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Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Déjà Vu


New York Giants 21
New England Patriots 17

With the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVI, the 2011 NFL season is in the books. One of the more interesting NFL seasons has drawn to a close. I find it fitting, at least from a poetic/literary standpoint, that the Giants emerged as the champions of this season.

Throughout the playoffs, I have mentioned parallels between these playoffs and the playoffs of past years. The Giants win over the Packers at Lambeau, their win at Candlestick Park in the NFC Championship Game, and the matchup with the Patriots in the Super Bowl all drew comparisons to past playoff scenarios. I should have expected that the Super Bowl would be no different.

Super Bowl XLVI 4
Four years ago, the Patriots held a slim lead in the final minutes of the game. Yesterday, the Patriots led by two points with less four minutes remaining. 

Super Bowl XLII 5
Four years ago, the Giants were catapulted from being deep in their own territory to the Patriots end of the field by a clutch, accurate bomb by Eli Manning and a spectacular catch by a Giants wide receiver, David Tyree, upheld by instant replay. Yesterday, the same thing happened, costing the Patriots a precious timeout by unsuccessfully challenging Mario Manningham’s tightrope catch. 

Super Bowl XLVI 3
Four years ago, the Giants scored the game winning touchdown in the final minute of the game. Yesterday, the Giants, reluctantly, score the game winning touchdown in the final minute of the game.

Super Bowl XLII 2
Once again, Eli Manning earned a Super Bowl championship ring and Super Bowl MVP award. Once again, Tom Brady was denied a fourth Super Bowl championship, matching Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. Once again, Eli Manning opened up a previously closed conversation among fans, writers, and broadcasters comparing his achievements and stature to his older brother, one-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. The list of similarities between this Giants playoff run and runs of the past is quite long.

Super Bowl XLII 6
This season told a story of the cementing of some legacies and the ascension of others. Some questions remain unanswered. And whether or not some career stories have drawn to a close is unclear. Still, the comparisons and contrasts of present seasons to seasons past is a compelling element that attracts us to NFL football.
Super Bowl XLVI 7
Next year will offer us another story. The upcoming offseason will offer us a preamble. Perhaps the 2012 season will expand on existing storylines or offer us a new volume with original chapters in the annals of NFL football. We will all have to wait. We will all have to watch.  

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