FanDuel - WFBC

February 05, 2012

Giants edge Patriots 21 to 17: With just under a minute left the Patriots allowed the Giants to score a touchdown, and then in the final seconds the Pats failed to convert on a hail mary pass.

posted by insomnyuk to football at 10:13 PM - 122 comments

The game finally got exciting at the end there. Does this game make Eli Manning an elite quarterback?

posted by insomnyuk at 10:13 PM on February 05

Eli's one of the QBs who I watch and he just doesn't look like an elite QB. I don't know, maybe it's because he just doesn't get enough love from the pundits and so my perception is skewed- kind of like how some QBs are made out to be molded in the image of God, so I already have a preconception that they own face?

Doesn't matter, though. He's led his team to two Super Bowl victories- that makes him elite in my book.

posted by jmd82 at 10:27 PM on February 05

While I was cheering for the Pats to win, I was also (weirdly) hoping that they wouldn't score on the Hail-Mary touchdown pass.

I didn't want to hear all of the ridiculous Monday-morning-quarterback crap about how the Giants running back shouldn't have scored that last touchdown. You take every damn point you can get, and make the opposition beat you. If he doesn't score, and they flub/block the "game-winning" field goal instead, how much worse is it than Brady goes 80 yards in a minute against a defense that supposed to stop that sort of thing?

Seriously, I was looking for something to throw at the screen when the announcers started up on that crap.

posted by grum@work at 10:29 PM on February 05

I really liked Bradshaw's touchdown run. I assume he had admiral Ackbar yelling in his ear at about the two yard line.

posted by tron7 at 10:35 PM on February 05

I don't hang around here much so I apologize if I seem to be trolling but: Elway: 2 for 5 Brady: 3 for 5 Bradshaw: 4 for 4 Montana: 4 for 4

Eli is elite because he didn't panic and fuck up. I think Eli survived because of his defense but so did Montana with Haley and Lott. So often that's the case in close games.

I think we can reasonably reduce the "Best Quarterback Ever" debate though to being between Bradshaw and Montana if rings are the metric.

Unless Eli gets 2 more but, as a Saints fan, I see Brees coming between Eli and his goal.

I'm just sad because no football for a while now.

posted by vapidave at 10:35 PM on February 05

Meh. Ben Roethlisberger has two rings, too, and I wouldn't call him "elite." If all of Manning's signature victories weren't due to inCREDible catches of crap passes, I might allow as to how he might be in the same class as his brother, much less Tom Brady. But he ain't.

As for that last TD, it was definitely "playing into" Belichick's hands, but you can't blame the Giants for taking it, either. Sometimes, both sides want the same thing.

posted by Etrigan at 10:36 PM on February 05

Also, I was disappointed that Ochocinco wasn't involved in the final play. I was hoping for a wonderful redemption story ending for him. At least he got a catch in the Super Bowl.

posted by grum@work at 10:36 PM on February 05

Does this game make Eli Manning an elite quarterback?

No - he's already been one for at least 5 years.

I do bet the genius sportswriters who've been flogging the guy while pumping the likes of Romo, Rivers, etc. may finally gain some perspective.

much less Tom Brady

Geez .. Brady will someday enter the hall of fame, but Eli has outperformed Brady in every match up between the 2. Guess it's just Eli's receivers making good catches on his crap throws and Brady's receivers gassing routes on his interceptions, right?

posted by cixelsyd at 10:36 PM on February 05

Both quarterbacks played really well but if Welker makes a great catch instead of Manningham we'd be having a completely different discussion right now.

posted by tron7 at 10:50 PM on February 05

Agree with that .. Welker usually makes plays like that 3 or 4 times each game.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:54 PM on February 05

I didn't want to hear all of the ridiculous Monday-morning-quarterback crap about how the Giants running back shouldn't have scored that last touchdown.

It's not ridiculous at all. Both Belichick and Coughlin approached that play with the belief Bradshaw shouldn't have scored it. He was trying to take a knee and his momentum carried him in. Patriot defenders were even looking to knock a runner into the end zone.

I don't like the percentages of giving Tom Brady a minute to score a game-winning touchdown. It worked out for the Giants tonight, but if Coughlin tries to eat the clock and kick an easy field goal I think it's the better percentage play.

posted by rcade at 10:57 PM on February 05

Why would Eli's status have to be determined by one game? And, especially, just this one game? Yes, it's the Super Bowl, but Eli's performance in the NFC title game was pretty solid as well. Might not be the flashiest QB, but clearly ranks in the elite category. Unless, only two QB's get to be in the elite category, but even then I don't think Bradshaw would be in my top 2 group

Bradshaw, Ahmad not Terry, had to score that TD, no way do you take a knee and go for three.

posted by dviking at 10:59 PM on February 05

... I might allow as to how he might be in the same class as his brother, much less Tom Brady.

How many Super Bowls does Brady need to lose before you acknowledge there are other great quarterbacks in the NFL?

There's no doubt Eli's an elite quarterback after this season. 4,900 passing yards, an incredible number of fourth-quarter comebacks and now a second ring in four years.

posted by rcade at 11:00 PM on February 05

"Meh. Ben Roethlisberger has two rings, too, and I wouldn't call him "elite." If all of Manning's signature victories weren't due to inCREDible catches of crap passes, I might allow as to how he might be in the same class as his brother, much less Tom Brady. But he ain't.".

I totally hear you. But I'm still not ready to separate Joe Montana from Jerry Rice or Troy Aikman from Michael Irvin or Stabler from Biletnikoff or Bradwhaw from Swann or Stallworth.

I will go ahead and list my first three pics for my all-time team though: Quarterback: Joe Montana WR: please Backfield: Lott

posted by vapidave at 11:07 PM on February 05

Eli has outperformed Brady in every match up between the 2.

I'm willing to admit that Manning beat Brady. But "outperformed"? Sorry, I just don't agree. There were four or five straight drops by Patriots receivers, wrapped around two or three catches by Giants receivers that should not in any way have been catches. The Giants outperformed the Patriots, absolutely. And Manning deserves a lot of the credit for leading his team to two championships in four years, because that's what quarterbacks do.

How many Super Bowls does Brady need to lose before you acknowledge there are other great quarterbacks in the NFL?

You did notice that in that sentence you quoted I stipulated Peyton Manning as elite, right? And "elite" isn't just "great." Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are "great." Eli Manning is "great." But if we're stipulating "elite" to be "in the top quarter of starting quarterbacks in the NFL at the moment," then we're devaluing the hell out of the word. "Elite" isn't constantly having to come back in the fourth quarter. If comebacks is the metric, then Tim Tebow is the most elite quarterback of this century so far. And I don't think any of us wants that.

posted by Etrigan at 11:18 PM on February 05

The thing that occurs to me is not so much how Eli compares to Brady, but this:

Comparing coach and QB combinations in major, must win games, when I look at Peyton and Mora/Dungy/Caldwell vs. Eli and Coughlin, the latter combo is the better of the two.

Eli has proven himself to be tough, durable and effective, and, while I've never cared for Coughlin, his team has come through so many times in the last few years that I just have to tip my hat to him.

posted by beaverboard at 11:21 PM on February 05

I'm willing to admit that Manning beat Brady. But "outperformed"?

I don't see how you can make the argument that Brady outperformed Manning, given Brady's interception and his failure to execute a game-winning drive in the final :57. The Manningham catch you don't seem to want to credit Manning for, because it was such an incredible catch, was not a crap pass. He put it in a great spot 35 yards in the air.

If comebacks is the metric, then Tim Tebow is the most elite quarterback of this century so far. And I don't think any of us wants that.

