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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Team Of Destiny?

You see how much I rip ESPN and the media in general, so you know I'm not a big fan of hyperbole and cliche.

But after Sunday's Super Bowl, I can't help but think of the New York Giants as one of those -- gulp -- teams of destiny.

Even after allowing 80 points in opening the season 0-2, even when trailing after three quarters of the third game, even with a befuddled-looking quarterback through much of the first 10 or 12 games of the season, you seldom heard about any finger pointing or interdepartmental friction among the New York Giants.

In this city, if there's a whiff of something similar to something that's synonymous with a word that might somehow resemble dissent, everybody knows about it. You have the controversy-seeking sports media to thank for that. It's not just your local Tasti D-Lite where you can find ice cream up here; scribes turn over garbage cans in back alleys looking for a scoop.

Teams of destiny are often surprises, and the Giants were one of them this year. The Yankees aren't often teams of destiny because every year they don't win a championship is considered a failure here. The Red Sox were one in 2004. North Carolina State and Villanova were in the 1980s. No matter how much bigger and better their next opponent seemed to be on paper, the game was still played and the team that maybe had more heart or focus won. Keeping things east coast, you might say the Rangers were a team of destiny when they won the Stanley Cup in 1994. And keeping things on ice, perhaps the biggest example of divine intervention in sports was Team USA in 1980.

I even think my hometown Cleveland Indians were a team of destiny in 1995. Though they didn't win the World Series, they reached that coveted final round for the first time in forever, giving still title-starved sports fans in that great city something to cheer about all summer long. When they weren't putting up double figures on the scoreboard, they were mounting ninth-inning comebacks. There really was some divine intervention on the lake that year.

Eli Manning certainly deserves to hoist that trophy all week long, but what often happens to hot goalies who lead their overachieving NHL teams to a deep postseason run will likely befall him and his loveable Giants. Reality will set in the following season, and suddenly that laser focus that earned them 11 straight road wins isn't nearly sharp enough to mount another championship season.

ESPN KUDOS: I watched the Ohio State-Michigan basketball game Tuesday night, and here's where ESPN's sports machine makes a difference: Its sideline photographer at Columbus' Value City Arena saw some geeky student flash an impromptu 8x11 piece of paper with "TERRELLE PRYOR, PLEASE COME TO OHIO STATE," a message to the highly coveted next Vince Young iteration, a high school star who's narrowed his choices to Ohio State and Michigan, a senior quarterback who might announce Wednesday where he'll play his college ball next fall. It's not the job of that photographer to know who Pryor is, but regardless of the position you're applying for, you'd better know your sports if you want a job at ESPN. He said something to a producer, who told announcers Brent Musberger and Steve Lavin they were going to show that sign, and the duo spent a minute or two talking about Pryor, adding to a stellar broadcast. That's one of the things for which I'll give ESPN credit.

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At 9:52 AM EST, Anonymous Cooper Vest said...

Will he help them finally beat a SEC team?


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