Like millions of other people around the world, I tuned in and watched the New York Giants shock the world last night, and like many of them, I couldn't be happier. I have spent most of the day digesting unhealthy (but of course animal free) food and digesting the history that we witnessed last night. It's kind of a strange thing to think about just how happy everyone is that the Patriots lost, and to be honest I think it says a lot about the strange relationship our society has with sports.
But before I get going, I'd like to point out one thing...I was RIGHT. That's right, back before the Pats even played a playoff game I predicted that they would not win the Super Bowl. I'm not going to lie, when the Colts went down, I was ready to eat my words, but low and behold the other Manning backed me up and made me right all along.
Please allow me a moment to bask in my unlikely glory....
...and I'm spent....
Where was I? Oh right, basking in my glory...
....right. So I have to ask, why were so many of us rooting for the New York Giants heading into this game? Do people not realize that we could have seen the Patriots go 19-0, and be only the second team in the history of the NFL to go undefeated for the entire regular season and playoffs? Do you realize just how amazing of a thing that would/could have been? Do we even care?
There is something deep in all of our psyche that delights in watching people fall flat on their faces. How else could people be so obsessed with watching Britney Spears self-destruct in front of our very eyes?
There is something rather morbid with this part of our society. Why can't we just be happy that something historic is happening, and instead hope to see it get tainted? Can we not just be happy for someone succeeding? Are we harbouring some sort of deep jealousy that we will never be as talented/rich/successful/good-looking as Tom Brady, so we want to see him get knocked on his ass?
One of the biggest complaints about modern sports is that with salary caps and free agency, there are no more "Great Teams", and that dynasties may just be a thing of the past. Well, here we had a chance for a modern-day dynasty as the Patriots could have gotten their 4th Super Bowl in 7 years, which is damn-near as good as the Oilers were in the 1980s. But yet, whenever a team gets poised to achieve dynastic heights, everyone turns on them. Does nobody remember how happy everyone was when the Patriots were when they won their first Super Bowl by defeating the 14 point favoured St. Louis Rams in 2002? And maybe their second Super Bowl win was completely overshadowed by Janet Jackson's nipple, so I guess it was only their third one that people really started to notice how great of a team this was, and then then they started hating them.
Completely lost in all of this Giants love is the simple fact that Eli Manning is a douche bag. He joins Eric Lindros and Steve Francis in the club of players who blatantly refused to play for the team that they were drafted to and demanded a trade, without ever having played a game at the highest level. Eli was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and for whatever reason (oh right, because he's a douche bag) demanded a trade to the Giants, rather than fight with him, the Chargers made the trade, and I guess the rest, as they say, is history.
Back when I first reflected on the Chris Benoit tragedy, I mentioned that "We all have such a strange relationship with our media stars. We are usually able to forgive people if they are still able to entertain us.", and I guess that holds true for Eli Manning. The man put himself over his (rightful) team, and should be decried as a result, but yet, here he goes and pulls off the unthinkable, and is all of a sudden a hero. It really is a sign of the short-term memory that is prevalent in our society. I wonder, if the Giants go on to win a few more Super Bowls in a row, if people will all of a sudden start to hate them to.
Maybe there is an important lesson to be gained from all of this. None of us are perfect, and if we try to be perfect then we will only fail in the most spectacular of ways. Who knows, if the Patriots hadn't been so obsessed with getting a 16-0 regular season, and decided to rest Tom Brady than maybe, just maybe, he could have made that last throw and we would have seen some very different news in the papers this morning. But alas, Bill Belichik's reckless pursuit
of perfection, even at the expense of league rules and ethics caught up to him. I can't help but think it was karma slapping the Patriots in the face for trying just a little bit too hard.
But as they say in sports, there is always next season, and who knows, maybe people will rally behind the Patriots and cheer for them to be the unlikely of heroes. Or maybe not, even I wouldn't predict something that unlikely...
Until next time,