A "Perfect" Night
What a night.
There are plenty of times I can recall going into something with high expectations and having the experience fall short.
Tonight however not only met expectations but far exceeded them.
As mentioned earlier, the adventure to Giants Stadium began at 2:30 in the afternoon when we left.
Paul and I went to go pick up Ian down the block, and traveled into the city to pick up Paul’s brother Louis.
The 4 of us arrived at the stadium around 3:30, which for those of you keeping track means we had almost 5 full hours of time to kill in the parking lot.
After throwing around the football for a little while, the food came out and the grill was prepared to make dinner.
Chips of all kinds, salsa, pita and hummus, peanuts, drinks, shrimp cocktail- plenty to go around.
The steaks were marinated for 3 days in italian dressing and was absolutely out of this world.
The best part of tailgating at football games is that before the game begins, there is so much fun to be had in the simplicity of eating, sitting around and talking, which is exactly what we did.
There were 10 of us in all before the game just hanging out, bullshitting about the game and this and that. Sounds boring, but combined with 55 degree weather on December 29th, its tough to beat.
Finally 7:30 rolls around and its time to go inside, so Ian and I make our way upstairs to our seats up in the boondocks.
Much to my surprise, not only were the seats terrific, but the Patriots owners box was directly above us, giving us a great view of Robert Kraft (Pats owner). After initially waving and staring in awe, it wasn’t long before middle fingers were being thrown his way.
It was our way of welcoming him.
The game itself was as entertaining as any I have ever been to, as the 15-0 Patriots went up against the 10-5 Giants, who had already locked up a playoff spot with a win last week in Buffalo.
And after coming off a very ugly performance, nobody knew for sure how the Giants would show up against the NFL’s best team.
But the Giants answered the bell, and came out punching, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive.
In fact the Giants offense, led by (Sh)Eli Manning was very potent putting up 35 points (including 4 Manning TD passes) against a fierce Patriots defense.
The defense also looked strong in the first half, playing a bend-but-don’t-break style holding the Pats to field-goals on three of their four first half possessions.
The Giants led at half 21-16, and opened up a 28-16 lead in the third quarter, giving their fans plenty of hope that 16-0 would be nothing more than a pipe-dream.
However like the great teams always seem to do, the Pats responded with 22 consecutive points highlighted by a Tom Brady bomb to Randy Moss for a 65 yard TD which put the pats up 31-28.
I went into the game feeling neutral and simply wanting to get my money’s worth, however just prior to going in the stadium my New England hatred surfaced and I put on my giants fan face and got really into the game, really hoping for the upset.
The best part was I had nothing to lose because when indeed the Patriots did hold off the late Giants rally, securing the first ever 16-0 perfect season in NFL history, I was very content realizing how historically significant an event it was, while also being able to appreciate how great an athlete Tom Brady is.
And truth be told, the game was fun. It was high scoring, featured some big plays such as the kickoff return for a TD by Dominick Hixon- who happens to be the former Denver Bronco that on opening day collided with Bills Tight End Kevin Everett, nearly paralyzing him. Safe to say his season ended far better than it started.
The game was everything I probably could have asked for, and while I would have loved seeing the Patriots stumble at the finish line in their quest for a perfect season, the great tailgate before combined with a really great game made the night, well, perfect.
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