Sunday, February 05, 2012

That Was Crazy (And The Game Was Too)

Okay, gambling stuff first. After the early safety, it wasn't very likely that anybody would win my contest. We had a 9 after Q1 and Q2, and a 5 after Q3. None of you picked a 5 or a 9 for either team. Then after the end-of-game craziness, I went to look at the grid I drew up, and thought, Oh, weird, it did end up as a "normal" score, 21-17. I looked across...then down...and there it was: "MOM." So that was crazy that we got a winner after all. But it's also crazy because: The prize was the extra ticket I had for the Mother's Day game at Fenway. Which I had because I'd bought two more after I'd bought that single, just so I could take my mom to the game. Now she's got the extra one, too. (Of course she could choose one of the baseball card packs but I think she'll find someone to come along with us. (And sit by him/herself.))

More gamblin' fun: Okay, obviously I was way more interested in prop bets than in the actual game. My dad had made future bets on both the Pats and Giants (he actually got 14-1 on the Giants during the playoffs), so he knew he was gonna win a hunk o' dough either way. (Though he was of course rooting for his adopted Pats all the way.) So he treated us to some action. My theory was that the key to a big payoff is the early safety. Because you can make so much on it, in several different bets. If you wanna take a huge risk, you can come outta there with an astronomical reward. Well, my risk wasn't that big, but I made sure we had a little money on the following bets: A safety will happen; the first score of the game would be a safety (one bet for each team getting the safety); and that the first score by each team would be a safety (two separate bets). The first one of those is 6 to 1, but the other four are either 40 or 60 to 1. So we got about $175 for a wager of $14. If I had really thought about this I might have put more than a damn buck on the huge-odds ones, but whatever. I was just incredibly psyched to see the safety to start the game! Another bet my dad made also came in--Green-Ellis made the first Pats reception, giving us about a hundred more dollars. But our big boy barely failed. We picked total points for each team. For the Pats we went high, around 30, and for the Giants, we had them at 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16. (Going for a big score, we had no use for the 14 with its mere 7-1 odds.) So once the Giants got that safety, things were looking great provided the Pats D settled down. Because a TD and an FG gets us to 12, and another FG keeps us at 15. Or 2 TDs gets us to 16. The 16 would pay 140, but 12 or 15 would pay 625. And wouldn't ya know it, they ended up right on the 12, and then went to 15, and had FREAKIN' BRADY NOT FORGOTTEN HOW TO THROW A FOOTBALL and had he maybe gotten a little help from his receivers, not only would all the Pats fans in the room (I was with all Pats fans) been happy, but we would have split $625 on top of our other winnings. Still, dollars-wise and excitement-wise, we all had quite a night.

So about this game. Yeah, on those drops, I blame Brady on those two passes on the second-to-last drive, and on one of the two on the last drive. Had ball, with lead, down to about 4:00 left--you win that game. But that one pass was behind Welker. Could have caught it, but when you have to turn back against the direction you're going and are going to land awkwardly, you have to brace yourself, it's hard to hold onto the ball. Brady needed to place that out in front more. Then I think the next one was also behind the guy. Oh and the interception too--when a guy's past the defense, and holding his arm up, you better get that ball way down field so only your guy has a chance. But he lofted it way short and was intercepted. Then on that last drive--after the incredible catch by that Giants guy at midfield, Eli is good but that guy is one lucky bastard sometimes too, lucky in this case that the receiver did such a great job, though I don't know if he even knew he was still in bounds--Brady did throw one perfect strike that was dropped, and another was again behind the guy but he landed on his feet after he spun around, so he should have caught it. And wow, they got what they wanted on the hail mary, a tip drill, and Gronk was inches away from making it the best ending of all time, similar to Butler's half-court near-winner in the NCAA two years ago.

But it all goes back to that drive, when the Pats were up two. I did feel myself absolutely pulling for the Pats, but hey, I knew that I was getting my share of the $625 if they could have just run out that clock, or at least scored and had the Giants not have enough time to score again. And I did get a hint of those feelings at the end, of "how did that happen?" And knowing that I've felt this before when my team was involved, and that it really stinks. I know what it's like to go to bed with that feeling.

