I love football. It's my favorite thing. The off-season is long and bleak, and I'm already feeling bummed that there won't be anymore football until after Labor Day (the pro-bowl doesn't count). My favorite team is the Denver Broncos. I grew up with them. I love them. I love them when they win. I love them when they lose. They really hurt me this season, but I still love them.
This season, in general, was hard on me. The New England Patriots was going to win it all. Everybody knew that from the second week. That was the season's narrative. The plan. The Way It Was. Knowing how the season is going to end in the middle of September really takes all the fun out of it. I couldn't muster much enthusiasm for the post-season until after the final game of the season, when the Patriots defeated the Giants by the field goal.
The Pats had a weakness. And the Giants just needed a second chance to exploit it.
I'm not a bitter person who hates the Pats just because they're "perfect." Nothing they did this season had any bearing on the Broncos. And I am entirely indifferent to the Giants. So regardless of the outcome tonight, it wouldn't make a huge difference to me.
But...I'm a sucker for the underdog. I have always been a sucker for the underdog. Hey, I'm a Broncos fan (and a Utah Jazz fan in the basketball realm). Cheering for the underdog is often a requirement. Tom Brady is the undisputed alpha-male of the NFL. Eli Manning is the little punk kid. Most of his fans hate him. most everybody hates him because he isn't his brother, Peyton. He's made mistakes. He's been known to choke. He's not battle-scarred. In fact, in many ways, he reminds me of an eager puppy.
Eli Manning challenged his alpha-male tonight. He met him, head-to-head. Fearlessly. Even calmly. And he won.
that's why I cheered for the Giants. Because nobody thought they should be there. Nobody thought they could win. The entire fucking NFL forgot that everything can change on any given Sunday. I cheered for the Giants because for 60 minutes, they embodied what the National Football League should be about. Triumph. Excitement. Power. Dominance. As Tom Petty sang tonight during the half-time show, Eli stood his ground.
Congratulations to him.
And to the Patriots--there's always next year.