Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Friday, February 8, 2008
The Super Bowl XLII mailbag

By Bill Simmons
Page 2

The Patriots may not have made history, but I managed to make history of my own this week: For the first time in the history of this column, I was bedridden with the flu and bronchitis for three straight days. The timing couldn't have been worse -- not only did I have to cancel Wednesday's podcast with David Stern, but I couldn't write a reaction to the Shaq trade, slap together a column of post-Super Bowl e-mails or finish a monster mailbag that was already half done. In fact, I couldn't do anything except sleep, cough, watch television and sleep.

(Normally, I would have been secretly excited about this scenario -- especially because it enabled me to catch up on "The Wire," "Lost" and "The Gauntlet" -- but you know when you have those killer coughs where you feel like you're giving yourself a concussion every time you cough? That was me for three days. There's nothing worse than the concussion cough, with the possible exception of having the concussion cough while seeing Eli Manning's Disneyland commercial 345 times.)

Anyway, I'll save my thoughts on the Gasol/Shaq trades for next week when I'm a little more coherent. For today, I wanted to post some belated Super Bowl e-mails and promote the auction of my nearly thrown-out Randy Moss jersey, which was placed on eBay Tuesday morning in my last coherent act before getting sick. If you click on this eBay link, the description explains everything. All proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund.

One gigantic disclaimer before we get to the collection of post-Super Bowl e-mails: I would have included more Giants-related e-mails if I had received more coherent ones -- 99 percent were of the "Hahhhhhhhhaahahahahaa! You suck!" or "18-1!!!!!" variety. The irony of "New York 17, New England 14" was that it kick-started the New York/Boston rivalry again, gave the New York fans their swagger back and set everything up for a Mets-Yanks-BoSox baseball season that might shatter the trash-talking record. As I e-mailed my Uncle Ricky on Monday, "I'm glad you finally decided to show up as a sports city this decade. We had been waiting for you for years and years."

On to the aforementioned e-mails. My comments are in bold:


18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1* 18-1*.
-- Ryan, Indianapolis

I am at a complete loss. The Patriots didn't enjoy playing football anymore. They sounded almost relieved after the game that this ordeal was over, win or lose. Sometime after the Steelers smackdown, they lost their energy and never got it back. The media crush, the visceral reaction of hatred from all areas outside New England, the '72 Fish, the repetitive questions, the Belichick monotone, Spygate 1 & 2, Randy's issues, the ankle -- all of it -- just seemed to suck the life out of them at the end. I feel really bad for Seau. That guy is a warrior. I feel like Kujan when the Kobayashi mug breaks and he realizes who "Verbal" really is. I don't think the Patriots will recover from this next year.
-- Ollie, Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Bill,
Welcome back to sports hell, we missed you.

Sincerely,
Everyone in Philadelphia
-- Jason P., Philly

I couldn't help but get a feeling of deja vu when the Patriots didn't go for it on fourth down after being stopped on third-and-1. I felt the same way upon seeing the Dallas Mavericks' starting lineup against Golden State in Game 1 of last year's playoffs. Just as the 67-win Mavs came out with a small lineup to counter eighth-seeded Golden State's fastbreak style of play, the Pats adjusted their offensive game plan to better match up with the grind-it-out Giants. If you're an overwhelming favorite like these two teams were, how do you go down without playing YOUR game? There's a reason the Giants lost six games before this one, and the Patriots lost zero. There's a reason the Mavs won 67 while the Warriors squeaked into the playoffs in the final week of the season.
-- Ben, Oakland, Calif.

It's driving me crazy that the Pats barely used their hurry-up and five-WR sets! Why were more quick passes over the middle not used? It seems the Giants badly outcoached the Pats, and the Giants just simply played with more energy and urgency than the Pats. It was pretty obvious.
-- Ryan, Bristol, Conn.

SG: Yeah, it never made sense why the Pats waited 52 minutes to spread the field, switch to shotgun to buy Brady more time and attack the Giants with five receivers. The more I'm thinking about it, I don't think they ever imagined that New York's defensive line would whup them like that. Just look at the first offensive play they ran -- a play-action fake reverse that needed five seconds to unfold so Brady could deliver a deep pass to Moss -- when Brady got swallowed up and had to rush his throw. Obviously, they decided on that play well in advance of the game. Did they underestimate New York's front four? Sure seems like it.