So as you know, I'm a loser either way, both as a Sox-fan-who's-not-a-Pats-fan and a Jets sympathizer. Yankee assholes will mock ME unfairly at Fenway Park next year, and Giant assholes, should I mention I'm not a Pats fan but that I grew up a Jets fan, will mock me since they are once again kings of NY. But the good news, both for you Pats fans and all of us Sox fans, is that after a little grace period for the Giants where seemingly everyone loved them for no apparent reason, the sports world will again start to point their hatred toward them. Which will, despite that it's two different sports, translate into more Yankee hate--another team who's somehow fooled the world into thinking they're "not all that evil" when they're still the fucking Yankees.

So, terrible job Giants for winning and terrible job Pats for letting them. And if the opposite had happened, I'd have to say the same thing in reverse. But GOOD job by both teams for giving us two of the most incredible Super Bowls ever. I kinda wish you Pats fans could have seen both of those games in a world where somehow two blank-jersey-wearing teams had been involved. I mean we had a team going down 9-0 and hardly ever having the ball in the first half, yet somehow having the lead at the half. Then they came out like a different squad and went through the other team like shit through butter, or whatever, only to somehow not be able to put the game away when it seemed inevitable. And then a hail mary that actually had a chance of succeeding with no time left on the clock. And all that after the first game they played a few years ago that rivaled it.

Another good thing if you happen to be an all Boston sports fan, and not just a one-Boston-team-fan like me, is that all your teams have recent victories. In 2001, you were looking at, what, over 80 years, over 30 years, 15 years, and never as your droughts. New York idiots could talk about curses and puritans and eternal choking. Now you've got parades in your recent memory banks, and while you may screw the pooch occasionally, it's nothing like the way it was a decade ago. Nobody can bring up any of that bullshit--well, of course they will but at least you know it's completely irrelevant.

Also, after that '08 game, the Red Sox had just won, and it (again, unfairly) took something away from our win, with brainless dickholes acting like it somehow "made up for 2004." At least this year they can say all they want about this completely different sport, but our Red Sox already blew it this time, so they were gonna fuck with us anyway! Ha! We sure fooled them, huh??

[Bonus stuff: I totally forgot to talk about the weirdest thing of all. Pats up two, a minute left, one timeout left, Giants a few yards from the end zone. It's that moment where you want your team to just "let them score" so you have time to come back. And Belichick actually does it! But not only that, the Giants don't want to score a TD they want to run the clock down and kick the FG with as little time as possible left--so when the ball carrier realizes the defense isn't stopping him, he actually starts to fall to the ground at the one yard line! It was like one team trying to intentionally walk the other team to extend the game until the umps put the tarp on the field, while the other team swings and misses on purpose to try and make the game official! And that Giants guy was fighting within his mind--"I'm about to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, yet I know the smart (assuming everything after goes according to plan) move is to fall down and not go in!" And his instincts get the better of him and he rolls into the end zone. Belichick absolutely made the right move there and gave his guys a chance to win. And what an asshole that Giants guy would have felt like had the Pats scored in the end. But most people would have done exactly what he did. What a moment that was.]

Deadspin had a piece talking about the Giants win probability (wp) going down after they scored that touchdown. If they had not scored then their wp would be at 98% if he had stopped at the 1, after he scored the touchdown the Giants wp went down to 88%.

When you think of all those times an easy field goal didn't go according to plan, two come to mind: Tony Romo blowing that gimme field goal in the playoffs 3/4 years ago against the Seahawks. The Ravens blowing their field during the AFC Championship game.

It's still scary to put all that pressure on your kicker. That decision must be so tough for all sides. Apparently Eli yelled to Bradshaw to not score, Bradshaw finally figured it all out when was too late. It was all high drama. Crazy game!!!

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Location: Rhode Island, United States