I pick the New York Giants to win the Super Bowl. But if they don’t, then my record is intact—every time I bet for or against the Giants, I’m wrong.
Here’s why I’m picking New York after I picked them to lose against Green Bay and San Francisco in the playoffs.
First, Eli Manning really is the elite quarterback he said he was halfway through the season.
Second, that ain’t no 26th-ranked defense. It might have been during the regular season, but during the playoffs it was the third-ranked defense behind the Ravens and the 49ers.
Among Super Bowl contenders, it’s the first-ranked defense for sure.
Tom Brady will play better than he did against Baltimore in the NFC Championships—and look for both Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead to have big games as well—but it just won’t be enough.
The NY defense will harass Brady all day long, Eli will continually find ways to win, and the real difference in the game will be the lack of a healthy Rob Gronkowski at tight end for the Patriots.
True, Gronkowski’s not even on the injury report, but I saw how his foot got bent backwards two weeks ago and I don’t think it’s had enough time to heal. Not good.
So Giants win the Super Bowl, 31-28, and Eli Manning wins MVP.
I’ll update this report during each quarter. Should be amusing. Meanwhile…
• • •
The Associated Press recently handed out honors to NFL standouts during the 2011-2012 season. Here are the results.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers won the MVP award, while Saints QB Drew Brees won Offensive Player of the Year. That seems like a fair compromise.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs won Defensive Player of the Year. I was definitely pulling for 49ers pass-rushing specialist Justin Smith, but Suggs works for me.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton easily won Offensive Rookie of the Year. He surpassed Peyton Mannings’s rookie passing record with 4,051 yards, and set a single-season NFL QB rushing record with 13 touchdowns. Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. How a 23-year-old in only his third season even qualifies for the award is beyond me. My pick, and it’s the right one, was 49ers QB Alex Smith.
Finally, Jim Harbaugh won his well-earned Coach of the Year honors.
• • •
First Quarter Comments:
—First play by Brady leads to a safety.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Brady hater, I love the guy. But he ain’t no Joe Montana.
And he’s rattled. Just sayin’.
—With 3:24 to go in the first quarter, the NY Giants are Cruz-in’. See what I did there?
—At the end of the first quarter, NY leads 9-0. I’m also 2-0 on beers to coffee, so if these updates become riddled with typos, you have to let it go.
You have to.
—Best commercial during first quarter, Pepsi’s. I always thought that Flavor Flaves big clock was a euphemism for something else that rhymes.
Second Quarter Comments:
—With 13:40 to go in second quarter, New England hits a field goal. That more than makes up for the safety. Heh.
—Best commercial of the second quarter, goflora.com. You know why. Although I liked the French bulldog commercial by Sketchers until Mark Cuban showed up.
The Doritos commercial was clever, but no cigar. And the Ameritrade commercial? Wrong baby. Sorry, but when you want Charlie Sheen, Ashton doesn’t cut it.
—Wow. Danny Woodhead caught a touchdown pass with eight seconds to go in the half. Did not see that coming. He caught zero touchdown passes during the regular season.
— And at the end of the half, it’s New England Patriots 10, New York Giants 9.
Half Time Comments:
—Here’s hoping for a wardrobe malfunction.
—Best commercial, Bridgestone (Madonna). Sure, it was all prerecorded and lip-synced, but I’ll take that over Roger Daltry’s live off-key performance during Super Bowl XLIV.
—Betty White has jumped the shark. Sorry.
— Whoa. I spoke too soon. Clint Eastwood’s commercial for Detroit—and subtextually for Barack Obama—beat out Madonna’s. Like Woodhead’s touchdown, I did not see that coming.
Third Quarter Comments:
—With a little more than six minutes to go in the third, the Giants hit a field goal. Not good. Every field goal is another score closer to losing (yes, I’m paraphrasing Steve Young).
—The sack of Brady with 5:30 and some change in the third could be the turning point in the game. He might be injured. Beyond that, if the Giants keep up the pass rush the Patriots are doomed. Period.
—With 35 seconds to go in the third, Giants hit another field goal. Not good for NY.
—Best third quarter commercial: The one with Jerry Seinfeld. Advertising what, I have no idea. Honorable mention commercial: The NFL’s.
