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Sports Talk: Super Bowl very entertaining — even for a channel surfer

February 4, 2008
Marietta Times
Mixed feelings.

That’s what I have after watching the New York Giants rally for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to upset the heavily favored New England Patriots, 17-14, in Sunday’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

On one hand, I’m happy for the Giants, who not many football fans picked to win. But the G-men earned it, and proved that an underdog can have a bite, and win despite the odds.

In professional sports, underdogs don’t often prevail as a rule, especially in a game as big as the Super Bowl.

The biggest Super Bowl upset still has to be the one in 1969 when Joe Namath quarterbacked the New York Jets to victory over the Baltimore Colts. Nobody but nobody gave the Jets any chance of winning.

This is not to take anything away from the Giants, because they are a worthy champion.

But you know, on the other hand, I feel kind of sad for the New England Patriots. Here they were undefeated, and needing just one more win — a Super Bowl win — to cap a perfect 19-0 season. They were on the verge of making professional sports history. I mean, only the 1972 Miami Dolphins had ever completed a perfect season with a 17-0 mark.

Even with an 18-1 record, the Patriots have nothing to be ashamed about. They, like the Giants, played their hearts out, and nearly won it when Tom Brady hooked up with Randy Moss for a score late in the fourth quarter. If they had emerged victorious, they, too, would’ve been a worthy champion.

As I see it, the only problem with that go-ahead New England touchdown was there was still plenty of time left in the game for the G-men to come back, which, of course, is what they did.

Give QB Eli Manning and the Giants credit, because they kept their composure, and made the clock work for them with what turned out to be the game-winning drive. When Manning hit Plaxico Burress with a scoring strike in the final minute of play, that was the backbreaker.

After the game, Burress was crying tears of happiness.

Helping set up Burress’s touchdown was David Tyree’s catch against his helmet. Incredible. If Tyree doesn’t make that reception, the Giants probably don’t win the Super Bowl.

In retrospect, New England really played well enough to win, but literally ran out of time.

If the Patriots had won, Moss, who played collegiately at Marshall University, would’ve been one of the heroes. In that respect, I feel kind of sad for him.

After the game, Moss and the Patriots played it kind of cool, but you just knew they were all hurting inside.

n Oh yes, I’m happy for the New York Giants for another reason: my late father would’ve been rooting for them.

Growing up, I cheered for Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns, and they used to have some classic gridiron battles with Sam Huff and the Giants.

I can still see my father jumping out of his rocking chair, looking to lead the downfield blocking as former Giant great Frank Gifford broke a long gainer.

n “Channel surfer! Channel surfer!”

That’s what my wife calls me sometimes. And, I have to admit that during Super Bowl commercials, I, with my little Chihuahua Poncho in my lap, was switching to channel 34, which was featuring “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” most of Sunday. What a terrific show.

Then, I’d switch the channel back to the Super Bowl.

n I’m not really a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fan, but I did catch some of his act during Super Bowl halftime. I jokingly said to my wife that he’s Bob Dylan’s younger brother.

Fact is, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers did back up Dylan at one time, on a tour of Australia.

One of Petty’s songs that he didn’t sing at halftime has the line, “it’ll all work out eventually.” Applying it to the Super Bowl, it obviously did for the Giants, but not for the Patriots.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at


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