Congratulations to Danny Ware, Kawika Mitchell, and the rest of the New York Giants.
The college football blogosphere will no doubt be inundated over the next few days with opinions about what this improbable outcome means for a college football playoff. Did the 10-6 Giants even belong in a championship game with an undefeated Patriots team? Is it inevitable that a college football playoff would put a 7-5 conference champ in the position to win a few games and end up playing for all the marbles? Is the winner of a playoff really the best team?
Other than the fact that I’m a Giants fan, I don’t have a problem with the outcome, and here’ why:
- The Patriots, Cowboys, and Packers had every chance to win the title. None of the top teams in the league were denied access to the process, and for that reason any debate about the league’s champion ended when Eli Manning took a knee.
- If we accept a playoff, we have to accept the “any given Sunday” risks that come when you actually play the games and let the process play out on the field. Sports doesn’t follow the scripts, the oddsmakers, or the computers. An outcome that seems less-than-optimal isn’t an indictment of the process.
- Beating four increasingly-difficult opponents over a month’s time isn’t to be dismissed as merely “getting hot at the right time”. You have to sustain a pretty high level of play over a significant length of time. In the case of the Giants, that had to be done completely on the road.
On its own, this was an incredible game, and a thrilling finish. The Manning-to-Tyree pass will take its place among the pantheon of legendary NFL plays, and Eli Manning finally has a legacy of his own.