Monday, February 04, 2008

Redemption for Dr. Z

Paul Zimmerman, aka Dr. Z, is one of the better football analysts in the media -- he understands the game better than the layman and better than most multi-decade beat writers.  Almost forty years ago he came thisclose to picking the Jets to beat the Colts in Super Bowl III.  At the time, Zimmerman was the Jets beat writer for the NY Post and wondered exactly why the Colts should be able to stop the Jets even though they ran the same soft defenses that Joe Namath had riddled throughout the Jets' AFL title-winning season.  Z came up short -- he picked the Jets to cover the spread, but lose.

On Tuesday January 22, 2008, Zimmerman threw caution to the wind and picked the Giants to beat the seemingly unbeatable Patriots.  The Monk avoided reading the article until today.  In January 2001, I read every prediction and every column on the Super Bowl and saw no reason the Giants should not be able to beat the Ravens.  So much for that.  

With the Giants in the Super Bowl this year, facing what would become the best team to lose a Super Bowl, The Monk only read basic articles.  No prediction columns (who in their right mind would pick the Giants?), no uber-analysis (it all said the same thing, Pats receivers v. Giants secondary, could the Giants' D-Line get pressure on Brady by beating the Pats' indomitable O-Line, the key to the game was the Giants' ability to run against the Pats' front seven, etc.).  No, the Pats had not impressed anyone by scratching past a depleted Chargers team in Foxboro two weeks ago; and no, the Pats had not exactly routed the Jags, even with Brady's ridiculous 26-28 passing game.  But seriously, The Monk wanted the G-Men to have a chance to win at the end - I thought that was all I could hope for.

So kudos to Dr. Z, who noted correctly that the Giants were the only team to shut down Lawrence Maroney recently (4 100-yard performances in his last five games), the Giants had enough talent to bang heads with the Pats in the trenches, and the Giants' grit that carried them to 10 straight road wins could carry them past the latest applicant for the moniker "best team ever."

Not bad as redemption goes.

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