Last-minute comebacks have always been a metric in sizing up a quarterback's greatness. Eli now has two of them in the Super Bowl, both over a quarterback who is unquestionably among the elite at his position. If that doesn't put him among the elite, given his stats and the incredible number of fourth-quarter comebacks this season, I fail to see what more he needed to do.

posted by rcade at 11:25 PM on February 05

Does anyone have an explanation for why Chad Ochocinco isn't in the game on the final hail mary? He's 6-foot-1, can jump and has great hands.

posted by rcade at 11:31 PM on February 05

The wife has instructed me to go fetch sandwiches and I'm hungry so I'm going to have to bail but as to the matter of coaches I'll note: When the league had 28 teams 13 of the 28 active head coaches had been assistant coaches to Bill Walsh. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Walsh_%28American_football_coach%29#Bill_Walsh_coaching_tree

posted by vapidave at 11:34 PM on February 05

Does anyone have an explanation for why Chad Ochocinco isn't in the game on the final hail mary? He's 6-foot-1, can jump and has great hands.

The announcers said it was so Gronkowski could be on the field. That didn't make sense to me, as you'd want the players able to jump the highest to be on the field, and with that bum ankle, Gronk ain't one of them.

Eli now has two of them in the Super Bowl, both over a quarterback who is unquestionably among the elite at his position.

Boy, I hate that line of reasoning. Eli didn't beat Brady. Eli beat Brady's teammates, and Eli's teammates beat Brady. Unless either quarterback is a two-way player...

posted by grum@work at 11:57 PM on February 05

Odd game. In the first half I felt like the Giants should be up by 15 and in the second half I felt like the Pats should be up by 10. Neither team played particularly well.

If Eli were an "elite" quarterback then there would be no debate about it. Elite players just are "elite", you don't need to have a conversation about it to prove it. Is Albert Pujols elite? Is Lebron James elite?

Anyway, on to basketball and hockey and baseball's coming around the bend. :)

posted by DudeDykstra at 12:10 AM on February 06

Eli didn't beat Brady. Eli beat Brady's teammates, and Eli's teammates beat Brady.

I think that view's too simplistic. Opposing quarterbacks affect each other in several important ways: time of possession, scoring pressure and last-minute control of the clock.

The Giants had the ball 15 minutes more than the Patriots, including all but one play in the first 12 minutes of the game. A lot of that was due to Eli's passing, including nine of nine completions.

Eli also kept the ball out of Brady's hands until there were 57 seconds left. He would've kept it longer too -- he's the one who told Bradshaw to take a knee on a gift touchdown, not Coughlin, the coach explained on NFL Network tonight.

Lately, it seems like most of the postseason games in the NFL are coming down to last-minute heroics. In that situation, one quarterback definitely affects the other by how much time he gobbles up.

Brady could have won this game by extending the nearly six minute drive that ended at the Giants' 44 with 4:00 remaining.

posted by rcade at 12:12 AM on February 06

If Eli were an "elite" quarterback then there would be no debate about it.

Since when is greatness settled without debate? The Hall of Fame is a huge argument every year. It's not like we all just realized simultaneously that Tom Brady was an elite quarterback. Considering the tuck rule game and his numbers in 2001, it was an open question how good he was.

posted by rcade at 12:21 AM on February 06

Opposing quarterbacks affect each other in several important ways: time of possession, scoring pressure and last-minute control of the clock.

Again, that's the defence. It has nothing to do with the opposing quarterback. If the defence lets Eli keep accumulating first downs and eating up the clock, it has nothing to do with Brady.

Brady could have won this game by extending the nearly six minute drive that ended at the Giants' 44 with 4:00 remaining.

You make it sound like he didn't want to extend it, that it was his decision to stop there. It was the Giants defence that made that decision for him.

posted by grum@work at 12:31 AM on February 06

Oh, and I was utterly confused as to the results of the penalty call at the end there. The Giants have 12 players on the field, and the play runs off 10 seconds (from 19 to 9 seconds). If the Patriots accept the penalty (which they did), why doesn't the clock reset to 19 seconds?

Shouldn't too-man-men penalties be handled the same way as defensive offsides where they have free path to the QB (blow the whistle, stop the the play and clock, assess the penalty)?

Isn't it in the Giants favour at that point to draw that penalty? The 10 seconds lost on the play (because Brady couldn't find an open receiver with the extra defender) is FAR more valuable than the 5 yard penalty.

Wouldn't it make sense for the Giants to put 24 players on the field for a couple plays in a row from the start of that drive, give up 20 yards in penalties, but chew up valuable time instead? Brady wasn't going to throw a Hail-Mary from his own 40 with 24 defenders on the field. :)

posted by grum@work at 12:52 AM on February 06

I'll come back to write something more substantial tomorrow, but man this one stung.

posted by Joey Michaels at 01:03 AM on February 06

Shouldn't too-man-men penalties be handled the same way as defensive offsides where they have free path to the QB

Yeah, or false start penalties (although the ball doesn't have to be snapped for those). We were wondering about that too - why wasn't the play blown dead immediately after the snap?

posted by LionIndex at 01:14 AM on February 06

"Both quarterbacks played really well but if Welker makes a great catch instead of Manningham we'd be having a completely different discussion right now."

And if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle, now wouldn't she?

posted by jm_mosier at 06:45 AM on February 06

And your cousins would be looking for explanations.

posted by dyams at 06:56 AM on February 06

Eli is not an elite quarterback. Certainly a big-game quarterback. He won a Super Bowl against a 13-3 team.

But a 9-7 regular-season record simply cannot translate into an elite quarterback. Does this mean that not enough regular-season games were big enough?

Certainly his teammates are also to be credited with the Super Bowl win and regular season losses. But Eli must get the credit/blame also.

posted by roberts at 07:17 AM on February 06

The Giants and Eli scored one contested passing touchdown and one gimme rushing touchdown against the 31st ranked passing defense. The Patriots were giving them the short pass, and trying to stop the big pass, which they pretty much did. Eli has some great drives - that is sure. The fact that these drives come at the end of the game surely makes them special, but putting him in the category of Brady and Peyton just seems to be overstating things.

posted by bperk at 07:26 AM on February 06

Oh, and I was utterly confused as to the results of the penalty call at the end there. The Giants have 12 players on the field, and the play runs off 10 seconds (from 19 to 9 seconds). If the Patriots accept the penalty (which they did), why doesn't the clock reset to 19 seconds?

I don't think there's an add-time rule on defense penalties unless the game ends during the play. Buddy Ryan had a "Polish goal line" defensive play to take advantage of this fact.

If Brady had seen 12 men on defense, he could've spiked the ball and gotten five free yards with little time expired, but what if the refs miss the call?

We were wondering about that too - why wasn't the play blown dead immediately after the snap?

12 men on defense is not a dead-ball penalty.

posted by rcade at 08:13 AM on February 06

I don't see how you can make the argument that Brady outperformed Manning...

Then we're even, because I don't see where I made that argument. I think both QBs in this game were about even -- one just had a better receiving corps on the day.

posted by Etrigan at 08:14 AM on February 06

I think both QBs in this game were about even -- one just had a better receiving corps on the day.

Putting it all on the receiving corps is absurd. If Brady made a pass to Welker at the 20 as good as Manning's pass to Manningham, the Pats are Super Bowl champs. Welker was wide open. Brady put the ball where Welker had to struggle to make the play, and he couldn't do it. (Brady was incredible on that 4th-and-16 pass, though.)

Brady also threw an interception on an ill-advised pass. His one-legged tight end wasn't going to make that play, even on a linebacker.

posted by rcade at 08:17 AM on February 06

To those who think Eli Manning is not now an elite quarterback, what exactly does he need to do to become one?

posted by rcade at 08:26 AM on February 06

If Brady made a pass to Welker at the 20 as good as Manning's pass to Manningham, the Pats are Super Bowl champs.

