DAN: Pride Goeth Before the Upset
By Dan O'Donnell
Every player taken the field, every coach who has ever walked the sideline has also walked a fine line between confidence and arrogance, faith and hubris.
Confidence is predicting that your team wins. Arrogance is applying for a trademark on "19-0" before you actually finish 19-0. Faith is a retaliatory application for an "18-1" trademark. Hubris is an Amazon.com listing for a Boston Globe book entitled 19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots.
In the wake of New England's stunning loss, does it come as any surprise that the Patriots spent much of Super Bowl week planning their victory parade?
"They were inviting us to their parties after the game," Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "They showed us no respect."
No they didn't, and therein lies the fundamental reason for their demise. Not game-planning. Not Eli Manning. Not this unbelievable catch by David Tyree:
It was pride, pure and simple. Instead of locking himself in his hotel room with (legally obtained) film of the Giants' fearsome pass rush, Tom Brady was fielding comparisons with Joe Montana. Instead of making the necessary adjustments, Bill Belichick spent halftime preparing his postgame speech.
And in one final, prideful strut off the field, a defeated Belichick epitomized precisely what so many football fans hate about his team; its false sense of entitlement borne of a season's worth of "Greatest Team Ever" commentary.
From Tony Kornheiser proclaiming the Pats Super Bowl champions in the waning seconds of their improbable Monday Night Football win over Baltimore to six nauseating months of boasting from ESPN's "Sports Guy" Bill Simmons, prognosticators and Patriots alike forgot about one undeniable truth--you have to actually play the game before you win it.