Eli and Co.: Terrible Winning Touchdown Nobody Wanted & Other Stories

So the Super Bowl is over and all we are left with is a comment and a “what if” question. The comment people are talking about is the statement made by Tom Brady’s wife immediately after the game. She was shown in the owners box during the game, a handsome, wired looking blond woman who talked animatedly with her hands to whoever was sitting next to her. Whoever it was appeared, at that moment anyway, not to want to listen to her, but instead focus on the game. Turns out this woman, Brady’s wife, is supermodel Gisele Bundchen. And what she said, after the game after two receivers dropped passes during Brady’s unsuccessful final drive was to belittle those receivers.

“My husband cannot F—ing throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.” [expand]

Divorce her, Tom. Do it for the team.

It was so much fun watching this game. I woke up Saturday morning thinking—wow, this is Super Bowl weekend, this is going to be GREAT! And it was. Perhaps the best ever.

And we all know the “what if” scenario. The answer to it was all the Patriot players standing around watching and hoping while Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw leaned toward stepping into the endzone for the winning touchdown, which is something his quarterback told him not to do, then finally, finding he could not help himself, slowly fell across the line and into the end zone to win the game, or, as he and 900 million people thought around the world, very likely lose the game because after the two-point conversion, there were 57 seconds left to play still and Tom Brady is a god.

Many of us continue to savor the memory of this unforgettable play. We talk about it. And that’s how the “what if” parts of this come into play.

So the score with two minutes to play is Patriots 17, Giants 15 and Eli Manning is driving the Giants down the field with the Patriot defense reeling from the assault.

The Giants have gotten down to the Patriots six-yard line. It is second down and goal. The Giants have a time out remaining. But so do the Patriots. There is one minute and seven seconds remaining.

You’re the coach. A touchdown puts you ahead by five points. A field goal by one. What do you do?

If you go for and get a touchdown on the second down—it’s only six yards away—you will have to hand the ball over to Brady, the God of Football, with all that time left to play. In one minute, he could score his own touchdown even from 99 yards away. Patriots win. Giants lose.

If you do NOT get a touchdown on that second down or a third down, you will be able to run down the clock to two seconds and then have your field goal kicker come in at the very end to get the three points to win. It’s the end. But what if the field goal fails? It could be blocked. It could go off sideways because of the stress on the shoulders of that slender kicker. Then the Giants lose. Disaster.

From past experience, the coach knows the odds are nine out of ten that the kick will be good from that distance and so the Giants would win by one point. So those are good odds. But this is the Super Bowl. You cannot be sure.

Turns out that, according to The New York Times, Giant Coach Tom Coughlin decided to try for the touchdown right away, get the six points. Then go for the two-point conversion to eat more time. Brady would have his 57 seconds, but he’d have to get a touchdown to win. It would not be enough for the Patriots to just get a field goal. Coach Coughlin believed in the Giant’s defense to stop Brady—stop the god.

As the Giants huddled up, Coughlin called to Eli on the headphone mike and told him to give the ball to Bradshaw for a run up the center. Coach was thinking that if that failed, he’d dawdle the time and go for the field goal on third or fourth.

Coming out of the huddle, however, Eli saw that all the Patriot players were just standing leisurely around. They were not in their usual ferocious position. And he knew instantly what that meant. It meant the Patriots coach had told the team to let Bradshaw score! Coach Bill Belichick was out-thinking Coach Coughlin.

As they came trotting up to the line therefore, Eli shouted out to Bradshaw and all the other players “Don’t score! Don’t score!” Everybody heard him. It was the exact opposite of everything they had been taught to do. And it was not in the game plan from Coughlin, although Eli did have the rights to change things if he felt circumstances needed it. Then Eli got the ball hiked to him and he handed it to Bradshaw.

We all know the rest. Bradshaw thought no, I will not score, but I could hopefully get the ball a little closer for the field goal. Also he might have thought what I could also do if I got to the one-yard line is just stand there and do nothing. With doing nothing, the seconds would be ticking off. The Patriots would EVENTUALLY have to come over and tackle me. They might even try to carry me into the endzone.

Indeed, as we discussed this moment, my friends and I, we wondered what would have happened if Bradshaw was able to keep from going into the endzone but DID think of the above and did not voluntarily drop to one knee to “give up” the play, as it is called, which is something legal he could do.

Would the Patriots indeed have picked him up and, preventing him from taking a knee, CARRIED him across the goal line for the winning touchdown?

Someone wondered if that could be considered unnecessary roughness, and someone said they thought it would depend upon how he was carried.

We all agreed that would be a touchdown, though. The ball crosses the plane. No elbow or knee touches the ground. It’s forward motion bringing on the touchdown. Even if it was against the man’s will.

We discussed the “celebration” that Bradshaw carried out after he realized he had fallen into the endzone for the winning touchdown. He got slowly to his feet. He moped around.

Ah well, it’s over now. Brady did get the ball with 57 seconds to play on his own 20-yard line. And he couldn’t get the job done. His players were exhausted. So was he, it seemed to me. He threw a bad pass. He threw a catchable pass that was bobbled and dropped. The Giants defense, one of the best in the league, roared in and sacked Brady on his third try. On fourth down, Brady did throw a short complete pass for a first down, but the game ended with the Patriots at the 49.

There had been, before the game, two taped interviews with the two opposing quarterbacks about how they felt going in.

Eli told the press he knew he had a daunting task ahead of him. Brady would be a formidable foe. He’d do his best.

Brady said they’d been lusting after this all year and they were going to take it. He was asked would he want the lead with one minute to play or would he want to be behind by a few points with the ball? He gave a very provocative answer. He said he wanted the ball. The Giants didn’t stand a chance.

Well, of course, they did.

Divorce her, Brady. There are a million supermodels out there waiting for you. No problems.

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