Justin Lovell, Sports Editor
On February 3, 2008, the sports world was changed forever. Glendale, Arizona was the epicenter of the biggest event in sports history, Super Bowl XLII (42). Normally the Super Bowl is a huge spectacle, but this year was on a different level. The game was played between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. The Giants were the sixth seed in the NFC, sneaking into the playoffs with a 10-6 record and on the flip side, the Patriots were only the second undefeated team ever at 16-0. In the final week of the regular season, the Pats beat the Giants 38-35, so people expected the Giants to put up a fight in the Super Bowl but once again fall to the Pats.
As fans know though, that did not happen. The Giants were able to stop the mighty Pats offense and ended up winning the game 17-14 to steal the Super Bowl and hand the best team ever its only loss of the season. Yes I wrote that correctly, the 2007 Patriots, even with the loss, are the best football team ever, no doubt in my mind. That is why in this edition of “What If,” we look at what the NFL would have been like, had the Pats pulled off perfection.
Following the Super Bowl win, the Pats go down in the record books as the best team ever following their 19-0 season. The city of Boston also rejoices because in the time span of a year, the fans have now witnessed the Celtics, Red Sox and Pats all win their respective championships. On the flip side, the 1972 Dolphins shed a tear as they are now replaced as the best NFL team ever. As for the Patriots though, the pressure of repeating starts to mount as they move toward the new season. Fortunately for them being as they just came off a perfect season, this pressure is nothing new and the pursuit of perfection isn’t the main concern anymore, but repeating as champions is the focus.
As the 2008 season kicks off, the Pats are the favorites, but the Giants are right behind. Following their missed chance in the Super Bowl, the Giants play with a new attitude. The Pats play like the Pats. Though they do not finish the season undefeated again, they finish with a 14-2 record: best in the league. The Giants dominate the NFC to finish 13-3 and set up a Super Bowl rematch.
The Giants in Super Bowl 43 get revenge, as they are able to overcome the Pats this time, while also setting up this new NFL rivalry. For the Pats, the Super Bowl lose is disappointing and it is Tom Brady’s first loss in the big game, but they can always look at back at the 2007 season and know that they were perfect.
As they progress the next four seasons, to the 2012 season, neither team wins another championship. For the Pats, the pressure of living up to a perfect season is more than expected and for the Giants because they never went on their great run in 2007 to win the Super Bowl, they do not have the confidence to do it in 2011 as they actually did last season. Luckily for Pats fans though, the championship in 2007 and the perfect season are remembered and celebrated for all time, as no one can ever take that away from them.