All year long, Welker catches balls thrown like that for him. He led the league in receptions, so I'm sure there were more than a few that were not in the perfect location.

And the Manningham reception was more about his incredible footwork than the pass itself.

posted by grum@work at 08:32 AM on February 06

The Manning pass to Manningham was perfectly placed, and in order for him to be open Manning had to look off the safety until the last second. How can you give Brady no blame for the Welker pass and Manning so little credit for the Manningham pass? I give up.

posted by rcade at 08:35 AM on February 06

One thing that people don't seem to take into account often enough about Eli's progress: he has had to come of age as a pro QB while bathed in the unforgiving and inescapable glare of the nation's media epicenter.

That is a passage that is not made lightly or easily. Many men have not been up to the challenge. It is a factor that has to be accounted for.

He did not shirk from the challenge. He sought it out.

It's a lot tougher than having to come of age in NY than in a place like Indianapolis.

And doubly so in Eli's case, with all the added pressure and heightened expectations after the engineered draft day trade that sent a goodly amount of talent to the Chargers.

If you think Mark Sanchez is miserable now, ask him how how he'd like to add to his woes being the younger brother of a legendary all-world QB who had already blazed a trail of glory in a much cozier, more forgiving market.

posted by beaverboard at 08:42 AM on February 06

To those who think Eli Manning is not now an elite quarterback, what exactly does he need to do to become one?

Consistently play outstanding. This ends as a great year for the Giants, but the regular season was not impressive. The Giants got swept by the Redskins this year and barely made the playoffs. To be elite as an NFL player, you should be arguably the best player at your position in the league at some point. Do you think you could make a good case that Eli was the best QB in the league this year? Any year of his career?

posted by bperk at 08:44 AM on February 06

Putting it all on the receiving corps is absurd.

Okay, seriously, I'm not "putting it all on the receiving corps." I already said that Eli is great. I said that he was as good as Brady last night. I just don't think he's elite, because to me, at least, and I know that I don't speak for everyone it's largely about consistency over time. Brady hasn't lost eight games in a season ever. Manning has done it twice in just over half the time, and either goes to the Super Bowl or is one-and-done in the playoffs. He's just too spiky to be "elite."

posted by Etrigan at 08:45 AM on February 06

One thing that people don't seem to take into account often enough about Eli's progress: he has had to come of age as a pro QB while bathed in the unforgiving and inescapable glare of the nation's media epicenter.

One, as you say, he sought that out. He gets no credit for forcing a trade.

Two, you think Peyton Manning doesn't get coverage because he's in Indy? He got more headlines than his brother this year for not playing. Thirty years ago, maybe NY is a harder place to QB than Green Bay. Nowadays, the media landscape is too huge and granular for someone to hide in a small market.

posted by Etrigan at 08:50 AM on February 06

Shouldn't too-man-men penalties be handled the same way as defensive offsides where they have free path to the QB (blow the whistle, stop the the play and clock, assess the penalty)?

Isn't it in the Giants favour at that point to draw that penalty? The 10 seconds lost on the play (because Brady couldn't find an open receiver with the extra defender) is FAR more valuable than the 5 yard penalty.

Wouldn't it make sense for the Giants to put 24 players on the field for a couple plays in a row from the start of that drive, give up 20 yards in penalties, but chew up valuable time instead? Brady wasn't going to throw a Hail-Mary from his own 40 with 24 defenders on the field. :)

I made a similar comment to my friend after this call. As rcade mentioned, there's no rule regarding putting the time back on the clock and it is not a dead-ball penalty, so the play has to happen. In your 24-defender scenario (or any situation where one team is repeatedly sending out extra defenders and thus flagrantly violating this rule), I believe the refs may have the flexibility to call unsportsmanlike conduct for 15 yards. At least, I would like to believe that qualifies as unsportsmanlike conduct, as that is exactly what it is.

posted by bender at 09:09 AM on February 06

rcade, I'll consider Eli an elite quarterback when he marries a supermodel.

posted by apoch at 09:14 AM on February 06

To be elite as an NFL player, you should be arguably the best player at your position in the league at some point.

I don't think an elite quarterback has to be better than all the other elite quarterbacks in any particular season. Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are all elite quarterbacks. Eli Manning has three 4,000-yard seasons in a row and is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Both his Super Bowl victories were accomplished with last-minute game-winning drives.

He has a weak regular-season record compared to other elite quarterbacks, but how much does that matter? Super Bowls are what you play for, not regular season success. He did engineer seven game-winning drives in the regular season this year. Would I have said he was an elite quarterback before last night? No. Do I think he is now? Absolutely.

Brady hasn't lost eight games in a season ever.

As great as Brady is, he's 6-6 in the postseason since starting 10-0.

posted by rcade at 09:22 AM on February 06

How the Brady/Manning debate can revolve around the Welker/Manningham catches is very confusing to me.

Welker had beaten the coverage, was wide open and Brady over-threw him. Bad on Brady. Manningham was in tight double coverage, and Manning put the ball exactly where it had to be. Good on Manning.

Nowadays, the media landscape is too huge and granular for someone to hide in a small market

While you may be correct to a certain level, clearly the NY media landscape is far more stressful than markets like Indy, Minnesota, etc.. Your example of GB is unfair as their past makes for a tougher environment for QB's. Rodgers had far higher expectations to hit than Peyton did when he started in Indy. Having a family pedigree to live up to just heightened the bar Eli had to pass in order to be accepted. He has shouldered that weight well.

All year long, Welker catches balls thrown like that for him.

That sounds like a reason that Brady should not be considered elite...his receivers make great plays that make him look better.

posted by dviking at 09:29 AM on February 06

... I believe the refs may have the flexibility to call unsportsmanlike conduct for 15 yards.

There's a "palpably unfair act" rule the refs have in case of something as obviously unfair as putting 24 men on the field. But sneaking one or two extras in, with 15 seconds left, seems like smart devious football.

posted by rcade at 09:29 AM on February 06

Would I have said he was an elite quarterback before last night? No. Do I think he is now? Absolutely.

I guess I'm missing what you think he did last night that propelled him into elite status. One passing touchdown, continuing a couple of drives, a great pass (and then great catch) to Manningham? He played well, but it wasn't close to some of the great games by a QB. He won, and he got the MVP, mainly because no one else distinguished themselves. I think the Giants defense stopping the Patriots was more impressive than the Giants offense, but the MVP is for one player. I'm not trying to diminish his performance, but I wasn't blown away by it.

posted by bperk at 09:33 AM on February 06

According to Slate, the Giants had a 98 percent win probability if Bradshaw takes a knee at the one-foot line and an 88 percent probably because he fell in.

posted by rcade at 09:49 AM on February 06

Eli Manning has three 4,000-yard seasons in a row and is a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

To be fair, Eli won the MVP this time around because nobody else on the field stood up and did anything special. Manningham's catch really was the MVP play, but he didn't do much else to warrant it. Eli was good, not great. Bradshaw scored the winning TD, but could've been the goat for doing so. No defensive player lived up to their own hype. Somebody had to win it and the winning QB has an edge on that award always.

That was such a poorly played game, it was actually surprising it was a Super Bowl. Bad penalties killed both team at crucial times and the Giants were lucky some of their sloppiness with the ball didn't result in turnovers. In the end, this was a game that was decided by about three plays (NE 12 men on the field when they forced a fumble deep in their own zone, Welker's drop and Manningham's catch) all of which went the Giants' way. They made more plays.

I was one of the most vocal anti-Eli being an elite quarterback at the beginning of the season. I don't think I was wrong then; Eli last year, and Eli at 7-7, was a whole different quarterback than the guy who threw the team on his back and carried them through the playoffs.

