The New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
There, I said it. Wrote it, rather.
Not that I couldn't sort of feel it coming. Bill Simmons said it better than I ever could have (given that he's been a fan for far longer, and all), but when they didn't go for it on 4th-and-about-two, when every single other time this year they would've, I got worried.
Truth be told, I got worried before the game even started, when the people in my house decided it was better to keep playing Rock Band (a decision for which I bear them no malice - it made sense at the time, if you weren't me) than watch the performance of the National Anthem. We barely made it in time for the coin toss.
I thought this was the ultimate finish strong team; wasn't that what we heard all year, that they kept the intensity dials up to 11 for all 60 minutes of game, and that's why they poured the points on after any reasonable team would just wear out the clock?
I got a text message from a buddy of mine from high school after the first Jaguars touchdown a few weeks ago: "7-0. Mmm, sexy." My reply: "Wait for the 2nd half." That was the point, wasn't it? You play the first half, you figure out what the other team was doing, and you shut it down in the second half. You figure out what they don't want you to do, and if you can't just go ahead and do it anyway, you figure out another way to march up the field and get your points. You win in the air, you win on the ground, you win with defense, you win with special teams.
They found a way to do it every time the rest of the year, why not in the only fucking game that matters?
When we got paid last Thursday, the first thing I did was log onto the Patriots webpage so that I could buy a Tom Brady jersey (in retrospect, Kevin Faulk might have been a better choice, for he probably has a higher Patriots fan Q than the capital "M" Man, but I'm satisfied with my purchase). The webpage was promoting a special, "limited-edition" (I doubt anything is limited edition anymore, what with the advent of DVD and all) Super Bowl XLII-edition jersey that cost $5 more than the regular one. I agonized over the decision far longer than I should have, but wound up going with the one that has "AZ42" emblazoned around the collar. My reasoning was this: "Whether they win or lose, this jersey's going to be symbolic of something big."
That was probably my first mistake. I allowed the possibility of a Patriot loss to enter my mind. Aren't you supposed to be thinking positively at a time like this? After all, the Giants have [Super Bowl XLII MVP] Eli fucking Manning; we've got Tom Brady. I imagine that Eli's the mocked, unwanted Manning child that they tried not to mention, for fear of depressing themselves at family gatherings. I mean, Archie's football royalty or something (would we remember Elway more fondly if he'd never made it to the podium after the Big Game(TM) like Archie never made it?), Peyton's universally considered one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, and hell, even Cooper's a pretty successful... whatever he is. Lawyer, or something?
But Eli... woof. Someone one said that it looked like he'd be just as interested writing HTML for a webpage as he would playing professional football, and I think that sums up the Eli face perfectly. I was ecstatic, for about a moment, when the camera lingered on the open-mouthed, confused-dog-looking Eli Manning face during the game. You contrast that with the intensity, the fury of the Tom Brady face, and there's no question whose team has the better quarterback. No question at all.
And yet. And yet. And yet.
My second mistake was mocking Eli as much as I have these last few... years. I'm sure that, karmically, that was set to come back and bite me in the ass at some point. The worst possible time, as it turns out.
As much as Chuck Klosterman's piece blunts the blow, it doesn't do it very substantially. But what can? Perfection, immortality, it was all so close...