The story: an underdog team led by an unproven quarterback plays stifling defense on the odds-on favorite team with a dominant offense, ends up winning by 3 points on a last second play, creating one of the biggest upsets in Superbowl history.
If you think I’m describing today’s game in which the Giants upset the Patriots, you are wrong. Because I’m really talking about Superbowl XXXVI, in which Tom Brady, then an unproven commodity, led the New England Patriots, a 14 point underdog, to victory by defeating the St. Louis Rams.
But before I go on, let me just say: it’s about to get HISTORICAL up in there.
The similarities are uncanny. The Rams came into the Superbowl as the most dominant offensive team in the league, being first in total scoring and yardage, having racked up over 500 points during the regular season. They had offensive weapons in every position: Kurt Warner was named league MVP, they had Issac Bruce and Torry holt as receivers, Marshall Faulk in the running game and was named the league offensive player of the year. Their offense was called “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The Rams’ defense ranked 3rd in the league.
Sound familiar? That’s because the 2001 Rams were remarkably like the 2007 Patriots: a team that dominated both offensively and defensively, had weapons at every position in the offense, led by a league MVP at quarterback, and considered the odds-on favorite to win against the underdog.
I couldn’t help but remember, after watching today’s game, the similar historical forces at work. It is positively Hegelian. It is as if the Geist of professional football decided that it’s time to get dialetical and to bring about an event of historical significance: the nearly perfectly symmetrical rise and fall of the New England Patriots. To top it all off, the “Spygate” incident that marked the beginning of the Patriot’s 2007 season also came to haunt them at the end of their season, an allegation that said the Patriots also videotaped the Rams in 2001.
Coincidence? So says everyone. But I suspect that there is some deeper, world-historical force at work here: the Spirit of Professional Football seeking its own self-actualization and self-awareness, using the Patriots as its instruments. Just as Geist used Tom Brady in 2001 as its instrument, so did Geist use Eli Manning as its instrument in completing this historical occurrence.
What does this mean? It means that World-History has passed the New England Patriots: they will no longer be dominant, for their role in world-history has been passed onto someone else. They were instruments of world-history for a while, but Geist is always moving.
(and yes, this is all a joke, don’t take it seriously, I’m sure Hegel is rolling in his grave right now)