There's something special about Eli sometimes, and maybe he's turned a corner this year, but the Giants' previous 30 games before "the run" this year had Eli throwing 40 picks and going 17-13. That's why it's not as cut and dried with Eli as it is with, say, Brady or Rodgers, because his numbers are murkier and occasionally, he's uninspiring.

That said, do I think he belongs in the top 10 now? You bet. You don't win two superbowls and play the way he did and not get some credit for it. Dude played up to his pre-season prediction and hats off to him for it.

posted by dfleming at 09:56 AM on February 06

As to the 12 men on the field penalty, don't the officials have the ability to call an illegal substitution penalty when more players come onto the field than leave? While they can't be expected to catch every violation, in a situation like the final seconds of a Super Bowl perhaps they should be.

Clearly the ref's ought to catch anything close to the Polish goal line.

As to Manning's standing among elite QB's, I would agree that one game doesn't decide his placing. However, at the end of one's career, Super Bowl wins are an impressive stat, and Super Bowl wins over another elite QB count even more. Regardless of where you rank him, I think you would have to agree that Eli improved his ranking considerably last night.

posted by dviking at 10:05 AM on February 06

As to the 12 men on the field penalty, don't the officials have the ability to call an illegal substitution penalty when more players come onto the field than leave?

Any number of players can enter the field while the ball is dead. The offense can't have more than 11 in the huddle, but otherwise the number of players for the offense or defense only matters while the ball is in play.

posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on February 06

As to Manning's standing among elite QB's, I would agree that one game doesn't decide his placing. However, at the end of one's career, Super Bowl wins are an impressive stat, and Super Bowl wins over another elite QB count even more.

Except -- and this is the most painful part of this, for me -- I'm not sure how firm Brady's elite status is, any more. It seems like he's gone from being a level or two beyond anybody else, to being a step ahead of the pack, to being more or less an equal member of a small group of very good quarterbacks. Yeah, I know that's "elite" by any definition, but Manning is working his way up, while Brady is having to work hard to stay in place.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:11 AM on February 06

"My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time" -- Gisele Bunchen to a heckler after the game

posted by rcade at 10:20 AM on February 06

All year long, Welker catches balls thrown like that for him.

That sounds like a reason that Brady should not be considered elite...his receivers make great plays that make him look better.

There's a difference between consistently throwing good passes to consistently good receivers and throwing wobbly crap to guys who played up for a single play. The Manningham pass was a good one that benefited from a great (almost elite) catch. The Welker drop and the several other bad drops by normally good Patriot receivers in the fourth quarter were whatever the opposite of elite would be.

posted by Etrigan at 10:22 AM on February 06

"My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time" -- Gisele Bunchen to a heckler after the game

The blame his teammates defense seems like a bad idea.

posted by bperk at 10:30 AM on February 06

I'm not sure how firm Brady's elite status is, any more.

Second most passing yards in a season in history this year and a super bowl appearance. I mean, there are other elite guys too, but I don't know what metric you would use that would include Brees, Rodgers, even Manning, and not Brady, other than the fact he's 35 and may decline at some point.

The blame his teammates defense seems like a bad idea.

I don't think that's her point. I think her point is that there isn't one person to blame. Brady's not on the field sloppily tackling, taking penalties or catching balls, all of which directly resulted in the outcome.

Those throws to Welker and Branch are on him because they were behind the receiver. Welker usually makes that catch, but it's still not a perfect ball like Manning/Manningham was.

posted by dfleming at 10:37 AM on February 06

To me an elite quarterback is a player who elevates their play and carries their team in big games. Eli is all of that.

Just think of the media bombardment we'd be getting today if Brady controls the game the way Eli did, made the plays Eli did, and won the game the way Eli did.

Brady elite? Entitled sounds more accurate here.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:42 AM on February 06

Those throws to Welker and Branch are on him because they were behind the receiver.

I think that Branch pass had to be behind him because of a defender blocking the route otherwise.

posted by rcade at 10:42 AM on February 06

That sounds like a reason that Brady should not be considered elite...his receivers make great plays that make him look better.

Deion Branch, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, David Givens, Reche Caldwell, David Patten, etc. never put up numbers anywhere else like they did when Brady was throwing them the ball. Maybe there is something in the drinking water in Boston that makes receivers into career makers, but I'm guessing that a more plausible explanation is the guy who threw them the ball was pretty good.

posted by dfleming at 10:47 AM on February 06

I mean, there are other elite guys too, but I don't know what metric you would use that would include Brees, Rodgers, even Manning, and not Brady, other than the fact he's 35 and may decline at some point.

I don't think LBB was kicking him out of the elite -- just acknowledging that he's not the unquestioned greatest quarterback on the planet any more, the way he looked a few years ago when he was 10-0 in the playoffs and one just one more win from a perfect season.

If I was a Patriots fan, I'd be cultivating a white-hot hatred of the Giants.

posted by rcade at 10:49 AM on February 06

Well, Moss I guess did...sorry...but he was on the scrap heap when he arrived.

posted by dfleming at 10:49 AM on February 06

Brady is still considered an elite QB, and when Eli's career in full is examined this game will most certainly count as a big win over an elite opponent.

Regardless of what Gisele's intent was, I'm a bit surprised she was even in the position to respond to a heckler. And, why incite a fan to begin with?

posted by dviking at 10:52 AM on February 06

If I was a Patriots fan, I'd be cultivating a white-hot hatred of the Giants.

See, I don't. I like the Giants; they're a tough-nosed, hard-working team with some great play makers. 2007 hurt a ton, but watching the Giants on their way to the Super Bowl, that was a team that was absolutely playing the kind of football I like.

I hate the Jets. I respected the Colts. I think there are huge morale implications to losing twice to the Giants, but they came in a more complete team and left with a championship.

I'd stuff Brandon Jacobs into a wood chipper if I could for his mouth, but it's hard not to like Eli, who spent his entire life in the shadow of a legendary father and brother and for him to make a name for himself is really the kind of thing you like to see. Plus, that Cruz touchdown salsa dance is special.

posted by dfleming at 10:53 AM on February 06

If Eli is elite, he's certainly the most likely of the group to give games away.

Speaking of giving games away, if Romo hits a wide open Miles Austin in week 14 the Giants aren't in the playoffs. Nobody would be talking about Eli as elite, Coughlin probably gets fired, and jm_mosier's aunt has balls again. I'm not saying the Giants don't deserve this, they were the best team. It's just crazy to me how much leverage that play had on the ultimate course of the season. I guess that's the biggest hurdle I have with drawing many conclusions from this Giant's run. It was so close to never being allowed to start. I'll probably forget about it eventually and just remember this as the year the Giant's won the Superbowl but right now I'm conflicted.

posted by tron7 at 10:57 AM on February 06

Oh, and watching Jake Ballard testing out his injured knee was heartbreaking.

posted by tron7 at 10:58 AM on February 06

Brady elite? Entitled sounds more accurate here.

Seriously, can you can the trolling of Patriots fans? Super Bowl is over now.

I'm with lbb: Brady is still one of the best in the NFL, but there are times when "Bad Tom" checks into the game for whole series and quarters. The throw to Welker was one of those Bad Tom plays. I'm kind of wondering if the Giants' talk of Brady reacting to pressure that wasn't there in Week 9 is what I perceive as Bad Tom. Much as I scream at the guy week to week, there are only one or two QBs I would trade him for straight-up (Rodgers, maybe Brees), but I think we've left the arc of his career where he can drag a sub-standard offense to greatness. Happily for the Patriots, they don't have a sub-standard offense any more. If they can add an OL or two and make the defense better with all the high draft picks they have, they should be a better team next year.

2007 hurt a ton, but watching the Giants on their way to the Super Bowl, that was a team that was absolutely playing the kind of football I like.