I like to think the last thing that went through Bill Simmons' head, other than that bullet, was to wonder why the hell Belichick went for it on fourth-and-13 in the third quarter.
--Butch, San Diego

Adam Vinatieri is the new Babe Ruth. If they still had him there is no way they punt the ball on the 31 after an opening second-half drive of eight minutes. No way! He is why they lost by three as opposed to won by three.
-- Michael, New York

One other parallel between the 2002 Pats and 2007 Giants: Belichick fell into "arrogant Mike Martz, you can't stop me" mode on going for it on fourth-and 13 instead of kicking the FG, which inevitably would have made a huge difference late in the game.
-- Don S., Red Bank, N.J.

The real reason the Patriots did not win the Super Bowl is because they needed the greatest NFL player of all-time, Adam Vinatieri. No mention of the Patriots going for it on fourth-and-13?
-- Johnny B., Madison, Wis.

SG: I'm definitely in the minority here, but I didn't have a problem with that call because the odds of them converting fourth-and-13 weren't any different than Gostkowski not shanking the field goal or Hanson not punting it into the end zone. I didn't trust New England's kickers at all this season -- especially Gostkowski, who didn't have to make a single pressure kick all year. My problem with the play was that Brady threw a deep ball out of bounds to a double-teamed Jabar Gaffney. That was inane.

I really do feel for Pats fans after that loss -- I still think this year's Pats are easily the best team of the modern salary cap era. If you need proof of that, consider the fact that after Plaxico Burress made what became the game-winning touchdown, the single thought in the head of every Giants fan watching the game was "Oh God, Brady has 35 seconds and three timeouts." I'm not sure there has ever been a team that has caused more doubt in the minds of the opposing fans than these Patriots.
-- George F., Queens, N.Y.

BRADY FACE! BRADY FACE! BRADY FACE! No one knew it existed, but it does.
-- Max W., NYC

I was rooting for the Pats to win. I wanted to see history. It's like watching Tiger Woods on the back nine at Augusta on Sunday. It's something you can tell your kids about. But during that last drive for N.Y., something happened. I realized, "Shoot, if New England wins, Boston gets another champion and I get nothing. If N.Y. wins, Tiki Barber gets the biggest cosmic turd sandwich in the history of turd sandwiches!" And right there, I started rooting for New York.
-- Carr M., Long Beach, Calif.

While I have an appreciation for what the Pats accomplished this season, something shifted coming down the stretch for them. For the majority of the 2007 season, they were the "young" Mike Tyson; watching Brady and that offense, you KNEW they were going to kill someone, and you could look at their opponent and it was obvious THEY knew they were going to get killed. But suddenly they became the "Buster Douglas" Mike Tyson, and maybe Spygate will send the Pats to their own Indiana jail. No longer invincible, opponents actually believed they could beat the juggernaut and their body language reflected a newfound confidence, not a knee-knocking fear. In a sense, football fans were cheated of history, something we could tell our grandkids that we witnessed, fans of the Patriots or not.
-- Mark, Asheville

Of course, I have no pity for the Patriots, but I DO feel for their great fans, who surely must feel like Kay Adams when she realizes that Michael Corleone, her love, is filthy and evil to the bone. Unfortunately, Michael wasn't whacked like your Pats and we had to endure "Godfather III."
-- Mr. Ram, St. Louis

It's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ... ... it's not your fault ... it's not your fault ...
-- Robin Williams, Boston

I'm a Giants fan and I'm not trying to kick you while you're down, but if you think you hate Joe Buck now, you need to watch a replay of the Manning-to-Tyree Miracle to be Named Later. Only one of the biggest, most improbable plays in Super Bowl history and Buck calls it like it's a second down in the third quarter of Week 6. If there was ever a moment that begged for Gus Johnson, that was it.
-- Brian B, NYC

SG: Glad you brought this up. If you're a play-by-play announcer and you can't get excited for a play like that, then why are you doing this for a living? Only Pat Summerall could get away with deadpan calls for miracle plays, and I have to say, even Pat's voice might have cracked on that one. Over everything else, a play-by-play guy should be able to match the excitement of a particular game, right? How could Buck feel good about himself after that call? Imagine him doing the last seconds of the USA-USSR hockey game in 1980? "And the clock winds down ... and the Americans have done it." He should issue an apology to every Giants fan who would have put the call of that Manning-Tyree play on their answering machine or cell phone message.

