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Boston teams played well over 300 games (the actual math would take way too long to calculate) during the 2008 calendar year, and the Sports of Boston staff was asked to choose the Game of the Year. Many chose games in which Boston teams were victorious (which happened a lot in 2008), but the clear choice for SoB’s Game of the Year was a game in which the hometown team lost: Super Bowl XLII.
In case you erased it from your memory, the game featured the mighty New England Patriots at 18-0, against the underdog New York Giants. The Giants emerged victorious, 17-14, despite facing the greatest offense of all-time and the only team to ever enter the Super Bowl with a spotless record.
So what happened that made the game so great? Down 10-7 late in the fourth quarter, NFL MVP Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field, and hit record-setting WR Randy Moss with a late touchdown (2:42 remaining) to give the Patriots the lead and what many thought was the completion of the perfect season. Not so fast.
The Patriots scored more than 30 points in 13 of the 16 regular season games, but only could muster 14 when it counted. It’s not that the Patriots offense was bad; it’s that the Giants defense was that much better. They featured a ferocious front-seven that barely gave Brady time to throw anywhere on the field. Despite that, the Patriots still held a lead with less than three minutes to go.
The Giants nearly lost the game a couple times on the final drive. Asante Samuel missed catching an interception on the sidelines on second down with less than two minutes to go. On the next play, Eli Manning narrowly escaped a sack on third-and-5 at the Giants 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining, and hit unknown WR David Tyree for a ridiculous 32-yard catch deep into Patriots territory. With 35 seconds remaining, Manning hit WR Plaxico Burress for the go-ahead touchdown. Game, set, and match.
SoB’s Jeff, who voted for the Super Bowl, offers his perspective:
Unfortunately I have to say the Super Bowl. Any time two touchdowns are scored in the last couple minutes to decide the game and you see a chance for an undefeated season, it doesn’t get much better than that. Behind that is the NBA title clincher/dismantling of the Lakers, showed just how far the team had come.
SoB’s Mike thinks differently:
The Celtics clinched Banner No. 17 in absolutely dominating fashion. The Lakers looked completely disinterested in winning two games in Boston and Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and the rest showed no mercy and all heart in leaving no doubt this was no fluke.
Stay tuned New Year’s Day for the SoB Story of the Year. Happy New Year!