I turn 42 today. I don’t feel 42 except when my knees feel like they’re 60 after playing Jene Bramel in a pick up game of basketball and it serves as confirmation that I still have to shed another 20 pounds. Since it is my birthday, I feel like sharing my thoughts on the spectacle in Indy that was the Super Bowl. So if you will indulge me I’ll take it as a birthday gift.
“Super Bowl Sunday”
I want you to to look at Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. The craftsmanship and the detail raise the aesthetic beauty of the human body to a spiritual level. It’s a great work of art.
Now I want you to imagine David dressed in an Armani tux, surrounded by singers and dancers in Goliath costumes performing to a light show that begins with dry ice clouds and ends with fireworks, and the display hall draped in Budweiser and Geico banners. That’s what the Super Bowl has done to the NFL Championship Game. Overkill.
I understand why the NFL dresses its big game in emperor’s clothes. Just don’t tell me that I have to like it. The game is beautiful and compelling without its commercialization.
I admit I enjoy the television commercials, the Kia ad with Motley Crue, Chuck Liddell, and the surreal sequences of a rodeo rider on a rhino and two lumberjacks sawing a gigantic sub was terrific. So was the Chevy truck ad set post-Mayan Apocalypse. However you know what I thought of the halftime performance that delays the third quarter?
I can’t tell you because I didn’t see it. It seemed like a good time to do the dishes and clean the litter box.
The Giants runner had an uneven game and his “accidental touchdown” could have cost his team a championship. However, I feel sympathy for Bradshaw. Running backs are trained for years to drive, leap, spin, and dive for every yard they can get until they can’t move any more. Telling a running back to down the ball at the one yard-line on a run up the middle inside the 10 is as counter intuitive as it gets. When Brian Westbrook downed the ball a few years ago against the Cowboys, he had a lot of room to make that decision.
If the Giants wanted to guarantee they’d get a runner to down the ball they should have used the back that frequently tries to do anything but what is supposed to come natural for a downhill runner: Brandon Jacobs.
This morning I heard ESPN’s receiver row say “great receivers” make that catch during the its post-game highlights. I think great moments can be defined by one play. I also think greatness can be reinforced by one play. However, I don’t think the label of greatness bestowed on one player can be given or taken away on one play. I knew I should have saved some of the dishes for this morning…
I’m happy for Manningham that he came up big late in the game. However, I think we all know that on some deep level Victor Cruz owes Manningham a sincere thanks for not consistently playing to his potential and opening the door for Cruz earn his huge role. Not that Cruz would make such a tasteless show of appreciation even if the competitor in him realized that as much as he earned his keep, Manningham’s uneven skills with routes and reads opened the door for the undrafted free agent.
I won’t be shocked if the Giants let Manningham go to a higher bidder and they bring back Steve Smith to work with Cruz and Nicks. If Smith is healthy enough, I’d make that call in a heartbeat. Smith may lack explosiveness but his hands, routes, and toughness bring a component to the Giants that makes the offense better on a drive-by-drive basis.
Gisele criticizing her husband’s receivers
Who cares? She’s a fashion model. Should I be taking her analysis any more seriously because her husband is the quarterback?
Let me put it to you this way. My wife is a smart, talented, hard-working, and beautiful woman. But should you be taking my wife’s analysis of college prospects seriously because she’s married to a guy that studies tape more than some people work at their day jobs?
The only things that my wife brings to the table when it comes to commenting on a football player that is worth listening to are speed, intensity, and hitting. She ran a 11.2-second, 100 yard dash in high school and she appreciates the tackling styles of NFL players on the edge. But when she’s watching television, the programming is usually HGTV. The closest thing she gets to football is “King of the Hill.”
I don’t know what Gisele brings to the table but I doubt its even that much.
I don’t think you’ll ever convince people who admire Peyton Manning’s game that Eli Manning is as good or a better quarterback. Some irrational Giants fans will try to use the measure of two Super Bowl championships as a reason. However, the Giants’ victories highlight why football is a team game.
Nevertheless, Eli deserves inclusion among the list of top quarterbacks in the game right now. He’s a different player than Peyton and in some aspects a better one. While both have strong accuracy, anticipation, and understanding of the offense, Eli’s mobility and arm separates him from his brother.
Peyton Manning is the demanding CEO that has a great image off the field but some who claim to know about the dynamics within the organization say he isn’t necessarily as likeable inside the team confines. He probably gets more done through fear and respect. Eli probably has to bring some of these leadership qualities to the team, but he seems like the quieter, lead by example, I’m part of the team – and not the whole team – kind of guy.