I think I've got a new face for you. I call it the "Get Me Home So I Can Cry" face. I witnessed this in Kenmore station waiting for the green line back to Brighton. Drunken grown men on the verge of tears anxiously waiting for the train ...
-- Dan F, Boston

Dare I say it, but were we exposed to the "Tom Brady Face"? I'd say it was a cross between July of 2002 Derek Lowe and a deer in the headlights.
-- Kevin F. Boston

What are the odds that Asante Samuel's dropped INT at the end of the game will replace Buckner's bungle as the worst play in Boston history? That was devastating on a level far surpassing anything I've seen in all my years as a Boston sports fan. If he ever wears a Pats jersey again, it'll be too soon.
-- Adam, State College, Pa.

I read almost every article about the Super Bowl and while Tyree's catch was the play that stood out the most, the real play that should have ended the game happened moments before. Eli was looking like Eli throwing off his back foot in the face of the rush and pushed one out to the right sideline. His receiver had cut off the route and Asante Samuel was standing there waiting to end the game in usual Pats fashion. Only the ball went right through his hands. If he makes that play, the game is over and perfection is achieved. That was the real play of the game and it needs to be mentioned somewhere.
-- Greg H., Beaver Falls, Pa.

SG: We'll mention it right here. That play happened right in front of my section and I can't believe I forgot to mention it in Sunday night's column -- it couldn't have been an easier catch and he just muffed it. If I could do over Sunday night's column again, I would have expanded the list of "things I'll always remember" from the game to 10 and included Samuel's non-interception and the third-down pass to Moss on New England's final drive. I don't know how it played on television, but in person, it was a breathtaking moment -- Brady buying himself time with a planned rollout, Moss sprinting down the sidelines flanked by two d-backs, and then Brady launching the ball 70 yards down field as every Giants fan in the building stopped breathing. The pass was right on target and Moss would have caught the football had he jumped for it ... which he didn't. I will always believe that. And by the way, it's taking all the will power in my sick body to refrain from a "If it were Week 6 and we were winning by 28, Moss would have caught the football" joke.

Allow me to preface this by saying that I am I lifelong Giants/Mets fan having the best week of his life. Thank you for your column "Free fallin' out into nothing." You were classy and gracious in defeat. Bill Belichick, however, acted like Shooter McGavin at the end of "Happy Gilmore."
-- Jeff H., Las Vegas

I'm sure by now you've heard that the rights had already been sold to a book titled "19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots." In fact, Amazon.com and the Boston Globe were offering people the chance to preorder the book. Given this past Sunday's events, perhaps the publishers should take a queue from O.J. Simpson and change the book's title to "19-0: If They Had Done It, This Is How It Would Have Happened."
-- Ricardo, Dallas

As you know, the miracle play needs a name. I humbly submit for your consideration "The Great Escape." Some may argue that "The Great Escape" doesn't work because it doesn't take the catch into account, but I say that the catch wouldn't have ever happened if Eli hadn't pulled off "The Great Escape" first. Plus, look at the alternatives. The Catch II? The Immaculate Reception II? Can this play, quite possibly the greatest play in Super Bowl history, really be referred to by future generations as merely the low-budget sequel to an incredible play of the past. No! "The Great Escape" stands on its own.
-- Tom W., San Francisco

I would like to officially name the catch the "Shawshank Reception." That was one amazing, epic escape made by Eli that should be voiced-over by Morgan Freeman in every highlight clip shown from here out.
-- Justin H, Columbia, S.C.

The name of The Catch should be "The Hail Manning." I can't take credit though, that's what Bill Plaschke from the L.A. Times called it.
-- Justin, Honolulu

Hope you are coping well in the aftermath of a stunning upset in the Super Bowl. This one, as with most great SBs before it, had a defining play -- the Manning escape, the less-than-perfect pass that somehow managed to find David Tyree and the subsequent one-hand, one-helmet catch (while being assaulted by Rodney Harrison) was indeed a magic act in three parts. For that reason, I suggest that the play be known as "The Prestige."
-- Santino, Melbourne, Fla.

I haven't seen one good name for this play yet. How bout this: "The Helmet Catch." It's simple, it's easy to remember, and it mostly ignores Eli Manning's role in the play which makes me happy (someone had to be holding on that play and I'm not even a Pats fan).
-- Joseph G, Los Angeles

SG: We received hundreds of e-mails about this after I dubbed it the "Miracle Catch to Be Named Later" in Sunday's column. In my opinion, the answer is easy -- it should be called "The Helmet Catch." I have been watching football for 30-plus years and can't remember someone catching a football with one hand securing the ball against his helmet. That was the single greatest sports play I've ever seen in person.