Yeah, I can't hate the Giants either. Some of that is probably because the region still has plenty of Giants fans who inherited their affiliation from parents who remember when there wasn't a football team in New England, but much of it is because they're a fun team to watch and they play hard-nosed football. I'd prefer to see a different coach win and I wish the QB had a different last name (and didn't still seem like he was a little touched in the head), but there's no way to sit here the next day and act like the Patriots got jobbed. The Giants handed them their lunch.

posted by yerfatma at 11:10 AM on February 06

Eli is an elite QB and I don't see how anybody can argue against it. Certainly the makeup of a team dictates a lot about how a QB stats are going to look, but in the end winning Superbowls is what the job is about. QBs like Peyton Manning, Rodgers, Brees and Brady put up unreal passing numbers mainly because they have to with their defenses and the makeup of their team. Eli has played on a better balanced team with strong running and defense similar to Rothlisberger. They are not going to rely on the same methods to win and therefore it may seem somewhat less spectacular but is still worthy of credit. The Giants were known for solid running attack and great defense but for most of the year the defense was injured, and the running game was non existant. It was Eli Manning and the excellent work of Niks, Cruz and Manningham that kept the Giants in contention, until the defense finally showed up. The Pats only good area of defense is their big guys in the middle and Bellichick made a point to limit the Giants running game, pressure Eli and not allow them to succeed in the short passing and screen game. Eli had to challenge the secondary down the field and he did it.

The Giants were spectacular down the stretch and broke a record for beating the toughest playoff schedule base on opponents combined wins.

Brady had a good game but the Giants did a good job of keeping him off the field. Brady did make a couple of critical mistakes that may have cost the game. The safety was huge and considering that Brady had all day to throw the ball, it wasn't a critical play (first play of the game), the only thing worse than an int at that part of the field was taking a safety. Especially intentional grounding in the end zone, considering he could have taken a few steps to his right and then thrown the ball out of bounds. Very out of character for him to do something like that. Almost as out of character as Welker missing that catch.

That was a game in which a couple of plays that could have gone either way made the difference in winning and loosing. It seems Gronkowski's injury was a big factor also. If he is healthy that is a much tougher game for the Giants defense.

posted by Atheist at 11:12 AM on February 06

the way he looked a few years ago when he was 10-0 in the playoffs and one just one more win from a perfect season.

I think Brady is a far better quarterback now than he was in 2005 when he was 10-0 in the playoffs.

posted by tron7 at 11:13 AM on February 06

I guess that's the biggest hurdle I have with drawing many conclusions from this Giant's run. It was so close to never being allowed to start.

A funny season all around: the Patriots were a pretty weak 13-3 team while the Giants have to be about the best 9-7 team ever. I'm guessing some of that was the lockout. In the Patriots' case, some of it was the schedule as well: I think they went 5-1 against the AFC East and 4-0 against the AFC West.

posted by yerfatma at 11:13 AM on February 06

Oh, and watching Jake Ballard testing out his injured knee was heartbreaking.

My wife is a nurse, and we she saw that replay of him testing it out, screaming, and then falling to the ground, she was furious at the medical/training staff that even let him try that. She turned to me and said "This is why there are so many crippled, old football players, right?"

How can you give Brady no blame for the Welker pass and Manning so little credit for the Manningham pass? I give up.

I'll admit that Manning's pass was a good one, but it wasn't anything special. Manningham's footwork is what makes that happen.

He threw a similar pass earlier, and the receiver (can't remember who) had bad footwork and simply messed up (and never got two feet in bounds).

posted by grum@work at 11:19 AM on February 06

yertfatma - I agree, the Patriots only beat one team all year that finished the season with a winning record, and that was in the AFC title game against the Ravens. I believe the only played four games against winning teams. Including through the Superbowl. They lost 3 out of the 4. No doubt the schedule for them was pretty soft.

It is very difficult to win it all with one of the worst ranked defenses in the league unless you get some luck (missed easy field goal in the AFC title game) and a relatively easy schedule, (including a playoff game against a team without a winning record and a rookie QB like the Broncos).

posted by Atheist at 11:21 AM on February 06

the only thing worse than an int at that part of the field was taking a safety.

An interception with a pass from the end zone is almost assuredly worth 3 points, and possibly 7, for the Giants. The safety is only 2.

Yes, there is a free kick after the safety, but then your defense has to do their normal job on the field.

posted by grum@work at 11:22 AM on February 06

"I'll admit that Manning's pass was a good one, but it wasn't anything special. Manningham's footwork is what makes that happen."

Absolutely, Manning put that ball exactly where it needed to be but that isn't all that special. It was the catch, getting the feet in bounds and maintaining possession through out the fall that was really special. Manning hit the receiver in the hands and Manningham made a big play. On the other hand Brady hit Welker right in the hands, on a similarly big play to keep a drive alive (almost the same situation) and Welker failed to make the play. You could almost boil the difference in the game to those two plays. Like they say, sometimes you just need a guy to make a play.

posted by Atheist at 11:26 AM on February 06

Brady didn't hit Welker in the hands. It was slightly behind him and on the wrong shoulder so Welker had to twist his body to attempt the catch. It's still a catch he makes most of the time, though.

NBC's shot of the Patriots on the bench reacting in anguish to the drop was great.

posted by rcade at 11:32 AM on February 06

An interception with a pass from the end zone is almost assuredly worth 3 points, and possibly 7, for the Giants. The safety is only 2.

Yes, there is a free kick after the safety, but then your defense has to do their normal job on the field.

An int is almost assuredly worth 3 and possibly 7. A safety is 2 plus a short field for the opposing offense which is almost assuredly worth 3 and possibly 7. I just wouldn't discount the possession it takes from Brady which is worth a lot, and the momentum it gave the defense, especially on the first play of the game. I believe there was very little time left on the clock in the first period when Brady took only his second snap of the game. That was huge in keeping the Pats from putting points up.

Basically the Giant punter was instrumental in that victory with a couple of great punts that pinned NE deep and forced a safety.

posted by Atheist at 11:32 AM on February 06

Brady didn't hit Welker in the hands. It was behind him and on the wrong shoulder so Welker had to twist his body to attempt the catch. It's still a catch he makes most of the time, though.

Back shoulder throw, adjustment made by receiver and standard operating procedure in the NFL. Welker got both hands solidly on the ball and the reaction of the Pats bench said it all. Maybe a perfect pass would have been a touchdown. I suppose they can both share some blame but again you have to make the big plays and in that case Welker did not whereas Manningham did.

posted by Atheist at 11:36 AM on February 06

What I found really striking this season about the Pats was how awful their draft class was; Solder looks to be a fixture on the O line, but there were no other players who made a meaningful contribution to the team as a rookie.

With 5 picks in the first three rounds, you would've thought a couple of those glaring holes would've been filled or at least stop-gapped with depth. Dowling was hurt, sure, but the combined outputs of Ridley, Vereen and Mallett was greater than 0, but only slightly. They were running out the bottom barrel DBs of the NFL and converted receivers trying to stop the pass. A lot of those issues existed hen they were drafting too.

A lot of things went right for the Pats; they picked up two DEs who surprised everyone with their re-emergence, they had an extremely soft schedule, they got to play an awful Broncos team and only made the Super Bowl due to a fluke kick miss in a game they were outplayed in. If they don't re-tool and draft a couple of impact players, this could easily be a 9-7 team next year, a year where Brady's another year closer to decline.

Maybe Ridley and Mallett are the next generation, but for a win-now team, it's not often you have so many young guys sitting around doing nothing.

posted by dfleming at 11:36 AM on February 06

The Pats only good area of defense is their big guys in the middle and Bellichick made a point to limit the Giants running game, pressure Eli and not allow them to succeed in the short passing and screen game. Eli had to challenge the secondary down the field and he did it.

