Why I owe an apology to these Giants among men
After a refreshing break split between Valencia (a balmy 20 degrees) and County Antrim (snowy picture postcard scenes by the light of the silvery moon) I m in the mood for setting things straight. Which is good, because I owe an apology to some very large
After a refreshing break split between Valencia (a balmy 20 degrees) and County Antrim (snowy picture postcard scenes by the light of the silvery moon) I'm in the mood for setting things straight. Which is good, because I owe an apology to some very large men.
In Monday's wee wee hours the New York Giants American football team won the sport's most coveted prize, the Superbowl.
Almost everyone connected with the game was shocked by an outcome which saw the Giants triumph in truly heroic fashion, scoring the winning points against the previously unbeatable New England Patriots with less than a minute remaining (though a minute is a long time in American football).
The build-up to the decisive moment contained a sequence that must rank as among the most remarkable in the history of televised sport. Eli Manning, the enigmatic Giants quarterback, wriggled free from the clutches of no fewer than three opponents with a combined weight of about 60 stones.
Somehow staying on his feet, he managed to hurl an Exocet of a pass with stunning precision. The catch was made by a gravity-defying team mate who somehow held on to a ball he couldn't see, grasping to it for dear life to the back of his helmet with his little finger while falling to the ground on the back of the Patriot who had tackled him in mid air. Simply Stunning.
So why do I owe the Giants an apology?
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I'll admit I'm no expert where this sport is concerned but after seeing the Giants scrape a shambolic victory over Miami Dolphins at Wembley in October, I had considered myself enough of an authority to consign them to the dustbin of sporting mediocrity.
In this very column I chided their miserable contribution to 'probably the worst [game] ever played between two professional teams in the history of the sport'.
To anyone who would listen I announced that both teams could henceforth be excluded from even the wildest speculation about the destiny of the big Superbowl prize. Just shows how wrong you can be when you don't really know what you're talking about.
If I'm permitted a quibble about the sport after so disastrous a prediction, it is that following the game, the Giants were routinely referred to as 'the new world champions'. Even at four in the morning I winced because correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there more to the world than 50 American states?
As no team outside the USA can compete for the Superbowl, how can the winners be referred to as world champions?
The thinking is that if you can win the Superbowl, you can beat any team, anywhere. But if we applied this logic to all sports, there would be no point in anyone other than Brazil turning up for football's World Cup when it is held there in 2014. Foinavon would never have won the Grand National, Michael Schumacher in his prime would have had no-one to race against and I would never play my good friend Katie Masters at Scrabble, ever again.
But in addition to taking over the world economy and winning all the medals at the next Olympics, what if China took it upon itself to cultivate the greatest team the world had ever seen? Would that result in a genuine world cup final taking place?
Perhaps not. Even if the Chinese did build an American football superteam, just for the hell of it, something tells me it would be a very long time before the Shandong Dragons would ever get the chance to take the Superbowl crown away from New York's Giants, or any other winners of the sport's glittering prize.