After reviewing the play...
Best plays of the Division Championship:
- When Tedy Bruschi takes out Dominic Rhodes and just up and tears the ball out of his hands. It's beautifully showcased on the DVD film, also--first with a beautiful foreshadowing shot of Bruschi behind the line, then a regular in-game version, then a field level full-speed replay that gets across just how devastating the hit by Bruschi was (the expression "like a fucking overloaded freight train" comes to mind), with sound so you hear the howls of consternation from Rhodes as Bruschi strips him of the ball. Watching this play makes me feel like the kid from "Real Ultimate Power".
- When Mike Vrabel puts Dallas Clark directly onto his ass in the Colts' drive to a field goal. As painstakingly illustrated complete with on-screen diagrams and slow-motion replays on the DVD, Clark ran a crossing route. Unfortunately he did this right in front of Mike Vrabel within the five yards in which Mike Vrabel is allowed to hit him. And hit him he did...how can I describe how Vrabel hit Clark? Well, with his forearm, for one thing. He just clotheslined the guy with one forearm, and never even looked down at him--just stood over him, preventing him from getting up, while keeping an eye on the quarterback. Clark, meanwhile, was the primary receiver on this Colts play. Manning proceeded to throw a near-pick to Eugene Wilson in the end zone while aiming, presumably, for someone else.
Watching this play made me think, "so the other teams in the NFL let you get away with that shit, huh?" Like, another team just lets Dallas Clark run across the middle? Another linebacker just stands there and watches him run by? I mean...running that play is practically an insult to Vrabel. Another reason watching him drill Dallas Clark fills me with a warm, fuzzy glow.
Best plays of the AFC Championship:
- Adam Vinatieri's record-setting 48 yard field goal in one of the coldest games ever played at Heinz Field.
- Ball tipped by Asante Samuel and caught before it hit the ground by Eugene Wilson.
- Rodney Harrison's walk into the end zone following his interception while Mike Vrabel lays out Ben Roethlisberger.
- David Givens waving at a Steelers defender as he runs into the end zone.
- By far the best play of the game, and among the very best of the Patriots' dynasty era--Brady's 60 yard bomb to Deion Branch after faking Troy Polamalu out of his jock by eyeing David Givens running a crossing route under Deion Branch and then throwing without looking 60 yards for the longest pass play in Patriots postseason history and hitting Deion Branch in stride.
Best plays of the Super Bowl:
- Corey Dillon's magical block on the Patriots' very first play from scrimmage. Encapsulates several of my favorite things about the Patriots: attention to detail, willingness to play a role (a power back like Dillon might easily consider blocking beneath him), and the way Tommy just seems to float among the raindrops througout these games, standing back calmly, sure his teammates have his back--and he turns out to be right.
- Deion Branch's catch right through the hands of a safety. I still have no idea how he did that.
- Other than the bone-crushing hit by Richard Seymour many felt took Donovan McNabb out of the game for good, there kind of wasn't another one. I saw many of the plays of the first half for the first time while watching this DVD, as during the original event I was flipping out so much in the first half that I had to leave the room. Watching this Super Bowl was almost as hard the second time, even though I know what happens. I found myself still getting frustrated and hollering at the TV. And to be honest, I still couldn't tell you why the Patriots won. The Eagles' lack of clock management in the second half is probably the most direct reason for their loss, but its origins will probably forever remain a mystery.
- Terrell Owens is an asshole and on the wrong team in this footage, but watching that guy run is breathtaking. He's so gifted, he jumps off the screen. Never mind the fact that he was playing with a bum leg.
- Also Tedy Bruschi playing with his sons. Holy God, I almost can't stand it.
You're in the movies now, and I'm in your cartoon
Best "All Access" moment of the Division Championship: Getting to watch the Patriots practice, especially getting to clearly hear Tommy call signals, which he does in a very strange exaggeratedly low voice, like someone giving commands to sled dogs or oxen or something. Also, particularly, a play where Givens runs across the back of the end zone and Brady, dodging "defenders" (who come at him but, as per practice etiquette, don't hit him), keeps jerking the thumb of his non-throwing hand to his left, telling Givens to get over. After the play, he says to givens, "Hey. Remember I got you. Just go."
Best "All Access" moment of the AFC Championship: When the Patriots have to practice inside a hotel ballroom, not just because of the humor inherent in this, but because of Corey Dillon's subtle mugging during the walk-throughs. This DVD shows he's actually a pretty funny guy in a very, VERY quiet way.
Best "All Access" moment of the Super Bowl: Tommy asleep on the plane.
Matt Light and Lonie Paxton discussing the fans at the sendoff at Gillette--"they're nuts. Completely nuts..."
Voice of Victory
Best commentary of the Division Championship: "Here to bring you the play by play of today's ballgame, the longtime voice of the New England Patriots, Gilberto Antonio dos Sant, better known as Gil Santos."
"Thank you very much, Eugenio Raimondo Michielli Capilletti..."
Best commentary of the AFC Championship: Classic NFL films commentary, here: "By the end of the first quarter, the Patriots were just beginning to heat up [dramatic pause]; it wouldn't be long before Brady's fever [dramatic pause] would make the Steelers sweat."
The part where James Farrior finally shuts up.
Best commentary of the Super Bowl: Full commentary track on the Super Bowl by Ted Johnson, Rosie Colvin, and Matt Light. Too many hilarious quips by Matt Light to keep track of all of them. Some of the best:
As the Eagles jump around in a "mosh pit" on the field: "We always try to emphasize the fact that you want to get rid of all your energy before the game is played, and if you can, try to do that at least an hour and a half before the game is played."
Discussing pacing yourself before the game: "It's like you're watching Braveheart and all those guys are coming, 'Hoooold..."
Ted Johnson and Matt Light together: "Hoooold....HOOOOLLLLD..."
On his false start penalty in the first quarter: I tell you what's really frustrating, is if you put all this preparation and energy into preparing for a game like this, and then ten of the eleven guys you're playing with just aren't ready to go."
Matt Light officially wins Patriot I Most Want to Have a Beer With. Guy's hilarious.
"That's what we do. We don't talk. We play."
Best player quote of the Division Championship: "Hey. We play. That's what we do. We don't talk. We play. You come to Foxboro, it's gonna be snowin', it's gonna be cold. Come on in here! You wanna say all you want? You wanna change the rules? Change 'em! We still play, and we win. That's what we do."
It's not so much the words that Tedy Bruschi says as the way he says them, in a flood, as if he's been dying to get them out for weeks, which he probably has. The attitude--especially between "Hey." and "We play." Chin thrust out, arms-open gesture, somehow remensicent of Al Pacino in Scarface.
It is not possible for me to love Tedy more. I have come to this conclusion after watching this DVD.
Best player quote of the AFC Championship:"Where's your towel? Where's your towel?" --Deion Branch to Steelers fans
Best player quote of the Super Bowl: "We'll try not to bore you out there," Tommy to the Eagles captains during the coin toss.