It’s hard to know who to root for in a Giants-Patriots Super Bowl. It’s like picking sides in a G.E.-Microsoft fight. But even without having a rooting interest, last night’s game was boring in its predictability.
What I couldn’t understand was why, with the ball and a 2-point lead, the Patriots were not in 4-down mode for most of their last drive. With under four minutes to play, and the ball and a narrow lead, they needed one of three outcomes: (1) Score; (2) Hold the ball until time expired; (3) Give up the ball in such a manner as to allow them maximum time to counter a Giants’ score.
From the way the Patriots’ defense played, it was unrealistic to think that after turning the ball over, they’d be able to keep New York out of field goal range. So why bother with a punt? Better to take your chances in getting a first down (which would have changed the play calls on both second, third, and fourth down of their penultimate drive) because even if you then turn the ball over on downs, all you’ve done is given the Giants a shorter field. I’d argue that the upside/downside part of the calculation would have been: Better to increase the probability of New York scoring (since it was already very high) while also increasing the probability of getting the ball back with more time to counter.
Punting in that situation makes very little sense. (At least to me.) It’s the kind of clock management I’d expect from Andy Reid.
All things considered, I’d probably have preferred a Pats win, I suppose. More Tommy from Quinzee, more squash-court Eli, and their championships weren’t predicated on inexplicably dropped pass from the opposition and two total-fluke circus catches. The Patriots earned their Super Bowls the old-fashioned way: By illegally videotaping their opponents.