January 31, 2008
Don't underrate the underdog
By JODY VANCE -- Sun Media
Defend. Defend. Defend.
Boy, oh boy, do folks ever attack when one suggests a Super Bowl upset this Sunday. It's fascinating the level of unpopularity reached when I answer the question, "Who's your pick to win?"
When the Pats and the Giants meet in Arizona I will be in the minority, pulling for the Giants to beat those almost-perfect Pats.
And the barrage of pre-game questions is unavoidable.
Q: How can you NOT want to see a perfect season?
A: Perfection is over-rated.
Q: How can you root against Tom Brady, the best quarterback ever to play the game?
A: Brady-shmady. Give me the underdog Eli Manning for the win.
Manning is a survivor and the momentum of his team is to be applauded, given the pressure he has endured. Imagine just how tough it is to walk in the shadow of a Super Bowl Champion quarterback for a brother?
Most had written off the G-men and "the Manning who couldn't" when the team started the season 0-2.
New York fans are anything but patient, and were out for blood early.
Manning endured being insulted by a recently retired former teammate. Now a correspondent with The Today Show, Tiki Barber called out Manning questioning his leadership skills.
Methinks Tiki might be eating a little crow -- not to mention having a little trouble landing a Giants interview as he covers the big game festivities in Arizona.
I like the Giants because through all of their adversity, there were no excuses and no finger pointing, not even a hint of blame cast by anyone.
Instead, the team opted to silence all critics with its play. And play they did: Most wins were come-from-behind victories.
That winning continued right through the NFC championship on the frozen tundra that is Lambeau Field.
Who saw Manning beating Brett Favre? Not me. And I was pulling for the Packers.
What makes a team of destiny? Perfection or determination?
I choose the latter.
-- Jody Vance is a longtime sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.