When the clock finally ticked down to zero and the New York Giants celebrated one of the greatest upsets in all of sports against the New England Patriots, I was left more confused than I was during many of my college exams a few years back.
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Quite frankly, like Tom Brady many times this past Sunday in the Super Bowl, I was totally blindsided. To be honest, I thought the Patriots would come away with a perfect 19-0 season record, easily win the Super Bowl over the Giants and officially be named the greatest football team of all time. Brady would seal his spot as the best quarterback, his squad would lift him high on their shoulders afterwards and, perhaps, a holiday would be declared in their honor. I was that certain.
But boy, how wrong I was.
It's not that I'm a big-time Patriots fan — I'm not — I just thought they were that much better than New York. In the end, they were just one play away from wearing the crown, but instead took a 17-14 loss in one of the more dramatic Super Bowl finishes in a long time.
Actually, I didn't know which team to pull for, even late in the game. One part of me wanted New England to win because I love dynasties, but the other part wanted New York to win for the feel-good story about the underdogs coming out on top.
I'm a little embarrassed as a sports editor to admit this now, but I wasn't into this year's Super Bowl at all — that is until the final stretch. I didn't even really watch the contest until the final eight minutes. After all, the Indianapolis Colts (my team) were already out of the playoff picture and I was certain the Pats would run all over the Giants. I was more excited for the Henry County Youth Football League championship games this past fall than the Super Bowl.
I sparingly watched the first half of the game at the University of Louisville Planetarium and, after a 7-3 New England halftime lead, drove home to catch the ending. I envisioned the Patriots blowing open a lead that they would easily sustain until the end, but when I arrived in Pleasureville, surprisingly, the score was the same.
Then, the Giants' final drive, which included 83 yards and 14 plays, gave them the lead for good.
As it turns out, there were a lot of reasons to watch this year's Super Bowl, and others, not including me, agreed from the start. This year's Super Bowl was the most-watched ever at 97.5-million viewers, and the second most-watched telecast ever, trailing the 1983 finale of "M-A-S-H," seen by 106 million people.
I've been a sports fan since the day I was born and, embarrassingly, just about missed the most-watched sporting event of all time. If anyone has a copy, please send it my way.
In the end, the Giants played the underdog role to perfection, and the Patriots went from possibly the greatest team ever to the greatest disappointed ever.
Now, I'm just thankful I tuned in to watch the final minutes.
Tommie Kendall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.