I don't think we watched the same game. The Giants moved the ball through short passes and the running game. The Manningham play was the only big pass I can even remember.

posted by bperk at 11:47 AM on February 06

Back shoulder throw, adjustment made by receiver and standard operating procedure in the NFL.

You're trying to have it both ways. Brady puts ball in wrong place with an open receiver and it's Welker's fault the catch isn't made. Manning puts ball in perfect place 35 yards in the air in double coverage but it "isn't all that special."

posted by rcade at 11:49 AM on February 06

Maybe Ridley and Mallett are the next generation, but for a win-now team, it's not often you have so many young guys sitting around doing nothing.

Can't argue with that in general, although it does seem like it's always been the Pats' way to draft for the future and not expect great things in the first year or two. The thing is, if you're going to pursue that strategy, you better pick up some free agents who are ready to go out of the box, not the duds they got this past year.

Question: how much do you think the lockout was a factor in both of those things (slow-starting rookies and do-nothing free agents)? I'm curious to hear opinions on that.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:52 AM on February 06

Basically the Giant punter was instrumental in that victory with a couple of great punts that pinned NE deep and forced a safety.

Totally. He was a huge part of their Week 9 win as well.

What I found really striking this season about the Pats was how awful their draft class was

I don't see that. Solder needs some work, but he's played well from Week 2 on as a rookie with a limited training camp. The Dowling pick is a total boom/ bust pick: either he is too brittle to play football or he steps in and helps strengthen the secondary next year. He was a bust this year. I think both of the backs will be contributors. Ridley already had a good second half of the season, which has been forgotten due to his two late-season fumbles. Cannon looks to be a fixture at guard and was a life-saver late in the season. Lee Smith might have been a contributor but they couldn't get him through to the practice squad and wound up using guys like Dan Gronkowski and Usaka Polite in his place (though Smith hasn't seen much of the field with the Bills).

for a win-now team, it's not often you have so many young guys sitting around doing nothing.

I don't get that at all: if you're a win-now team, how can you be depending on the draft? Are there players that will be great for two years and then disappear that you can draft? Win-now teams depend on free agency more than the draft, which is why they get stuck as win-now teams instead of having long-term success.

Question: how much do you think the lockout was a factor in both of those things (slow-starting rookies and do-nothing free agents)? I'm curious to hear opinions on that.

I think that's a huge question going into next year. Were players at skill positions or other complicated spots at a disadvantage compared to their fellow rookies this year? It will be interesting to see how the 2011 class plays next year and to see how the 2010 class does as well, since some coaches say year 2 is where players really make The Leap.

posted by yerfatma at 11:57 AM on February 06

He threw a similar pass earlier, and the receiver (can't remember who) had bad footwork and simply messed up (and never got two feet in bounds).

That one was also Manningham. He must have gotten some pointers on the sideline.

posted by bender at 12:00 PM on February 06

Basically the Giant punter was instrumental in that victory with a couple of great punts that pinned NE deep and forced a safety.

Special teams was very important for the G-men. Pinning a team inside the 5 really limits options. Special teams makes a huge impact in games even when someone doesnt return a kick, or block a punt. Just going out and doing what they plan. Stick punts like wedge shots. You wont hear about that on ESPN though.

Watching Ballard go down on the sidelines was awful. What a warrior. Hope his knee isnt torn up to badly.

posted by Debo270 at 12:07 PM on February 06

Did anyone else see Lawrence Tynes on the podium along with Coughlin and Manning?

posted by rcade at 12:08 PM on February 06

My wife is a nurse, and we she saw that replay of him testing it out, screaming, and then falling to the ground, she was furious at the medical/training staff that even let him try that. She turned to me and said "This is why there are so many crippled, old football players, right?"

That, and the way they used to pump them up with painkillers and send them out anytime they could still stand upright.

posted by rcade at 12:09 PM on February 06

You're trying to have it both ways. Brady puts ball in wrong place with an open receiver and it's Welker's fault the catch isn't made. Manning puts ball in perfect place 35 yards in the air in double coverage but it "isn't all that special."

There is a difference between "wrong place" (the reciever's feet) and "sub-optimal but catchable" (opposite shoulder, or a little high).

Another example would be Aaron Hernandez's drop on the final drive.

If you watched only the 4th quarter, you would have been surprised to learn that it was Brady, not Manning, that set the record for consecutive completions (16).

posted by grum@work at 12:11 PM on February 06

There is a difference between "wrong place" (the reciever's feet) and "sub-optimal but catchable" (opposite shoulder, or a little high).

True, but Welker was so open I knock Brady for that pass.

Manning also set a record by opening with nine straight completions as the Giants hogged the ball during the first 12 minutes of the game.

posted by rcade at 12:13 PM on February 06

I didn't think it was a bad pass. Brady put it on the opposite side of the defender. Welker should have caught it.

posted by bperk at 12:26 PM on February 06

Speaking of giving games away, if Romo hits a wide open Miles Austin in week 14 the Giants aren't in the playoffs. Nobody would be talking about Eli as elite, Coughlin probably gets fired, and jm_mosier's aunt has balls again.

Exactly. The giants were one play away from not making the playoffs. The patriots were one play away (that could have happened several times) from winning the game.

And now we're pointing to one play where Brady threw an off target but catchable ball to Welker that he normally catches but doesn't as some dividing factor between Eli and Brady. Silly.

posted by justgary at 12:27 PM on February 06

The giants were one play away from not making the playoffs.

Why does this matter? The Green Bay Packers had to rely on the fourth tiebreaker to get into last year's playoffs over the Giants and Buccaneers since they all finished 10-6. Their strength of victory (combined victories of opponents who were beaten) was higher. So this is two years in a row a team barely sneaks in and absconds with the Lombardi.

posted by rcade at 12:36 PM on February 06

Win-now teams depend on free agency more than the draft, which is why they get stuck as win-now teams instead of having long-term success.

I agree entirely, but if you look at the Pats' previous draft, they picked up McCourty, Gronkowski, Hernandez, Spikes and Mesko, all of whom made an impact from day one and who got a lot better in year two. Deaderick might also stick.

I'm not suggesting that a bunch of rookies are how you win immediately, but the 2010 class all filled necessary holes or created advantages (even imperfectly, like Spikes and McCourty have) and the guys they got in 2011, other than Solder, had a fraction of the impact.

Year two, I might eat those words, and I do agree that the lack of a solid training camp was a problem, but it just seemed to me that the draft strategy and the personnel they picked up did not match how good their picks were.

posted by dfleming at 12:42 PM on February 06

Why does this matter?

The dividing line between Eli winning his second and Brady winning his 4th is incredibly fine, and could have switched so many times not only in this game, but also during the season, that pointing to some arbitrary play as the difference between Eli and Brady is so incredibly short-sighted I think you're channeling Skip Bayless.

I didn't think it was a bad pass. Brady put it on the opposite side of the defender. Welker should have caught it.

posted by bperk

Of course he should have. Welker knows that. Both hands on the ball, you're one of the best receivers in the game, you should catch the ball. And he usually does, and then we're talking about Brady separating himself from other elite quarterbacks.

posted by justgary at 12:44 PM on February 06

Ridley already had a good second half of the season, which has been forgotten due to his two late-season fumbles.

I was amazed to see the statistic last night that Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis has never fumbled in nearly 600 combined regular season and playoff carries. Really, really impressive.

On the Welker pass, there was a safety coming over from the inside, and Welker may have gotten blown up (although the safety would not have gotten over there in time to make a play on the ball) if the pass was to the inside. Not sure if the pass behind him was by design or a mis-throw (perhaps a combination of both). Either way, I would put blame on both players -- on Brady for not throwing a slightly more catchable ball and on Welker for not making a catch he probably makes much more often than not.

posted by holden at 01:04 PM on February 06

Certainly the makeup of a team dictates a lot about how a QB stats are going to look, but in the end winning Superbowls is what the job is about. QBs like Peyton Manning, Rodgers, Brees and Brady put up unreal passing numbers mainly because they have to with their defenses and the makeup of their team. Eli has played on a better balanced team with strong running and defense similar to Rothlisberger.

