A Super, Super Bowl Weekend

by Lou on February 4, 2008

This is a post without even the pretension of poker content. It was Super Bowl weekend, and there was just too much going on to think about poker.

Finally, a Super Bowl that lived up to the hype, an incredible game featuring incredible plays and an upset of incredible proportions. Even the halftime show was good, especially when compared to recent halftime disasters, such as the cadaverous looking Rolling Stones, the infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” and the majority of middle-of-the-road musical acts that have bored us all to tears during so many halftime shows, turning the Super Bowl into the Stupor Bowl.

So much about this game stands out in my mind. Eli Manning spinning out of what looked to be a sure sack and heaving a pass downfield to David Tyree who made a catch for the ages by pinning the ball to his head, then wresting it away form a defender.

The sight of the unflappable Tom Brady flapping like all quarterbacks do when they are pressured: he flapped, took sacks, missed receivers, and looked entirely human. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter, when the Giants’ defense appeared absolutely gassed, that Brady looked like his old self—given any time at all to find a receiver, he’s going to find that receiver all of the time.

But the Giants made one last stand when they had to, and Eli Manning looked as cool as his big brother leading his team to two fourth quarter touchdowns—the last with only 35 seconds to play to seal the win. He played a great game: two touchdown passes, 19 for 34 passing and 255 yards, and only one interception that was much more a passed ball than a wild pitch.

But wait! Victory quite sealed yet, not even with that last touchdown drive. Brady lofts a bomb down field to Randy Moss. But Moss outran Brady’s arm strength and had to slow down for the ball. That was just enough for the Giants to tip it away. Victory sealed. Time for Giant’s receiver Plaxico Burress to say, “It’s the greatest feeling in professional sports,” then break down in tears during a post-game interview.

It was a humanizing moment after a game of super-human effort—more humanizing than New England coach Bill Belichick, who didn’t look or sound like the genius sportswriters were making him out to be all year long. All he offered an analysis was, “They played well. They made some plays. We made some plays. They just made a few more. We played as hard as we could. We just couldn’t make enough plays.”

In the end, he didn’t seem superhuman at all, only a guy suffering his own wardrobe malfunction of sorts—a guy looking for a chance to appear on What Not to Wear, get a makeover, and rid himself of those atrocious hoodies he’s all too fond of.

Oh well, I guess the hoodie gives him a place to bury his head for a few days so he won’t have to listen to the sound of popping corks, as the 1972 Miami Dolphins crack open some bottles of bubbly to celebrate their still-intact record: the NFL’s only perfect season.
As a born-and-bred New Yorker and a Southern California for years, it was a great sports weekend all all-around. Not only did the Giants overcome all odds to defeat the Pats, but the site of UCLA’s dismantling Arizona on national TV Saturday night was a thing of joy.

The Lakers looked good too. They made a steal of a deal in obtaining Pau Gasol from Memphis and they won their Sunday game too. Not only will Gasol help the team during Andrew Bynum’s 8-week injury recuperation, once Bynum is healthy, the Lakers will be very large and effective up front with Bynum at center, and Gasol and Lamar Odom at forwards.

I didn’t get to see the Lakers’ game. I was on a 40 mile bike ride Sunday morning, in training for the Tour de Palm Springs, an annual event that supports 75 local charities. Cyclists can ride 100, 55, 25, 10 or 5 miles. I’ll be riding 55 miles—which may sound like a lot to some of you, and a little to others—but it’s the hills that are tough on this route, which takes riders just about over the San Andreas fault line. I’m just hoping for nice temperatures, no winds, and stable earth beneath my wheels.

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