Don't worry, Bill, you will get over this in time. When the Yankees blew the 2004 ALCS to the Red Sox I had to take two days off from work to recover. Hopefully, the Pats will not turn into what the Yankees have been since then. The sad part was how many similarities there were between this game and Game 7 of the 2001 World Series when the Yankees dynasty ended, right down to both games being played in Arizona.
-- Mike D., Hazlet, N.J.

I look forward to Buster Olney's next book, "The Last Night of the Patriot Dynasty."
-- Greg, Chicago

If you could choose one, what would you choose: Keeping the best comeback of all time with the Sox coming back from 3-0 down against the Yankees, or trading that to reverse fortune and having the 2007 Patriots destroy the Giants for a perfect season?
-- Murph, Saint John, New Brunswick

SG: No contest. I would never trade any sporting event for the 2004 baseball playoffs unless it involved my daughter winning Wimbledon or something.

Your comment about Brady's handshake with Pat O'Brien got me thinking about something else I remember seeing one time. Tiger Woods was walking to the putting green or first tee (can't remember) and Phil Knight was directly in his patch. Tiger walked right by him without even a glance. This is a man that is paying him hundreds of millions of dollars. I am not a Tiger fan, but that, my friend, is a focused competitor. That is what Brady needs to get back to to win another championship.
-- Jeff, Dallas

It's funny how the only thing I could think of after the Giants' win was not that they ended the Pats' perfect season or how crazy Tyree's catch was, but the PERFECT example of the Ewing Theory. Tiki Barber has to be the biggest loser in the world. He threw his ex-team and coach under the bus a bunch of times and then they go out and win the Super Bowl. This is just too good to make up. At least the Knicks never won the championship without Ewing. I think you're right -- it is not the Ewing Theory anymore, but the Tiki Theory. Has a ring to it, I think.
-- Steve G., West New York

SG: Forgot to mention this -- Dave Cirilli, the creator of the Ewing Theory, gave Tiki and the Giants his official blessing three weeks ago. Between that and the Sports Gal picking the Giants +12, I should have known we were in for something memorable last Sunday. I'm awaiting Dave's decision on whether we can change the Ewing Theory to the Tiki Theory. Personally, I think it's smart to update these sports theories every 8-10 years with a more topical nickname, if one applies. But what do I know?

I have some good news for you: You are not responsible for jinxing the Pats. That honor goes to Junior Seau and Teddy Bruschi. Since you were at the game, you didn't see the embarrassing man-lust hug they gave each other after the Moss touchdown. The cameras caught them and it was if they were saying to each other "we won, we won, now let's go bend but not break." Your article touched on something interesting I can't put my finger on yet, though. This game isn't the greatest upset ever, it's not the biggest choke (gladly that still is with the Yankees). My question is, what is this game? If it's not a choke, upset or collapse ... what on earth is it?
-- Andy W, Wallingford, Pa.

SG: I wouldn't call it the biggest choke because "chokes" are for things like Game 6 of the '86 World Series or the 2004 ALCS, when one team just completely collapses right when they're about to win. It was definitely more of a "biggest upset," although I'd go one step further and call it ...

1. The defining "Nobody believed in us!" upset. When the 2002 Pats shocked the Rams, there was a sense of "Oh my God, did we really do that?" -- as personified by Brady holding his hands on his head in disbelief during the trophy celebration. When the Giants won, it seemed like they truly believed they could win and had a better team, and all the NFL Films footage backs this up. Watching the highlights and seeing all the recap shows, New York's confidence was somewhat startling under the circumstances. And it worked for them.

2. One of the all-time stink bombs by a historically great team. The Patriots played their worst game of the season on the biggest possible stage. Their coaching was abysmal, their offensive line got shellacked and they played not to lose. How could such a fantastic team look so woefully prepared and discombobulated with so much on the line? How could a 13-6 team be more confident than an 18-0 team? It doesn't make sense. It will never make sense.

I was just wondering if you noticed the crazy parallel between the Eli pass to Tyree and the Matt Saracen pass in the pilot episode of "Friday Night Lights." In both, an unheralded quarterback in the shadow of a great quarterback (Jason Street and Peyton Manning), avoids the tackles of about five mean defensive players, rolls out to the right, and right before getting pounded by a couple more defensive villains, chucks the ball up in the air and completes a remarkably improbable pass. Granted, the Giants' play did not involve a long scramble, followed by a 60-yard pass from the 25-yard line, followed by a receiver running 40 yards to score on what was supposed to be a 100-yard field, but still.
-- Jeremy, Washington, D.C.