If you have a player like Peyton Manning, why would you build a team around a running game? You wouldn't. The purpose of a strong running game is to move the chains and take pressure off the QB. If you have a QB that can do that without devoting a first round pick on a RB, then you do it. That's why you see the stats you see. They don't build the offense then slot any QB into it. They build the offense based on the strengths and weaknesses of the players. Some QBs need that running game to succeed and some don't. Those QBs put up unreal passing numbers because they can.

posted by bperk at 01:09 PM on February 06

... pointing to some arbitrary play as the difference between Eli and Brady is so incredibly short-sighted I think you're channeling Skip Bayless.

I have no idea what point you're trying to make here. You were talking about one play keeping the Giants from missing the playoffs. I responded to that. Now you're talking about Manning and Brady instead and how people shouldn't point to one play as a difference maker, which is exactly what you were doing when you joined the discussion.

posted by rcade at 01:25 PM on February 06

Sometimes stats are a reflection of the situation. bperk - I am not saying anything negative against those great QBs but would it be smart football if you had a great running game and top rated defense to throw a ball 60 times in a game? I remember when John Elway went to the Superbowl numerous times and was throwing for over 300 yards per game consistently and could not win. Then the Broncos got their defense together and a great running back, they win a Superbowl and Elway only threw for 130 yards or something like that. Sometimes a great QB manages the game properly and it doesn't mean spectacular numbers. Denver built a team around Elway but in the end, it was a balanced team that was most successful.

As for the Giants being one play away from not making the playoffs, I seem to remember last year the Giants were one play away from going to the playoffs and in a game against Philadelphia they made a mistake and kicked to Desean Jackson when they had the game won. Jackson returned the ball for a score and the Giants get knocked out because the Philadelphia Eagles win the division and the Giants loose the wild card slot to Green Bay on tie breakers, who goes on to win the Superbowl.

I think in almost any season you can look back on one play that could have changed a lot of things. Welker makes that catch or Manningham does not and there is a different winner and superbowl MVP.

posted by Atheist at 01:34 PM on February 06

I have no idea what point you're trying to make here.

You: If Brady made a pass to Welker at the 20 as good as Manning's pass to Manningham, the Pats are Super Bowl champs. Welker was wide open. Brady put the ball where Welker had to struggle to make the play, and he couldn't do it.

Let me rephrase that: If Welker makes a play he normally makes the Pats are super bowl champions and we're still discussing if Eli is an elite quarterback or not.

Let's go back further. If Eli's receiver doesn't catch a ball against his helmet in his previous Super Bowl he's now 0-2 in Super Bowls.

I don't really have a dog in this fight (go saints) but you seem to be gung-ho on Eli being an elite quarterback, and questioning Brady's legacy, so when you point to that play you're framing it as Brady failing. That helps with your conclusion. Look, Eli made the play when Brady didn't. But it's one play that could have gone either way. The ball hit him in his hands. That's what a receiver needs. Should have been caught.

posted by justgary at 01:44 PM on February 06

I think Brady and Eli Manning are elite quarterbacks. I would also add Rodgers, Petyon Manning, Drew Brees, and Rothlisberger as the list of current elite NFL QBs. Even though some do it more with their passing than others, the fact remains with the exception of one year when Tampa Bay won it with Brad Johnson as QB, every superbowl in the last 11 years has been won with one of those QBs.

Brady 3 wins, Eli Manning 2 wins Rothlisberger 2 wins Peton Manning 1 win Rodgers 1 win Brees 1 win

I don't see how anybody could argue against Eli Manning being considered one of the current elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He is still relatively young, with 2 wins and 2 SB MVP trophies. Just check out other quarterbacks that have started multiple Superbowls and the list looks like a HOF list of the best there ever was.

posted by Atheist at 02:15 PM on February 06

I don't really have a dog in this fight (go saints) but you seem to be gung-ho on Eli being an elite quarterback, and questioning Brady's legacy, so when you point to that play you're framing it as Brady failing.

My Brady vs. Manning comments related to who played better last night. I haven't questioned Brady's career legacy, beyond saying that he's no longer in a class by himself among the elites.

So when I said Brady failed on that pass, it had nothing to do with framing an argument. It's what I thought happened on the play.

As for being gung-ho about Eli Manning, give me a break. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, the last thing I wanted to get out of these playoffs was an NFC East rival with a second Lombardi, a rejuvenated head coach and an elite quarterback.

posted by rcade at 02:21 PM on February 06

To give the Pats credit, I just heard from a friend that they had 17 undrafted players starting this Superbowl. If that is true, it is unheard of and speaks volumes to what they did accomplish and just how good Bellichick is as a coach. In a league where free agency and a consistently good record tends to limit your draft picks and decimates your roster when your top players move on in free agency, it is pretty remarkable how the Pats have remained a top contender for so many years. Even when their personnel, and defense didn't look very good as in this year. No star running backs, terrible corners, mediocre line backers, no super star monster athletic wide outs. They pretty much do it with Tom Brady, Bill Bellichick and a couple of great tight ends. Do they even have one top defensive player? Maybe Wilfork?

posted by Atheist at 02:39 PM on February 06

Wilfork is definitely a top defensive player and Mayo is arguably one as well. The Pats aren't the only team doing a lot with undrafted players and one could argue the reverse, that they only have to make do with undrafted players because they haven't drafted well. I don't think that's true, but I think the answer to the puzzle lies in the middle. There are cases where they've taken someone like Stephen Neal who wasn't even a college football player and turned him into a good offensive lineman, but I wouldn't mind a couple of DBs that were actually drafted in an early round and justified it.

posted by yerfatma at 02:43 PM on February 06

Looking with an unbiased eye at the Patriots' personnel and the Giants' personnel, it appears that the Giants had a noticeable edge at wide receiver and defensive line, with the Patriots having the edge at tight end and linebackers. Both had a weakness in the secondary, but in the Giants' case, the defensive line play tended to mask this, while New England could not. Thus, New England would have to play nearly error-free football to win. They did not, and they lost. This is not to say that the Giants did not make errors, but theirs did not hurt themselves as badly as did Patriot's errors.

I don't think this game proved anything we did not already know. Manning was a very good quarterback going in. He played on a team with a number of good offensive weapons and some excellent defensive personnel. He did not waste his talents, nor did he waste those of his teammates. To the contrary, his ability to make plays in difficult circumstances does indeed give him some "elite" status, but since there seems to be no agreed upon yardstick for what constitutes elite, that question remains for the talking heads to debate endlessly. Manning's throw to Manningham on the last drive was an exceptional play. One thing I did notice was earlier in the game on a similar play to the right side of the field, when Manningham caught the ball but had an incompletion when he stepped out of bounds to do so. Manningham was criticized by the announcers for running too close to the sidelines. It looked to me like Manningham was running exactly where he should have been, but had to move toward the sidelines because the ball was thrown too far to the right. If Manning gets all the credit for the later throw, why does he get no blame for the earlier miss? I'm not trying to take anything away from Manning, he's very, very good, but let's not fall all over ourselves just yet in anointing him as the next king.

As for the "demise" of Brady, I do believe it's a bit premature. He should be able to play at his demonstrated level of excellence for about 5 more years. I think he'll be back on the big stage again, and I would not count on him failing. Those who think he is in decline might have a perspective that also equates idols with clay feet. Put Brady on Baltimore or Denver this year, and there's your Super Bowl winner. You see, there are 21 other players on your team (excluding substitutions and special teams), and all need to contribute.

posted by Howard_T at 02:51 PM on February 06

he's no longer in a class by himself among the elites

He's 1 of 2 QB's to play in 5 superbowls, and is 3-2 vs Elway's 2 and 3. He could someday be in a class by himself if he plays in his 6th superbowl.

