The View From The Press Box

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: February 13, 2008

GLENDALE, Az. — The game, we all know was great — but the view of what transpired prior to it may have set the tone.

From my position (Auxiliary Press Box, section 404, row 11) Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted through the spyglasses refusing to shake Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand as the teams were coming onto the field.

Considering the end run Goodell had attempted to circumvent the rush of questions about destroying the Spy Gate tapes, one would think there would be a grain of gratitude expressed.

For the most part, you guys saw what I saw. Four glaring observations: the New England offensive line, a picture of efficiency all season was uncharacteristically out of sync with three O-line penalties — three more than in the entire playoffs to that point;

The failure to contact law enforcement authorities, as every member of the Giants defensive line rotation could’ve easily earned five-to-10 in Sing Sing for the aggravated assault on one Tom Brady.

At least five instances in the 20-plus times Brady was hit would have, under normal season refereeing guidelines, warranted roughing-the-passer penalties; with at least three of those efforts resulting in a fine for a blow to the head;

Add to this the total lack of class on the part of Coach Bellicose with his walking off the field before the final whistle. Wide Receiver Randy Moss, who was lambasted for a similar situation earlier in his career, was as generous in praising the victor as he was gracious in apologizing for his arrogant coach;

And, lastly, the total rush of emotion after the Brady-to-Moss touchdown pass made it 14-10 New England. The rush of press people to get up and hurry downstairs to the interview area blanketed the aura of gloom among Giants fans and the impression by most, if not all in the stadium that the game was over.

While Eli Manning confessed his inability to sleep after the victory, what must Jarvis Green be thinking? The defensive end seemingly had Manning in his grasp before Eli channeled his inner Steve McNair and performed his Escape-ism before the “head shot” to David Tyree.

Or cornerback Assante Samuel, who dropped the pass on that fateful drive which would have guaranteed perfection for New England (you don’t think Bellicose won’t remember that come negotiation time?)

With the exception of the successful Belichick challenge in the third quarter, this was a throwback game in every sense of the word. I’m only speculating here, but maybe if Belichick had been cordial with the Commissioner, the high sign wouldn’t have been given to turn the dogs of war loose on the Pats O-line.

Gone West

If the trend to copy successful trends remains evident, then this game could’ve also signaled a death knell for the vaunted ‘West Coast’ offense.

Firstly, the term is a misnomer. If anything, the offense is an East Coast offense, originally run by, ironically, the Giants of the mid-1960s under coach Allie Sherman, who utilized backs like Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Alex Webster and receivers like Del Shofner and Aaron Thomas in the selfsame manner as most Bill Walsh — influenced teams run today.

The return to a power running game may bode well for running backs, linemen, and defensive backs and safeties in the upcoming Draft, who will be asked to stop bigger and faster receivers in addition to providing run support.

The return of Beast status to the teams in the NFC East may also begin a winning trend for the conference as it has been seven years since an NFC team won it all.

Lastly, as what happens with some negatives, a positive thing emerges; as the organization World Vision was able to clothe thousands of underprivileged children with 19-0 tee shirts — courtesy of the New England Patriots’ faithful followers.