A perfect evening
Patriots, Giants end regular season on a high note
Posted: Monday December 31, 2007 1:40AM; Updated: Tuesday January 1, 2008 11:04AM
Sunday night, clock ticking down on the Browns' dream season, reality setting in at the Braylon Edwards home on the west side of Cleveland, and the last story of the 2007 regular season is written. Tennessee's in. Cleveland's out in Sixth-seed-ville.
"I've been sitting here in agony,'' Edwards said, watching Andrea Kremer interview Kerry Collins, one of the heroes of the Tennessee playoff bid. "But it's our fault. We played horrible in Cincinnati last week [losing 19-14] when our fate was in our hands. We didn't take care of business, and so now we have to suffer because of it.''
Ten-and-six, though. Not bad. Pretty great, in fact, for a Cleveland team no one expected to even sniff .500 this year.
"This is just the beginning,'' Edwards said. "We'll be back.''
In 20 cities, that's what players were saying and fans were thinking as the clock struck 12 this morning. But for a dozen teams, hope lives. And hope thrived at the Meadowlands Saturday night for two of those teams.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- I am a neophyte at the TV game, really, and I never got any tips on how to kill time when the camera's not quite ready and the athlete is pressed for time. What I usually do is what I've seen the all-time greats do -- make small talk about absolutely nothing, or tell the guy how he's the savior of the universe and how wonderful he is at everything he does.
I didn't have to do that with Tom Brady while the NBC camera prepped for us Saturday around midnight, in front of a couple of vacated lockers in the winning locker room after the Patriots survived the Giants 38-35. The first thing he did is tell me how wrong I was about No Country for Old Men, a movie I loved and he didn't. ("What was the point?!'' he said. I said, "Hey, the good guy doesn't always win. It can't always be a happy ending.'') But then we had 30, 45 seconds, and before I could think of anything to say, he looked at me, with joy in his wide eyes, and started to giggle.
"Man, it's great,'' he said, and that's all he said. Then he just stood there, and I didn't say anything, and he didn't have to say anything.
Two things were great on Saturday night: The Patriots, and the game. I admire this team. I loved this game.
If you like football, everything about it made you smile, starting with the decision by Roger Goodell to flood the game into every TV home in America. I ran into Goodell before the game and expressed this opinion: When I first heard the news that the league was going to simulcast the game on NBC and CBS in addition to NFL Network because the channel has such poor distribution, I thought Goodell was waffling. Six weeks earlier, he'd been adamant that NFL Network would be the only carrier of the game. He changed because he didn't want only a quarter of America's TV homes to have a game of this magnitude in their living rooms. After getting some sense talked into me by a confidant last Thursday, I realized fans of the game didn't give a darn if Goodell was waffling. They just cared about watching the game without having to go to a sports bar. "I don't care about that stuff,'' he said on the field at Giants Stadium before the game, while signing some autographs for fans in the west end zone. "I just cared that everyone who wanted to watch such a big game could.'' That was right decision number one.