You didn't jinx the Pats with your Celts-Pats column. You jinxed them with your Nov. 9 column with this: "If you asked any Patriots fan to pick between two doors that determined the rest of the season -- behind Door No. 1, the team would lose once but have a 100 percent chance to win the Super Bowl, and behind Door No. 2, there would be two-in-three chance at a 19-0 season or a one-in-three chance that the team would lose in the playoffs -- a surprising number of fans would roll the dice with that second door. Including me." A more sports-related blasphemous statement has never been uttered.
-- Dana, Washington

SG: Well, you'll really love this one: I stand by that sentiment. Anyone can win the Super Bowl ... not anyone can go 19-0. Knowing what I know now, I'd still choose Door No. 2. And I don't think I'm alone.

I played in traffic last night at Kenmore, praying for a car to hit me. Sadly it did not.
-- Noah L, Newton, Mass.

Where does the Super Bowl rank on the Vengeance Scale for Tiki throwing Eli under the bus? I'd say it's a 6.7 and very similar to Michael Corleone coming out of the bathroom and icing Solazzo and McCloskey. He's never going to be the same Eli; who's going to question his consistency now? Well, at least until Week 3 of next season.
-- Angus, Regina, Saskatchewan

Just listened to your podcast for Jan. 31. Didn't get around to it until after the Super Bowl. I have to say, listening to you and the Football Prospectus guy go on and on about the Pats was sort of like listening to Mary Todd and Abe Lincoln getting themselves hyped up for a night at the Ford Theatre.
-- Joemo, Portland

How can you write a Super Bowl column and not address Belichick bailing early? His team got beaten, 99 percent because he got outcoached, so stand on the sidelines two more seconds and take it like a man.
-- Dan, Cincinnati

SG: In my defense, I didn't know about it. We were busy fleeing the stadium.

Here's what kills me most about the Giants winning ... not that we now live in a world where Eli Manning is a Super Bowl MVP, not that Plaxico Burress now looks like a pre-cog from "Minority Report," or not that we'll be constantly inundated with stories about whether or not all the off-field distractions played a role in the game. No, what kills me most is that the 1972 Miami Dolphins will still be a part of my life, and that's not a good thing. Why couldn't these guys have bowed out of the spotlight graciously years ago? What drives these guys to try and remain relevant 36 years later? I realize that it's a great accomplishment, but did you see Jerry Rice pop champagne when the season ended and no one broke his TD record? Did Dan Marino ever say, "Well, if Peyton Manning ever breaks my single-season TD record, we'll need to add an asterisk because he's played with an All-Pro wide receiver core for his career?" Seriously, I've never hated a group of athletes more than I hate the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
-- Dan, Chicago

Dear Sports Guy:
I am a Minnesota Viking fan. How you are feeling today is how we feel all of the time.
-- Jeff T., St. Paul, Minn.

Let there be no mistake, Bill Belichick is an evil man -- evil in every way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the devil can understand. He is utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Few have trusted him, and let's hope that no one ever trusts the cheating *$&*#! again.
-- Mike, Nashville, Tenn.

SG: That won the award for "Most over-the-top e-mail involving Bill Belichick" this week.

Congratulations, your post-Super Bowl column was the equivalent of Johnny Lawrence handing Daniel LaRusso the All-Valley Karate trophy.
-- Marty, Danville

You didn't jinx the Pats two weeks ago or in November. I just saw the last half hour of "The Karate Kid" and realized you completely hosed them with the first time you made Cobra Kai Yankees reference. Didn't you remember that Cobra Kai, while seemingly invincible, LOST in the end and their leader (John Kreese) turned on them after it was over (and was humiliated by Mr. Miyagi). Now I'm terrified of this offseason. YOU DID THIS! Now I have to hate the Giants, Daniel and YOU! With one reference you killed the Patriots' season, a good movie and possibly this offseason. Thanks. Please don't write anything about KG.
-- Mike M., Fort Worth, Texas

I was wondering, are you going to update your Levels of Losing article to incorporate Super Bowl XLII?
-- Steve, New York

SG: Yeah, I've been mulling that one over. We need a level that covers a historic season that suddenly goes down in flames and makes you forget everything about what happened during the historic season, like every fun moment just gets vaporized from your brain. Not sure what it should be called. The Vaporizer? The Brain Cleanser?

Somewhere in New England, a 3-year-old kid is wondering if the Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl in his lifetime.
-- Dan M., Lakeview, N.Y.

