Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday's Musings on Sports - Know Your Place Edition ... and somewhere Max is Smiling

Was it a catch 22? I guess it really depends on who wore that uniform number. All I know is that the Patriots and Giants played an incredible game which kept me riveted until the last play. And somewhere Max must be smiling...

As most of the civilized world knows, yesterday was the Super Bowl. I am not aware of the Nielsen numbers, but I recall seeing a news short that the viewership was close to an all time record. I can't speak to whether people tuned in to the game for the commercials or to watch the Giants and the Patriots, but no matter the reason that you watched, you were rewarded with an epic.

This post is dedicated to a few vital plays at the end of the game, but not the final play of the game which was essentially an up for grabs throw. When the Giants had the ball and were driving on the Patriots, they found themselves inside of field goal range with approximately three minutes left. The Giants would take the lead whether they scored a touchdown or a field goal. However, there was an equally important goal - don't give the ball back to the Patriots with enough time that Tom Brady could move them down the field and score.

During the Giants drive, there were two potentially "killer" mistakes that were made by Giants players. The first such play was a pass to Hakeem Nicks with a little more than a minute left to play. The Giants needed three yards for a first down. If the Giants made this play, they could run the clock down to twenty seconds and then kick a field goal -- leaving Tom Brady about fifteen seconds to march the Patriots back down the field. Although the pass to Nicks gained four yards (enough for a first down), he went out of bounds which stopped the clock and allowed the Patriots to save their time out.

Two plays later, Ahmad Bradshaw scored a touchdown, in one of the most controversial plays of the game. As avid fans are well aware (and I have seen done to the Jets by one Maurice Jones Drew in 2009) you don't want to score a touchdown too early, as the score allows the other team to get the ball back. For some unknown reason, the Giants coaches did not instruct Eli Manning in the huddle to tell Bradshaw to fall down at the one yard line. Instead (according to an interview with Bradshaw I heard this morning), Eli yelled at him while he was handing him the ball "don't score." Perhaps it took Bradshaw too long to process this information, because as he got to the two yard line it seemed that he wanted to stop, he was just unable to do so and his momentum carried him into the end zone, rear first.

As a result of the play, the Patriots got the ball back and had a last gasp chance to win the game with a touchdown. They were unable to do so and the evil Belichek and Brady combination was prevented from raising another Lombardi trophy. But depending on the deflection of the previously mentioned "up for grabs" (aka Hail Mary) throw, the Giants could easily have been the heartbroken team.

The ability to know one's place is equally important in real life. R' Mansour tells a story about a Rabbi in Czarist Russia who was arrested and charged with treason. After the "witnesses" presented their evidence, the judges began to speak to each other in French. During this conversation, the Rabbi left the courtroom. Incensed, the judges sent the bailiffs to seize the Rabbi and bring him back. The judges asked the Rabbi how he could leave when they were in the middle of judging him. The Rabbi responded - I heard that you were speaking French, and I assumed that was because you did not believe that I spoke this language. What you did not know is that I too speak French. Rather than give you a wrong impression, I left the room.

The judges asked the Rabbi where he learned this behavior. The Rabbi replied - from Parshas Bo, when Moshe abruptly left Pharaoh's court when he could see that the advisers wanted to discuss with Pharaoh the warning of the plague of Arbeh.

The judges were so impressed with the Rabbi that they let him go...

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1 comment:

Yaakov said...
another divar torah from the Super Bowl on my blog