As I watched Billy Cundiff’s seemingly “sure thing,” 32-yard field goal attempt sail wide left, I felt the earth shift – all Patriots fans jumped up to rejoice, while Ravens fans fell to the ground in despair.
Throughout the game my blood pressure was on a rollercoaster ride: sure the Pats were going to pull it off; hopefully of a New England victory, but not wanting to feel too confident only to be brutally disappointed; and fearing that the evil Ravens were going to pound my Super Bowl dreams into oblivion.
In the end, it was Vince Wilfork on defense and Cundiff’s missed kick that sent the Pats to Indianapolis (although, if Cundiff had made the field goal, who knows what would have happened in overtime – Tom Brady the assassin very well could have returned.)
Brady, in his own words, “sucked pretty bad,” in the game; though, to be fair, his numbers were far from awful - 239 yards, with two interceptions however, for the first time in 36 games, no TD passes… but he did run in the game-winner. But for Brady, that’s a bad game. Usually he doesn't need much assistance when it comes to big games, but Sunday the Patriots' highly-criticized defense came through and was the deciding factor in the game (Cundiff’s foot aside).
After the game finished, I had only a few minutes to regain my composure and let my blood pressure settle before I was thrown into another game. I wasn’t ready for another championship game; I wanted to savor the Patriots good luck for a few hours. But Roger Goodell wouldn’t have it and I was thrust into the 49ers-Giants rumble.
During this game I was torn – who do I cheer for? I hate the Giants and I like the 49ers, but I also want to Pats to have a chance to avenge their last Super Bowl loss. That being said, I’m just a tad superstitious – because of that, I try to be realistic and not overly confident because my confidence may madden the football gods and cause the Patriots to lose, and I would rather lose to San Francisco than the Giants. So as you can see, I was torn. Seeing as how cheering for a New York team just about makes me physically ill, I couldn’t bring myself to cheer for the Giants (watching them celebrate brings the taste of bile to my mouth).
In the end, it was the football gods (and poor Kyle Williams) who decided the outcome, and now my Patriots have the opportunity to avenge their Super Bowl XLII loss.
With this matchup, I am forced to remember back to that game in 2008. Try as I might to forget it ever happened, over and over I am forced to watch David Tyree and the helmet catch thrown in my face by ESPN, Fox and the like.
I went into that game as confident as a fan can be – after all, my team was 18-0 and the Giants finished the regular season 10-6 (just like this season… I’m feeling sick). As the game wore on I remember asking myself: “Why are the Patriots playing like they’re trying not to lose? My Patriots always play to win! Who is this team? Where are my Patriots?!”
Then the unthinkable happened, and after “the touchdown” I got up, and locked myself in my room. A tear or two may have been shed and I refused to talk about the game or turn on ESPN for a week.
Now the Patriots have a chance to avenge that fateful night… they better not blow it, or I may actually have a heart attack.