18-1. What does it mean? Sure, I was rooting for the Giants Sunday and sure I rooted against the Patriots almost any chance I got the entire season. However, what do we owe to 18-1? Is the season marked by the Superbowl loss?
Unfortunately for the Patriots, they will forever be remembered as the team to go undefeated and lose in the Superbowl. It took 35 years to have another undefeated team with a perfect record going into the superbowl and it might be another 35+ before we see it happen again. It is indeed very possible that they go down as the only NFL team to EVER go 18-0 and lose in the superbowl in the history of the world.
At a wide look, a Super Bowl loss looks bad for this Patriot dynasty. The '70s Steelers 4 for 4 in their Super Bowl appearances, as were the '80s 49ers. Thus I must say that Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are always going to have something over Tom Brady. But during those Steeler and 49er dynasties, there were years when they lost in the playoffs before reaching the Super Bowl. We shouldn't discredit the Patriot dynasty because that in one of their non-championship years, they lost in the Super Bowl instead of earlier in the playoffs. If the Patriots go on to win another championship this decade, they're legacy will still match the '70s Steelers and '80s 49ers and most likely surpas. In the grand scheme of things, when looking at this dynasty 10+ years from now this superbowl loss could be almost an asset to the team's list of accomplishments. How good of a chance do they have of doing this? I think very good. Brady is most likely going to be a Patriot for life, they have the 7th pick in the draft and if they can get Moss to come back and recharge their LB corps with some youth, they could be as good if not maybe better than ever!
To be honest if I had to say who I thought has a better chance of winning the Superbowl next season, the Giants or the Patriots, I would probably say the Patriots. For now, I'm going to ignore all Spygate and Spygate 2 allegations and info just because we aren't really sure what it entails right now. That aside, I think that there's really no telling if this loss marking the infamous "perfect" season will mark the Patriots "dynasty". Only time will tell.
Aside from that I was really impressed with the play of Eli Manning and the Giants Defensive line. Truly I would have liked to give the MVP award to the Giants D-Line. They really won the game. The New York defensive line dominated the game. Individual players like Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Jay Alford kept making outstanding individual plays. Tom Brady had a record setting season mostly because the New England offensive line consistently gave him time to throw and when given a chance to scan the field, Tom Brady will pick apart any defense. But the Giant pass rush consistently got to Brady, sacking him, knocking him down, throwing him off rhythm. We haven't been used to seeing Brady knocked around, but that's what the Giants did. The Giants lines, both offensive and defensive (but mostly defensive), outplayed both of the Patriots' lines.
Since in the MVP award has to go to an individual player, I think, for the game as a whole, Eli Manning is a worthy choice. In the fourth quarter, the Giants had three real possessions. Manning twice threw go-ahead touchdown passes. He completed four of five passes on 3rd down, three of them converting to first down (on a 3rd and ten, he completed a nine yard pass that allowed a short 4th down run). In the fourth quarter, he made big play after big play. He's a deserving MVP.
I tip my hat to the Giants. I'm very happy for guys like Tom Coughlin and Michael Strahan. Although, hopefully skipping training camp doesn't become a popular trend! Amidst all the screaming and cheering towards the end of the game I couldn't help but think what Tiki Barber must have been thinking!