If Tom Brady could have been a receiver, as well as quarterback, and caught all those many “dropped passes” he threw himself, as his wife Gisele laments is impossible with the rules being such as they are; or if Gisele were a man having skill equal to what it takes to walk back and forth on a projected elevated aisle as a super model, New England would have won hands down! No bout a doubt it!
If Gisele were not a super sycophantic fan (of her husband), she would not have made her “f****ing” tirade. Had she not been a Gisele-come-lately to the game, she would have understood that dropped passes happen, happen now and then – they are part of the game, like interceptions and safeties.
Besides, there weren’t all that many “dropped passes.” The one to Wes Welker, if caught would have been a spectacular catch - albeit it would have likely clinched the game. On the following play, two defenders had blanketed Deion Branch and there was no way he could have caught that pass.
On the first play of the final drive, Branch did not drop Brady’s pass. In fact it was almost picked off by Kenny Phillips who had both his hands on it for a split second, but it was too hot to handle. On the next play the normally sure-handed Aaron Hernandez did drop the pass. That was his one and only dropped pass. It was the Patriots’ one and only “dropped pass” too. At any rate, it stopped the clock and gave her would-be hero another opportunity to move the ball 80 yards in about 45 seconds with just one timeout left.
Sorry, Gisele, the clock beat Tom!
On that penultimate Patriot’s drive with 4th and 11 on the Giants’ 44 yard line with less than four minutes remaining in the game, what would you do, reader, if you were in Belichick’s shoes?
You know what Gisele would do if she were coach – just coach, no longer receiver par excellence. Having more confidence in Tom than perhaps he has in himself, she would have told her hubby to throw the ball and pray. Not to be mocked here, Gisele’s confidence is nowise ill founded. Just a few minutes ago Tom had set a Super Bowl record, completing 16 consecutive passes, smashing the previous record by three.
Nevertheless, what Gisele or anyone else would have done is moot. Belichick is the coach. Even though Tom and his teammates had moved the ball from their own 8 yard line to the Giants 44, picking up three first downs, Belichick’s confidence vanished suddenly, inexplicably, after a rush for a one-yard loss and two incomplete passes.
Had the Patriots gone for the first down and made it, they would have eaten up more precious time and, in all probability, would have won the game. Had they gone for the first down and missed it, they would still have had decent field position. Suppose they did take the attempt but missed, it would have tested their team’s mettle, and if they were in fact the better team, they would have won.
In hindsight it is perfectly clear that the Patriots should not have punted! Moreover, it is expected that the multi-million dollar coach Belichick should have had the perspicacity not to punt.
Unmistakably, Coach Belichick’s decision to punt evinced a lack of confidence in both the offensive and defensive teams.
Can you imagine the anxiety Gisele must have felt when Belichick decided to punt and how it must have intensified after the next play when Eli hit Manningham with the play of the day, which was also the longest play of the day? She likely had begun to seethe. Evidently, she was not sitting within earshot of the coach, for her scornful vituperations would have cowed him. She was sitting at bird’s eye view, cursing up a storm at the terrible turn of events! No doubt, she was not the only Patriot who had begun to question the coach’s by-the-book decision.
The defense clearly perceived their coach’s angst. Until the last Giants’ drive, they had been playing good, and at times great. Eli, who had been playing good, was now looking great, and the better he looked, the worse the Pats’ defense played. By the time the Giants crossed into the red zone, the game was about as good as over. For the Patriots to win in that 0:57 seconds would have taken a near miracle!
This fourth quarter blunder was not the coach’s sole blunder of the day. At the start of the second quarter on their very first drive, down 9-0, the Patriots settled for a field goal kicked from the Giants 11 yard line.
What’s three points at this juncture? Not much! It would take them two more unanswered field goals to even the score! What they needed was touchdowns! Does Belichick’s timidity show lack of confidence in his team’s offense as well as their defense? Arguably not, but, for sure, it would have charged up the Patriots and backed the Giants to their end zone. In a sport which emotion means so much, indeed it was a blunder. It was a missed opportunity to lay down the gauntlet and ratchet up the emotion.
Speaking of missed opportunities, the Patriots had nine fewer opportunities than had the Giants: 61 to 72 plays. Moreover, none of the Giants’ plays were executed in desperation. Another way, perhaps a more telling way to look at this disparity, is that the Giants controlled the ball for 14 minutes and ten seconds longer than did the Patriots – all most a quarter longer: 37:05 to 22:55. Some of the disparity is due to the several times the Patriots lined up without huddling, and then there were the safety and the interception, but the far greater portion is due to the fact that three times – all three times occurring rather deep in their own territory – the Patriots couldn’t muster a first down after three plays, thus were forced to punt.
In contrast, with every possession the Giants had, they were able to pick up at least one first down. When they did have to punt, they backed the Patriots to their goal: at the four, six, and eight yard lines.
Although the disparity is not necessarily due to coaching, it clearly shows that the Giants are the better team. Moreover, it underscores the folly of the Patriots having played conservatively for a moment, let alone for the entire game save 57 seconds.
The Giants entered the Super Bowl having won six of their last seven games. Should the fact that the Giants were not the same team they were in mid season when they lost four straight have fazed Belichick? Apparently, it did not.
By all indications, this fact didn’t faze Gisele either. In all likelihood, she is still totally unaware that the Patriots lost to a better team.
The Patriots defense failed to come through when it was most needed at the end of the game. Their offense failed with the safety, failed with the interception, and failed thrice to mount a drive.
As for coach Belichick, he failed to realize his team would lose before it was too late to do a wit about it. Worse, he was totally witless to have wasted a first down challenging Manning’s catch caught right under his very nose.
As for Gisele, she failed to realize her Tom was the goat of the game. Her Tom was responsible for the safety. Her Tom was responsible for the interception. Her Tom was responsible, in part, for failing three times to muster a drive.
Hail to the Giants, especially to coach Tom Coughlin!
And deepest regrets to the Patriots, especially to Gisele and Tom!