002 St. Louis Rams.

    Remember the juggernaut with an unstoppable league-leading offense? Nobody dared to pick against the all-mighty quarterback Kurt Warner. Only a scrappy group of pushover young players – that made an improbable run to the big game – stayed in the way of an almost perfect Rams season.

    Those young players? None other than the 2002 New England Patriots – reborn as America’s team in wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. They were a Patriots team that defined unity – something the nation desired – and set a precedent by being introduced as a team. They were a Patriots team led by a young sixth-round draft pick Brady and built on a true underdog story.

    Six years later, the veteran Brady returned to the spotlight for his fourth time. The Patriots rode a perfect 18-0 record into Super Bowl XLII as the heavy all-mighty unstoppable gods.

    The only thing in the way? A loose, fun-loving New York football Giants team with nothing to lose. The road warriors entered the Super Bowl with 11 straight road wins. They’re a Giants team that gave the nation its only hope to defeat the “”evil”” Patriots empire, fresh off new “”Spygate”” allegations.

    Both miracles happened. The young Manning held up the trophy in front of a shell-shocked yet exuberant Giants fan base.

    Frank Sinatra’s “”New York, New York”” played loudly over the stadium, while two young Giants fans made snow angels in the confetti.

    The two toddlers then stood up and absorbed the atmosphere, mesmerized by the scene.

    The kids win again.

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