by Ryan Meehan
This year’s conference championship Sunday proved yet again that American football still remains one of the best products available anywhere on this earth. Each game was decided by three points, and we will be having a rematch of a recent Super Bowl which a lot of fans claim is one of the better Super Bowls of all time.
As for the championship games; in both cases I’m not sure that the better team won each game. However, the way I’ve seen some people react to the games today on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, you’d think everyone was eight years old all of a sudden. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Giants but I love football more. If they would have lost, this column would have been up at the exact same time. I’m a fan of the game first and it’s really sad when I read some of the things I read tonight on the social media sites. So let’s get a few things straight here:
1. To the people that say “I’m not even watching the Super Bowl, man”…yeah right, sure you aren’t. You’ll be right in front of the television just like everyone else that will be huddled around the idiot box for the highest rated TV program of all time and you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
2. If you don’t enjoy every minute of it, it’s your loss. I’m not going to sit here and cry for everyone poo-pooing about how they’re team didn’t make it – 29 other teams in addition to your team didn’t make it so shut the fuck up. Don’t walk around talking about how much it sucks and call New England the “Cheatriots” or use some unfunny (and unclever) nickname that questions Eli’s sexual orientation. It’s not fair to those of us who are enjoying this.
3. Yes, Koz is a Pats fan and I am a Giants fan, so it’s going to seem like we have more of a vested interest here but why wouldn’t anyone who loves football? Oh right, because you aren’t going to watch the game…
4. Yes, there were several questionable calls made in the NY-SF game, but they went both ways. There was a ton of no calls to balance out the madness and when you’re this far into the season you don’t complain about the officiating if you’re trying to sell everybody on the idea that you have the right to play in the Super Bowl.
5. You didn’t really want to see either of the Harbaugh brothers make it did you?
Let’s break the championship games down and examine why Sunday gave us more reasons that NFL football is king:
Patriots 23, Ravens 20
I was a little surprised by the urgency that Baltimore showed as they very well could have just laid down and claimed old age as the reason. They had an early pick that shook things up, and appeared to deserve every bit of the respect everyone (including myself) had tried to strip them of all week. To be honest, I thought this game could have ended up being a blowout. I thought Baltimore could have lost this game by 30 or 31 points. But they showed up ready, and for the first half, the game was pretty back and forth.
At the end of the first half, New England tacked on a field goal and then another at the start of the third quarter, putting them up 16-10. But then Flacco put together a very impressive drive and it was a one point game in their favor after a 29 yard touchdown to Torrey Smith. Tom Brady ran for a touchdown that would end up being the only scoring play in the fourth quarter, putting the Pats up 23-20.
Not too long after the Ravens were in place to tie things and send the game into overtime as Billy Cundiff set himself up for a 32 yard field goal. He missed, the stadium flew into a frenzy, and the rest as they say is history. The Patriots got away with one here. Their defense stepped up towards the end of the game (which they weren’t exactly known for this year) and this one could have easily gone the other way.
As for the Ravens: Unfortunately if your a Ravens fan, I don’t really know what to say about the future of your team. Although Flacco had some streaks of genius today and during the regular season, this team has established itself on its defense and I just don’t know how much time that defense has. Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed are all getting to be up their in age for guys whose positions depend so much on their speed. And I said Ray Rice would need to have a big day: He didn’t for the second straight week, and averaged just over 3 yards a carry.
Giants 20, 49ers 17
This game started out with a very misty rain falling over the Bay area. You know that type of rain that is just enough to piss you off but just light enough that if you complain about it everyone will think you’re a pussy? That same type of rain can make it very hard to hang on to a football, which we’ll discuss later.
The Giants couldn’t run on the Niners to save their lives. Not that they were concerned about saving anybody’s life, especially Eli Manning. That guy got the shit beat out of him Sunday night, dropping back to pass 58 times against an extremely punishing San Francisco defensive front. They went into halftime up 10-7 knowing that they would get the ball back on the other side of the break.
But like they’ve done so many times in the third quarter this year, the Giants failed to put forth much of an effort advancing the ball down the field to extend the lead. The 49ers would eventually take the lead by four after a 28 yard TD pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis. But they got a break as they would eventually put together a nice short little drive after a punt bounced off of returner Kyle Williams’ knee and was recovered by the Giants. A 22 yard pass from Eli to Mario Manningham over the middle would cover their ass after a couple bad penalties.
Then I thought the Giants got lucky. They were able to hold SF to a field goal on a drive that could have easily put this game out of reach with a touchdown. Think about it: If the Niners had scored 7 on that drive that Akers eventually knocked a 25 yard field goal, they would be up four points and it would be highly unlikely the Giants would have scored another touchdown without some crucial turnover. Which is exactly what would happen once we got to overtime…
Just when you though Kyle Williams’ day couldn’t get any worse, he fumbled on the punt return which gave the Giants the ball on the Niners twelve yard line. Within a minute, Lawrence Tynes was kicking the game winning field goal and the 49ers’ 2011-12 season was over.
Note about the 49ers: I feel like I should say something about San Francisco here – They played a lot better than the Giants did during several large chunks of this football game. In the end, they made one more mistake than the Giants did, and it cost them the whole shebang. I do want to say one thing about the Vernon Davis end zone penalty: Even though I though it was horseshit, I want to point out to everyone that the rule is if you use the ball as a prop, you’re going to get a 15 yards unsportsmanlike conduct, but that DOESN’T mean that UC calls are limited to celebrations that involve the ball. Trust me, if you whip your dick out and start rubbing it on the grass after a game winning touchdown, you’re looking at a whole lot more than fifteen yards.
So, this of course leaves us with the Patriots against the Giants in Super Bowl Forty Six. We’ll be doing a Super Bowl preview here at FOH next week and I’ll be back then with my pick, so stay tuned. And I may go into greater detail about these two games at some point, but for now I have to get to bed.
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