Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

Column: Patriots’ loss brought smile to face

February 7, 2008

All right, time to take a quick step away from the prep sports world and review the past eight days worth of action in our neck of the woods.

Of course, there was some college basketball, which will be discussed - with a little grumbling and chuckling about a certain Wildcat team - but there was a slightly bigger game played Sunday.

I'm not sure I can mention the name since it is trademarked. You know the one I'm talking about, right? It's that "big football game." The championship of the National Football League.

OK, forget it. Enough beating around the bushes - the Super Bowl.

Yep, it was Super Bowl Sunday five days ago. If you missed it, I'm sorry. That was one of the best Super Bowls I've watched during my 25 years on Earth.

As with every NFL championship, this year's game brought plenty of hype to the field. The daunted New England Patriots waltzed into the contest with an unblemished 18-0 record. Their opponent, the fearless New York Giants, had just won three straight road playoff games.

Not to mention the two teams played the final regular season game at NY. The Patriots won 38-35, but could they do it again?

Nearly everyone, especially so-called experts, thought New England would walk right over the Giants. I wasn't so sure, but I knew the Giants had a chance, since they came oh-so close a month ago.

Sorry to be a bit cliche here, but that's why they play the game.

Well, it turned out to be a good thing the game wasn't decided on paper. New York squeaked out a 17-14 win to end the Patriots hopes of an undefeated season. There might not have been a happier person in Baldwin City that night than yours truly.

It's not that I completely hate the Patriots, it's just that I despise them and have since their first Super Bowl run in 2002. You might say I'm still slightly bitter about a certain "tuck rule" play. Search "tuck rule" on www.youtube.com if you're confused on my reference to a 2002 NFL playoff game.

Well anyway, this year's Super Bowl was a great game. It was a tad boring for a while, but the final quarter was exciting. The Giants scored a touchdown to take a 10-7 lead, which was answered immediately by New England. That left just under three minutes left and time for a Giants comeback.

Giants' quarterback Eli Manning, younger brother of last year's Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning, marched his team down the field for a game-winning score. Eli Manning showed brilliant flashes on the drive that almost looked like John Elway was driving down the field.

Of course, Eli Manning took the MVP trophy home this year. He was deserving of it, but the real MVP was the Giants' defensive line. Tonganoxie Mirror writer Eric Sorrentino wrote a nice piece about how the defensive line should be the MVP. I whole-heartedly agree with him.

The Giants applied more pressure to Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady than he has seen during his tenure in the NFL. They hit him and roughed him up all night long. I, for one, did enjoy the crunching Brady took. Way to go unsung heroes of the defensive line.

Before I do a quick rant about college basketball, let me make a prediction for next year's Super Bowl. I predict the score will be 24-21 with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Indianapolis Colts.

All right, well it's time for my quick rant about Kansas State University basketball. I am of course a University of Kansas fan first and foremost. My beloved Jayhawks fell in Manhattan for the first time since in 25 years last Wednesday.

It was painful to watch and even more painful to watch ESPN highlights for the following 48 hours. But, I said it then and I'll say it again, the Wildcats outplayed the Jayhawks that night. KSU played with more heart and desire than KU did. The Wildcats cared more about the 24-game losing streak on their home court than did the Jayhawks.

Now with that off my chest, I must say this. That win doesn't make the Wildcats a better team than KU. Don't believe me? Check the result of the Wildcats' next game.

They traveled to Missouri to face a team without three of its star players, who were involved in an altercation the weekend prior. The Tigers upset the Wildcats, pretty much washing away any memory of KSU beating KU.

Now I know Missouri gave K-State its best shot, because KSU is ranked in the top 25. But if KSU wants to be a top-caliber team and win the Big 12 Conference, it must learn to overcome an opponent's best game and find a way to win.

The same could be said for the Jayhawks when they lost in Manhattan. However, they did on Saturday out in Boulder, Colo.

So here is my rant. I am sick of teams, like KSU, who give KU their best shot then seem to forget about their next game or several games. Play every game like you're playing KU and you might have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament.

I'm simply saying the Wildcats cared so much about being KU that once they won, there was nothing left. They cared so much about "the streak" that their next opponent didn't matter.

Missouri has done the same thing in past years. The Tigers have won in Columbia against KU but then lost to a worse team the following game.

I know KU will get team's best shot each night out and that's to be expected. But I'm sick of teams playing like the national title is on the line one night, then acting like it's an exhibition game the following night out.

The Jayhawks will be ready for revenge March 1 in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. You can also bet that will be the last trip to Lawrence that KSU players Michael Beasley and Bill Walker ever make. They will be heading to the NBA after season, so KU will have to start another streak in Manhattan next year.

Go Jayhawks.

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