We were on the fifth replay of the Super Bowl, counting the way the Patriots could have won it, when my sister said it.
“It’s only a game.”
Only a game?
When I make my annual trek to Fort Myers and Red Sox spring training games, I listen to sports radio when available, and my gleaming new, 2,000-tune iPod when it is not.
Judging by the talk on WEEI in Boston, then WFAN in New York, it is not just a game and it still isn’t over.
A few days before the Supe, Coach Belichick was a genius, the greatest coach ever of the greatest team ever.
Why didn’t he kick that 48-yard field goal when he had the chance? Why didn’t he bring in another tight end after Brady was getting pummeled on every pass play? Why didn’t he make his characteristically brilliant halftime adjustments?
One caller said: “This is just like Buckner and the pain is going to last as long.”
Just a game?
It got worse as I left Connecticut and headed for the state of New York. The signal for WFAN, “Home of the world champion New York Giants,” started getting stronger and stronger. Several years ago, I got to listen to the Yankees press conference on WFAN to announce that A-Rod had forsaken the Rex Sox for the hated and overrated Yankees.
This year, WFAN listeners and Giants fans agreed that this was the best-ever Super Bowl win, since their team was a 14-point underdog against the undefeated New England Patriots. No one gave them a chance. This was better than beating the lowly Bills on a Scott Norwood missed field goal.
Several New York fans gloated that this win would shut up those “obnoxious Boston fans.” All right, we started calling ourselves “Titletown” after the Sox won the series and the Patriots looked to be headed for an undefeated season.
But being called obnoxious by Yankee fans is like being called rude by Adolf Hitler.
At the Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey Pike, I stupidly bought a Daily News to read over my turnpike pizza. The coverage was not too bad but the paper had pages and pages of “Super Bowl Champion” memorabilia.
Let’s face it, the Giants pounded the Patriots into submission. They won fair and square.
But the three Patriots that let Eli Manning get away in the last few minutes of the game should be shamed forever.
But Rodney Harrison should be pilloried for letting someone named David Tyree make that miracle catch on the same play.
But Asante Samuel should be jeered for dropping that certain interception.
Any of those plays would have won it for the Patriots and preserved the undefeated season for the “greatest football team of all time.”
Look, it’s time to leave it all behind and focus on baseball, Fort Myers and the back-to-back Red Sox World Series championships that are surely our due.
That will make up for this painful loss that will stay with us as long as the Bill Buckner error did.
Just a game?
Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at firstname.lastname@example.org.