Holy crap. I knew they could do it all along, but I still can't believe it.
For only the 3rd time in my 30 years on this planet and the first time since I was 12, it actually happened.
In one of the greatest upsets in NFL history, the New York Giants beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots in one of the greatest defensive performances I have ever seen. The Patriots had the best offense in NFL history, and the Giants simply crushed them at the line of scrimmage. Justin Tuck almost won the MVP in my mind - I've been hyping him as one of the most underrated players in the league, but I doubt he'll be underrated now.
In case anyone ever asks again - why I have to leave the gathering to watch the Giants on a random fall afternoon - why I have to call 20 bars to find the one that will actually show the game, and in HD if possible - why I refuse to do anything else on Sunday afternoons when they play - why I watch EVERY game, even when they stink and have no chance at the playoffs - why I scream like a madman, making myself hoarse - why I can't eat, starting an hour before kickoff because my stomach can't take it - why I have to watch the highlights 3 times, even after I saw the game the first time - THIS IS WHY!
I feel like laughing, smiling, crying and just leaning back and taking it all in. I just sat there watching post-game coverage with a silly grin. This is the payoff. Even if it only comes around once every 17 years, it's worth all the frustration and heartache. Especially because you only know how good it really is when you've gone through all the years of frustration.
Only when you've felt as crushed as I've felt when Flipper Anderson ran into the tunnel, beating the Giants in OT in the playoffs, when they lost to the Vikings after having a 9 point lead with less than 2 mintues to go in '97, when they lost to Cowboys on the last game of the season with the division on the line in the early 90s, when Ron Dixon was tackled on the one yard line after a ridiculous hook-and-ladder against the Eagles, when they were absolutely destroyed by the Panthers two years ago in the Wild Card game, when they lost in Seattle after three missed field goal attempts to win it, when the Vikings blew their doors off both last year and this year - exposing them as frauds... only if you suffer through that, can the redemption of winning four straight road playoff games as underdogs - against the cocky Cowboys and Packers, who both thought they had the game in the bag - and against the 18-0 Patriots, to whom the Giants were merely a speed bump on their road to destiny - only then can that redemption truly fill you with the joy I am feeling right now and will feel for at least the next 6 months.
That is why I watch the games. That is why I will always watch the Giants, even if somebody else wants to do something that day.
They have been there longer than I can remember, as I was left in front of the TV to watch the games with my Dad as a baby. They will frustrate, they will annoy, and they will crush me. But once every decade or two, just once - they will repay me with a feeling that no drug on the planet can replicate.
For the 2007 New York Giants are World Champions. That can never be taken away. Decades from now, when I'm drooling on myself in a nursing home, I will flip on the TV, and on the NFL Network 3D or whatever it will be called - there will be a show entitled "A Giant Upset". I will sit and watch as they recap the season, the playoffs and the game that no one thought could happen, but it did. And I will smile, maybe even tear up. I will remember how great the defensive line played - and I will remember Steve Smith picking up that first down on the final drive on 3rd and 11 - and I will remember Plaxico Burress breaking open on the fade, the pass floating in the air with only 35 seconds and one grab separating the Giants from victory - and I will remember Eli slipping out of a sure sack by two Patriots, running for his life and lauching a prayer to David Tyree, who jumped up and ripped the ball from Rodney Harrison's hands, and as he fell backwards, held the pass between his hand and his helmet because it was all he could do - and most of all I will remember that no one believed except for myself, my family, the Giants fans - and Big Blue. And we did it.
That is why I will always watch the game..