My dad calls me up with 30 seconds left in the game. “You better get ready to print a retraction, kiddo,” he says in reference to my column on the danger of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. I hear shrieking and breaking glass in the background. I ask where his friend Paul is. “I think Paul died,” my dad says. “So things are crazy there?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. “It’s great, but it’s not the World Series.”
My point exactly. Let me make one thing very clear: this is not a retraction. The Pats won and New England went crazy. So did I. I started to gather my canned goods and head down to the bomb shelter, sure that the apocalypse was coming, but then I realized something. The Patriots did a very unselfish thing on Sunday. They won the Super Bowl, and they did it without using their miracle. How unselfish of them.
Let me explain. With one minute 30 left in the game the Rams scored a touchdown to come within one point of New England 16-17. They had a choice of kicking the extra point to tie or going for the two-point conversion for the win. “Go for it, it’s the Super Bowl!” every one at the office screamed. The Rams weren’t listening. They took the kick and tied the game at 17.
So now the game is tied and the Patriots have possession with more than a minute remaining. That’s when John Madden says the single most idiotic thing I have ever heard. “You gotta go for the tie here, play it out in overtime.”
Let me tell you a little something, John. I don’t know if you could see the graphics at the bottom of the screen, but there has never been an overtime game in the 36 years of Super Bowl history. And do you know why? BECAUSE IT’S THE SUPERBOWL! You have to let it all hang out, John, and I don’t mean your gut over your pants.
Brady and the Patriots risked an interception and threw the ball 53 yards in nine plays to gain enough yardage for a 48-yard field-goal attempt instead of running down the clock as Madden suggested from the commentators booth. They risked it, went for it all with the game on the line, and Adam Vinatieri kicked the field goal for the win with no time left.
The Rams were cautious and played for overtime. They had an opportunity to go for the win, to come from an 11-point deficit and win – something no team has ever done in the Super Bowl. They could have made history; instead they made reservations for a flight home. The Pats threw caution to the wind, or the ball over the artificial turf as it were, and won. They didn’t need their miracle. They didn’t need their third wish. All they needed was a chance.
So relax Pedro, Nomar, Paul and Antoine. Your time will come. There is still one miracle floating over Beantown up for grabs. As long as the Bruins don’t win the Stanley cup.