Montana is the only QB in history I would consider "in a class by himself among the elites" - he never lost a superbowl and won 4 and was named MVP in 3. Bradshaw also was 4-0 in the one that means the most with 2 MVP awards.

posted by cixelsyd at 03:26 PM on February 06

Joe Posnanski:

Sports are so fascinating. Welker catches the ball and every story you read and hear today would be the opposite.

posted by justgary at 04:27 PM on February 06

Then the Broncos got their defense together and a great running back, they win a Superbowl and Elway only threw for 130 yards or something like that. Sometimes a great QB manages the game properly and it doesn't mean spectacular numbers. Denver built a team around Elway but in the end, it was a balanced team that was most successful.

The Broncos cheated the salary cap to build that balanced team and were later penalized for it. In the current NFL, teams can't have it all. They have to make hard decisions. A QB that can move the chains without a great RB is a huge asset. That kind of QB can also hide a lack of depth in the defense by eating up such huge amounts of the clock. And, QBs that can get the ball out fast can hide offensive line deficiencies. I don't think Eli is in that class right now.

I just heard from a friend that they had 17 undrafted players starting this Superbowl. If that is true, it is unheard of and speaks volumes to what they did accomplish and just how good Bellichick is as a coach.

It doesn't seem like it says anything good about Belichick's role as GM though.

posted by bperk at 04:29 PM on February 06

So when I said Brady failed on that pass,

Both hands on the ball, and he drops it.

I'm not sure that's a "failure" on Brady's part.

(Only side-by-side pic I could find on the internet at short notice. Please excuse the quotes...though that's a nice one by Michaels.)

posted by grum@work at 04:35 PM on February 06

I'm not sure that's a "failure" on Brady's part.

Do you think every ball Welker gets his hands on is automatically a good pass?

posted by rcade at 05:08 PM on February 06

I like Cris Collinsworth in general, but I had a hard time with him last night. He seemed insistent on describing ever play as one for the ages.

posted by yerfatma at 05:55 PM on February 06

I like Cris Collinsworth in general, but I had a hard time with him last night. He seemed insistent on describing ever play as one for the ages.

He carried on about that Manningham play for an excessively long time. It was a nice catch, but wide receivers in the NFL make those kinds of catches. I don't think it was particularly memorable. People will be back talking about the Tyree catch in no time.

posted by bperk at 06:16 PM on February 06

Yeah, so, the Giants deserved the win. They certainly outplayed the Patriots yesterday. I don't think the win or the loss can really be boiled down to any one player. There was plenty of reason for victory (and blame for loss) to be spread around among everyone.

I knew that the Patriots were doomed from the 12 men on the field moment. Oh, sure, the Giants had one later, but that kind of sloppy mistake spoke of lack of focus. Heck, the safety was a symptom of the same lack of focus. While its easy to blame the Patriots defense, the reality seemed to me that the whole team was just not playing at the top of their game.

And the Giants, while they didn't play a perfect game or anything, were much more focused and disciplined. Coughlin earned his job back for another year and hopefully the New York media will admit that they were calling for him to be fired eight weeks ago the next time the Giants go into a tailspin.

Anyhow, congrats Giants fans.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:45 PM on February 06

I just heard from a friend that they had 17 undrafted players starting this Superbowl.

I think that has more to do with their passion for drafting crappy DBs and needing to cover the gaps than great talent recognition. If it wasn't for Mayo the '07, '08 and '09 drafts would be grim indeed. I don't know if I'd really use players like Welker or Woodhead - signed as UDFAs by other teams then signed as regular FAs by the Pats - for that either.

posted by deflated at 08:29 PM on February 06

Do you think every ball Welker gets his hands on is automatically a good pass?

Every ball Welker gets his hands on should be a catch (is a catchable ball), so the throw was good enough.

Reading the web and watching TV about that pass is strange. Maybe it could have been a better throw, but I've never seen a pass hit a receiver in both hands been criticized so much.

posted by justgary at 10:55 PM on February 06

Every ball Welker gets his hands on should be a catch (is a catchable ball), so the throw was good enough.

Gee whiz, that's tough. Ozzie Smith got his glove on a lot balls he didn't end up making the play on. Not too many other people would have even gotten a glove on them. Wes almost made a spectacular catch, I can't fault him for not being able to haul that one in, his ability and effort made it "catch-able."

It was a nice catch, but wide receivers in the NFL make those kinds of catches. I don't think it was particularly memorable.

Yes they do, I'd say every week. I'd also say that was by far the best throw of the night from either quarterback. This was however a heck of a play, given the timing, by both players.

Disclaimer: I was rooting for Eli, because he had the balls to go to Ole Miss and his brother didn't. He isn't afraid of being put under a microscope and he really can up his game. Good for him. I am also glad that Brady and the Hoodie have another loss in the big one. They've won enough, I didn't want them to get cocky or anything:)

posted by tselson at 11:43 PM on February 06

Also, I thought this bet would have been a lot more than 50-1.

posted by tselson at 11:46 PM on February 06

Ozzie Smith got his glove on a lot balls he didn't end up making the play on.

Yes, and when he didn't make a play on them, they were sometimes called "an error".

posted by grum@work at 12:11 AM on February 07

tselson, I also thought those odds were incredibly low. I never really consider a safety to possibly be the first score of a Super Bowl of all things.

posted by dyams at 06:00 AM on February 07

Considering that there has now been a safety scored first in 1 of 46 Super Bowls, seems like the oddsmakers are pretty good at their jobs. Though I guess if you're betting a particular team, you should double the odds.

I hope Justin Tuck finds that guy and offers to sign the ticket.

posted by Etrigan at 07:59 AM on February 07

Considering that there has now been a safety scored first in 1 of 46 Super Bowls

The Steelers began their run to SB glory by getting a safety to open the scoring against the Vikings in SB IX.

I was watching the game and thought that was particularly huge even though it was technically just 2 points.

posted by beaverboard at 08:09 AM on February 07

Reading the web and watching TV about that pass is strange. Maybe it could have been a better throw, but I've never seen a pass hit a receiver in both hands been criticized so much.

On the other side, some people are calling him Wes Buckner for failing to make the catch, which is incredibly harsh. I think the blame ought to be shared on that play. It was an off-target pass, but Welker got two hands on it and he makes that catch more often than not.

posted by rcade at 09:15 AM on February 07

people are calling him Wes Buckner

I find that incredible. The front of the Globe's online sports page has driven me away for two days in a row with their laser-like focus on who is to blame. Can't the Giants just be a better team? It's not like the Globe didn't cover the Pats for the whole season and their editorial staff spent most of that time bitching about what a flawed team it was. Now we need answers?

This is why I don't talk to people about sports.

posted by yerfatma at 09:32 AM on February 07

Here is a breakdown from WSJ of the ending of the game, including an expansion of yesterday's discussion of intentional too-many-men penalties or the Polish Goal Line.

posted by bender at 02:01 PM on February 07

On the other side, some people are calling him Wes Buckner for failing to make the catch, which is incredibly harsh.

And that's just dumb.

You can take that one catch and show how thin the line is between victory and defeat. A receiver that normally makes that play doesn't. But that's just an easy play to choose because of the timing. Several plays during the game could have changed the outcome.

I disagree that this was the case of the giants being the better team. They may BE the better team. But in this game if the ball bounces one way instead of the other, the Patriots win.

It was an off-target pass, but Welker got two hands on it and he makes that catch more often than not.

I can live with that.

posted by justgary at 03:22 PM on February 09

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