Imagine, if you will, that you’re watching “The Wizard of Oz”. Sure, you’ve seen it a hundred times, but you take comfort in its familiarity. You’re not scared of the witch, or of those flying monkeys. You know how it will end.
But suddenly, you realize something has gone horribly wrong. Those flying monkeys make short work of the Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow. Dorothy dies in the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West, who in turn kicks Glenda the Good Witch’s ass in a winner take all mud wrestling match and takes over the Emerald City. You say to yourself, “this isn’t right; that’s not how it ends.”
Or perhaps you’ve put in a DVD of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. You wait for the dramatic moment when George Bailey jumps off the bridge to save Clarence the Angel, but instead George trips off the bridge and breaks his neck. Clarence doesn’t get his wings. Bedford Falls changes its name to Potterville. You say to yourself, “what the hell is going on here?”
Watching the Super Bowl was like watching an old movie that you’ve seen dozens of times, and yet the end has somehow been horribly, perversely changed. We’ve seen it happen so many times before, we just took it for granted. Tom Brady hit Randy Moss for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:35 left to play. Game over. Another Super Bowl victory for Tom Terrific. Right?
Not this time. This time, Professor Moriarty beat Sherlock Holmes. Snow White never woke up. The glass slipper fit the ugly step-sister’s foot. The familiar story suddenly had a twisted, perverse ending.
In a strange twist of fate, the New York Giants did to the Patriots exactly what the Patriots did to the St. Louis Rams back in January 2002. They came away with an upset victory in a game that almost everyone felt they had less chance of winning than of Britney Spears winning the Mother of the Year award.
Bottom line: it was a good old fashioned ass-whupping. Tom Brady spent seemingly more time on his back than on his feet. His offensive line crumbled like the Iraqi Imperial Guard. The Giants stopped what was considered possibly the greatest offensive team in history.
And even at the end, it seemed as though the Brady Bunch would pull off one more miracle. After all, our own Boy Wonder had the ball with 35 seconds left, and three time outs, an eternity by football standards. I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I thought for sure that Randy Moss would haul in one of those Hail Mary passes for the winning touchdown as the clock ran out. After all, that’s how this story always ends.
Not this time. This time, Elmer Fudd bagged Bugs Bunny. The Coyote ate the Road Runner. Luke Skywalker went over to the Dark Side and the Empire reigned supreme. The Patriots lost the Super Bowl.