'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'

It should have been a sign. It should’ve been a bullet straight to the heart of the Boston faithful. In a championship game where the mightily favored New England Patriots were looking to go undefeated on the season, the first team to do so since 1972, the halftime gig was Tom Petty and the Heartbreaks.

I witnessed Super Bowl XLII in the same home, the same suburb, the same group of military doctors, on the north side of San Antonio that I witnessed Super Bowl XLI. We had beer and chili, three dozen flavors of dips, and those little smoky sausages cooked in salty dough. But this year, the doctor I had demonized in my Super Bowl XLI essay was on the firing line, wearing his Tom Brady No. 12 jersey, sitting motionless on a the sofa for each and every snap of the ball. Watching your team play a championship game is like going to the dentist. You want it to be over with quickly, so you can breath again.

To the best of my knowledge I was one of the few who thought the upstart Giants would win this game, along with Keith Olbermann and a pet grizzly bear in Montana who predicts the winner of each Super Bowl by eating a pie. And, this is not to say the Patriots lost the game, New York simply out-played Goliath, executing some of the finest team defense I have ever seen. Eli Manning emerged from the shadow of big brother, and his father before him, and played with a cool hand and level head I had never seen from the former Ole Miss star. I don’t think it helped the Patriots trademarked “19-0” before the game. On the morning after, I don’t think the Patriots really had a punchers chance from the first snap.

But last night I felt no schadenfreude, I felt no glee. It was a great game, and I watched a Boston Boy slowly sink further and further into the sofa, knowing that his team was going to lose a historical upset, an upset we haven’t seen since Super Bowl III when the New York Jets killed off the mighty Baltimore Colts.

I think the time for the Patriots has come to a close with this game. They have too many free agents, too many potential retirees, and too much bad mojo. But the New York Giant are here, young, and look like they could play 10 more without losing. As for my doctor friend, it was heart breaking to watch a man witness the genius of Eli’s staggering comeback. I hate the Patriots, but I don’t hate their fans.

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