I am 100 percent convinced that it was the red hoodie that killed the Pats. When I saw Belichick wearing it, I knew it was over before it began. Why tempt fate like that?
-- Pam, Naples, Fla.

The national media's bias against the Pats has been getting to me all year, and it all culminated on the "SportsCenter" segment immediately following the game. I love how when showing the highlights from the final drive, they failed to show when Eli threw the Lombardi Trophy to a wide open Asante Samuel, who dropped the trophy at midfield. Not only did they never mention any of the four throws that Eli made throughout the game that should've been picked, but Steve Young actually said, "Yeah, Eli made all the smart throws on that drive." Eli showed a lot of toughness throughout the game (especially the Tyree play), but he had no business winning MVP. While picking up the pieces of my cell phone, which shattered against my friend's wall, and placing them back together, I thought of the real MVP. I started photo-shopping his face together; he has Umenyiora's hair, Tuck's eyes, Strahan's teeth, and Robbins' facial hair. They were so tenacious that it looked like they were playing against a college O-line. When Eli made a few mistakes in that game, the Pats didn't capitalize. The team that deserved to win did win. But it's beyond absurd that the only guy who brought up the Pats' missed opportunities was ... Skip Bayless!
-- Ogre, Belmont, Mass.

SG: I have to say, it's a farce that Eli won the MVP when he was throwing the ball up for grabs that entire game, just like it was a farce when Brady won for Super Bowl XXXVI by putting together one-and-a-half drives for 10 points. They need to come up with a new rule where units can win the MVP so that we don't have to just keep giving it to the quarterback every time it's unclear who should win. For Super Bowl XXXVI, New England's entire secondary should have won. For Super Bowl XLII, New York's entire defensive line should have won. Doesn't seem that complicated.

Doesn't today feel like one of those "meatloaf" days? You know that crummy feeling you get following a loss of this magnitude? When every negative thing crosses your mind every time you think of the final score? "Oh great, today is Monday. Ugh ... I have bills to pay. Then I have to call the dentist to schedule that stupid root canal. And that enormous crack in my windshield needs to be taken care of. And oh yeah, we're having leftover MEATLOAF for dinner." I hate leftover meatloaf. I should have stayed in bed.
-- Tim, Boston

How does it make you feel that, in the last three years, Tom Brady has lost playoff games to Jake Plummer and BOTH Mannings?
-- Tim A.

SG: Um ... confused. It makes me feel confused.

So ... yeah. I manage a bar in Boston, and after the worst Boston sports moment since 2003, the phone began to ring ... a total of 11 calls came in from random people in New York, 411-ing bars in Boston to heckle us. One of the bartenders is from Chicago, and she was completely perplexed. I simply explained, "This is why we hate New York so much." She nodded and said, "Now I see." I don't care how awful Boston sports fans can be, have any of us ever 411-ed New York bars? No, we simply roll cars with New York plates onto their roofs.
-- Matt B., Boston

As I was watching the game, I pointed out to my friends that "I Won't Back Down" would be the Giants' version of "Beautiful Day." I think that works better than the "Anti-Beautiful Day."
-- Zach, New York

It wasn't just that Rodney Harrison is a caught cheater, Belichick a caught cheater, Moss a malcontent that mailed in two seasons, Welker a smart-mouthed trash-talker who falls down instead of taking a hit, or the team showed no graciousness in victory. Granted, all of those things were enough to make the country dislike the Pats. It's that the rest of us want to hold on to the great teams of old that showed toughness and class. I'm more relieved that many will continue to look at the '89 Niners as the standard. A classy team at most all positions with a gracious coach who wasn't akin to the uncle nobody likes at the dinner table like Belichick.
-- Tony, Los Angeles

I'll stick with my original choice of the '86 Celtics as the greatest team of all time.
-- Barron, South Padre Island, Texas

SG: Me, too.

Did you stop by the Patriots' postgame "party"? I couldn't stay in there. After I saw Bruschi walking and looking like Bruce Banner right after the transformation back from Hulk, and then Richard Seymour with this pitiful hangdog look on his face, I turned to my wife, who'd taken me to SB XLII on an overdue honeymoon, and told her, "I just don't want to see them like this." After four days of total exhilaration in Arizona, I've chosen to remember 2007 for everything else and not the final 35 seconds of the game. Here's to our Patriots! It was a great ride; too bad we couldn't park the car in the driveway.
-- Patrick R., Saunderstown, R.I.