On Super Bowl Sunday New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady probably felt like he was an actor in a rerun episode of the popular American television show The Brady Bunch. Unfortunately for Brady and his bunch the New England Patriots, they met up with whom I have dubbed the “Spagnuolo Bunch” the New York Giants defense and was given a taste of reality TV.
Unlike the old television show where you had Mike, Greg, Peter and Bobby a safe middle class family from suburban America, Steve Spagnuolo the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants delivered his reality version of Osi, Michael, Justin, Kawika, Antonio, and Jay. Who are DE Osi Umenyiora, DE Michael Strahan, DE Justin Tuck, LB Kawika Mitchell, LB Antonio Pierce and DT Jay Alford. A few more members than the Brady Bunch TV show and a nouveau bunch of players to say the least.
The “Spagnuolo Bunch” created what could be deemed a force majeure instituted by Mara, Spagnuolo, Coughlin & Reese. There were of course other members of the Giants defense that played a role in disrupting Tom Brady and cutting the Patriots down to size.
When you look at the first match up between the Giants and the Patriots where most analysts figured Coughlin to be crazy to play his starters, Spagnuolo did a wonderful job at the Meadowlands against the Patriots. In that last game of the regular season Spagnuolo got the Patriots offense to play hard and all out against a team that had nothing to gain. That was brilliant. Spagnuolo flushed out the opponent and allowed the oppositions machismo to get the best of them. I can see where that allowed the Giants to gain a) much needed experience against the NFL’s best at that time, b) footage in order to show the Giants football players what they did wrong and what they did right so they could improve all aspects of their game, c) gain momentum and build an overwhelming level of confidence leading into the playoffs.
I would guess Spagnuolo is a good Texas Hold’em poker player. In my observation at Dallas and Greenbay Spagnuolo only exposed what was necessary to slow down the other teams offense and get New York Giant quarterback Eli Manning and the offense the ball. This would allow Eli and New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gillbride and the rest of the offensive coaching squad to do their job while Giants coach Coughlin let everybody breathe. He coached.
Before Sunday’s Super Bowl the New England Patriots were averaging over 30+ points per game on offense. In contrast to their average points per game Brady and his offense only scored a total of 14 points in Super Bowl XLII. During the week leading up to the Super Bowl Tom Brady responded to New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress when Buress predicated the Giants will win 23 – 17. According to the Associated Press 2008, “We’re only going to score 17 points?” Brady said Wednesday morning before chuckling. “OK. Is Plax playing defense? “I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for more points.” Well Brady was correct in predicting a 3pt lost and not correct in regards to the Patriots scoring more points. Plaxico with yet another win.
I believe (we will have to check the exact time) the Giants defense held the Patriots to 7 points for three and one half quarters or 52.5 minutes of a 60 minute game before Brady finally hooked up with New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. That touchdown to Moss would not be a enough to stave off the Giants offense and Eli Manning connecting to Plaxico of all players for the Giants game winner.
Absent from this years New York Giants Super Bowl Championship team and I love these players for what they have contributed to the Giants organization in previous seasons is retired New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and the injured New York Giant starting tight end Jeremy Shockey. Tiki, in so many words claimed Eli Manning was soft spoken and didn’t have what it takes to lead the team. Shockey could be seen on the sidelines intensely displaying his disgust for Manning not getting him the ball. There’s positive intensity and negative intensity. Positive and constructive criticism and negative non-productive criticism. In my opinion both Barber and Shockey exerted negative non-productive criticisms. Could the Giants have won Super Bowl XLII with Barber and Shockey? Hmmm I doubt it. But we will never know for certain since right now this game is in the history books. One thing for certain is Shockey will receive a coveted Super Bowl XLII ring.
So congratulations Spagnuolo for a brilliant defensive scheme and for allowing your “bunch” to do the unexpected.
Enjoy these highlights of the New York Giants or how I like to refer to them now “The Spagnuolo Bunch” and their defensive schemes as presented by NFL.com’s NFL Video Galleries.
NY DailyNews.com. (2008). Tom Brady laughs off Plaxico Burress’s Super Bowl prediction. Associated Press. Retrieved on February 3, 2008. Web.
NFL Videos Galleries. (2008). SB XLII: Giants defense highlights. NFL.com. Retrieved on February 3, 2008. Web.
© 2008 Jerry Calliste Jr. & jerrycallistejr.com. The NY logo is a trademark of the New York Giants organization. All Rights Reserved.