As an addendum to my previous post, I wanted to share a few final thoughts on the Super Bowl.
My two keys coming into the game were: 1) The Giants defense had to put more pressure on Brady than it did on Brett Favre and Romo in the previous playoff games; 2) The offense needed to establish the running game to loosen up the Patriots defense.
The other obvious key was to avoid turnovers, but that qualifies as a no-brainer.
Credit the Pats' front seven but the Giants never did fully establish the running game. Brandon Jacobs made something out of nothing several times and Ahmed Bradshaw showed the makings as a terrific rusher, but the running game was pretty much a non-factor.
But the Giants defense. Wow. We all knew about the great Michael Strahan, and Osi Umenyiora is the lone Giant headed to Sunday's Pro Bowl, but Justin Tuck and Jay Alford were excellent, too. I don't want to forget Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins, who also did their parts, albeit not as dramatically as the others.
I've heard relatively few talk of the linebackers, with the possible exception of Antonio Pierce, but Kawika Mitchell turned in a superb effort.
One reason I had the ultimate confidence in the Giants going in was due to recent performance of both clubs.
Osi said the Giants would have beaten New England in Week 17 had a playoff berth depended on it. I think that's a fair statement. The Week 17 game is at the heart of this analysis. The Giants were outstanding, save two late possessions where Eli threw a pick and they stumbled their way to third-and-too-long.
Going back further, the Pats had close calls against the Ravens and Eagles. They weren't the same juggernaut they were earlier in the year. I got the feeling that they didn't particularly care for playing against the NFC East face-busters.
Meanwhile, the Giants imparted their run-first, defense-oriented approach on the likes of Tony Romo and Brett Favre. They silenced two of the better quarterbacks in the game, and the two most explosive offenses in the NFC. Granted the Pats are on a different level than Dallas and Green Bay, but it's human nature that nobody likes to get sacked, pounded and hounded. Tom Brady, it turns out, is human.
So what of the future? The Giants are the third youngest team in the NFL. The elder statesmen -- Strahan and punter Jeff Feagles -- are likely to give it a go for at least one more year. And Eli has reached a higher plane just four years into a career that WILL bring more Super Bowls.
GM Reese, who did such a terrific job in his first draft, will no doubt shore up the secondary, add a breakaway receiver and keep the big boys on both lines coming.
The top of the world is a great place to find your perspective.