— And at the end of the third, it’s New England over New York, 17-15.
Fourth Quarter Comments:
—Really? Two time outs burned by the Giants?
—Four minutes to go in the game and WELKER DROPS THE PASS. Unbelievable. That’s your play of the game.
—3:39 to go in the game and Manningham makes a catch. It looked clean in slow motion, but how do you make that call live? NFL refs are amazing.
—Three minutes to go. Run, run, run, Giants.
—Two minutes to go and they give it to Ahmad Bradshaw. Good idea!
—Short pass. Okay. Run, run, run. Good run, Bradshaw. Waste a Patriots time out.
—Uh-oh. Bradshaw scores, so Brady gets the ball with :57 to go. Guess Bradshaw doesn’t know a gimme when he sees one.
—If Brady wants a fourth Super Bowl ring, he’ll definitely have to earn it.
—Just to get this out of the way… best fourth quarter commercial: The Honda commercial with Matthew Broderick. Not the best cause though—I love dogs.
—Great catch by Deion Branch. Keeps the game alive.
—Giants have too many men on the field. That’s a coaching error.
—With five seconds to go, Brady gets one more Hail Mary. He ain’t no Joe Montana and he ain’t no Doug Flute.
—Final score, New York Giants 21, New England 17. Great game.
—And I have to admit, as much as it pains me, that Tom Coughlin is a great coach. Nobody accidentally wins this twice, even with a great quarterback. Ask Don Shula.
Odd, because he reminds me of the elderly crank in my neighborhood who won’t give my baseball back (to this day, in fact). Or the 1800 Tequila guy.
But you have to give it up—two Super Bowl rings are not a fluke. One might be, though.
Let’s ask Brian Billick.
Peyton and other places
Peyton Manning will now play quarterback for the Denver Broncos. They might as well start building the new sign at the border of Denver’s city limit.
“Welcome to Denver, the city where Peyton Manning was paralyzed for life.”
I was hoping Manning would take a long hard look at the big picture and simply retire, the way Steve Young did when he got one too many concussions as a 49ers quarterback.
Manning has a neck injury, nothing to be trifled with. I could be all wrong, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
At least the Broncos had the good sense to trade Tim Tebow. Whatever Manning faces in Denver, it won’t be the evangelical, revival-tent, circus-like atmosphere Tebow creates.
Besides, Tebow’s a perfect fit for New York. And yes, I’m being sarcastic.
• • •
I was pretty sure—and really hoped—that Jim Harbaugh wasn’t serious about getting Manning. I think Harbaugh took a long look at Manning just to build up Alex Smith’s confidence.
“Yeah, the GM wanted me to interview Manning, but my heart wasn’t into it,” I imagine Harbaugh saying. “You’re my guy at QB, Alex. You’re my guy.”
I could be wrong about that scenario, but I’m really glad about Smith’s three-year deal with the 49ers.The playoff game against the Saints convinced me he’s finally got the QB position down.
• • •
I didn’t fill in a bracket and I don’t have a final four, but I do pick Michigan State to win the NCAA Basketball National Championship.
My only reason is the faith and passion of MSUCrazyLady. She makes me wanna believe. So I will.
• • •
Frankly, I don’t give a damn about women’s basketball. It’s like watching the Special Olympics, except I actually do care about the Special Olympics.
The female sports I like are soccer (a little) and softball (a lot). Softball is the ultimate women’s sport, but I’ll expand on that topic in another column.
Still, it doesn’t take a lot of paid attention to pick the NCAA Women’s Basketball champion.
Baylor. It’ll be Baylor. And everybody knows that.
• • •
I started this column with Peyton, so I’ll end it with Payton.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Saints’ head coach Sean Payton a full year for allowing a bounty system—payment for injuries inflicted by the defensive players on key offensive players. You know. Key ones, like Peyton Manning.
The former defensive coach of the Saints, Gregg Williams, is on indefinite suspension and New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended eight games.
The Saints as a team was also fined $500,000 and lost two second round draft picks, one this year and another in 2013.
One radio commenter said he wished baseball had a commissioner as strong as Goodell.
Me, too. I want a baseball commissioner strong enough to bring back steroids.