Monday, February 4, 2008

Eli Drank Our Milkshake

"Eli Manning just gave me the Eli Manning Face."
--Bill Simmons,

Well, that certainly did suck. A special thanks to Brostrom, Amy Lee, Aaron Rosenbloom, Chris Beaver, Russ Geltman, Dannie Lin and everyone else who’s made a point of rubbing last night’s debacle in my face. Good friends, good friends. You’d think being surrounded by 2-dozen Boston fans would have provided some form of comfort in the aftermath of being spanked by the *really* retarded-looking Manning brother but instead it seemed to bring out every New Englanders collective “why us” anxiety that most of us have barely been on speaking-terms with since 2004. It’s as though the floodgates had been opened and all of us, who admittedly have been on an insanely prolonged sports-high, were awash in the sort of failure we once assumed would great us every year. This was really, really bad.

Some random thoughts:

Lots of people to blame for this one from our decrepit linebackers who somehow allowed Eli to shake free on "the pass." I've never had my emotions jerk violently in that many directions in such a short period of time. It was something along the lines of "YesssgetttttthimmmOHHHHMYYYYGODDDWHATAREYOUDOINGNOOOOOOO!" I may or may not have dropped to my knees with my head in my hands at some point immediately after this play. Let's also throw some love at the offensive line which was completely overwhelmed by the G-men all night, Elis Hobbs for getting burned badly by Plaxico on the final drive and Bill Belichick for playing it safe most of the night. Where was the swagger? Where was the inventiveness? When did he turn into Marty Schottenheimer?

If nothing else, can this please put to rest the entire Tom Brady man-crush bit. That joke not only ran its course years ago but it's starting to get creepy. Didn't guys used to be embarrassed by these sorts of things?

Guess I'm just naive, but I was legitimately surprised how many people wanted the Pats to lose (or at the very least are happy that it's now happened). Granted I used to be the guy who hated the Bulls during the Jordan era and cheered for whichever team played against the 49'ers growing up but, wow, even people who seem entirely disconnected from professional sports are treating this like the Death Star's just been destroyed. Guess the SpyGate stuff really stayed with people.

Also, thanks a bunch to the Boston Globe for pre-selling 19-0 commemorative books (just when I thought we had thought the demons of "1918" chants had been vanquished, we opened a door and gave New Yorkers and "18-1" chant to run with. Outstanding) that will now be sent to third world countries short on toilet paper supplies and Mayor Menino for boasting about the victory parade to the Herald last week. Okay, I now get why people hate this team.

A little perspective however is in order. This wasn’t the worst loss of my lifetime by a long-shot. Watching Aaron Boone trot around the bases in Game 7 was like watching your mom get violated on a pinball machine. Still, can we get some form of confirmation that Paul Crocetti is still alive?

A surprising silver-lining to last night was I had to report to a film-set in Pasadena almost immediately after the game so I didn’t have time to spend the rest of the night sulking and forcing myself to watch replays on ESPN over and over again. Instead I only had to concern myself with staying awake till 4 in the morning and not catching hypothermia as it was in the low 40’s and we were shooting outdoors.

Another unexpected upside: I spent an hour or so curled up on the couch commiserating with/being consoled by a very cute woman. Not exactly how I expected to spend the time after the game, but man it could have been worse.

For the record I made the comparison to the Rams-Pats Superbowl a few weeks ago and was shouted down. Not sure how proud I should be of this.

This whole experience reminds me of the 2003-2004 NBA season (my first living in LA) when I actually allowed myself to root for the Lakers because they’d signed Karl Malone in one last hope of winning an NBA championship before Kobe and Shaq murdered one another, and before Malone and Gary Payton ended up like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing as first-ballot hall of famers without a championship ring. Of course it felt dirty to cheer for the gross Lakers but it was impossible not to get caught up in the excitement. Of course halfway through the season Malone broke down for the first time in an almost twenty year career, Kobe and Shaq refused to play nice with one another, Kobe accused Malone of making sexual advances towards his wife (this last one got swept under the carpet after Kobe began living out To Kill a Mocking Bird in Colorado the next season) and the Lakers were embarrassed in the NBA Finals by the scrappy Detroit Pistons.

I’d also compare this to the 2001 MLB season which was notable not only for the Seattle Mariners pulling off much the same trick the Pats did (winning a record-breaking number of regular season wins only to choke in the post-season) as well as the Yankees going to the World Series a month after 9/11 when, theoretically, the whole world wanted them to win and they lost to an expansion team (something the Yankees do better than anyone else on Earth).

Pitchers and catchers report in 10 days (first time I’ve looked forward to Valentine’s Day in years). I can only take comfort in the fact that football is a hell of a ride but it’s got nothing on baseball, and last time I checked we’ve got a banner raising ceremony planned for April.

I’m finished.

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