Perfect Patriots, Growing Giants Bound for the Superbowl

Bill Wolff spots the ball after a crazy weekend of conference championships in the NFL.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

So moving on to a little bit of football - we've talked about it on the show already.

We told you football fans considered yesterday a championship Sunday to be the best single day of football action all year, even better than the Super Bowl. There are two games instead of just one and the winner of each advances to the big dance: The Super Bowl in two weeks. Now, the first game kicked off at about 3:15 Eastern and the second didn't end until about 10:30 p.m., which is why I got literally about a 11-point detailed e-mail from my husband Bill Wolff with all the…

(Soundbite of laughter)

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

With all those bullet points…

STEWART: …BPP Monday morning quarterback explaining everything that happened to me. You were quite thorough, hon?

BILL WOLFF: Well, I think it's important just for people to know and I don't really think we should share it. It's been live for people. I know it's very interesting, but haven't seen each other in several days and we were on the telephone there as it was kind of coming to a close and I hung up on you in order to write the e-mail.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: We talked a little bit during…

WOLFF: No, no, honey. I'll just send it to you in an e-mail. That's kind of how that went.

STEWART: (Unintelligible) a little bit…

MARTIN: Very romantic.

STEWART: …during the day about the game and at one point, you said, oh, my gosh, there was a Tom Brady interception that may not mean anything in Sundance, but in living room land, this is huge. Tom Brady, of course, the Patriots' quarterback - although the Patriots did win.

WOLFF: Yes, they did. And Tom Brady, as everybody may know, is the so superhero heartthrob, uber-stud quarterback of the undefeated New England Patriots. And all year long in 16 games, he threw only eight interceptions, which is an amazing number. And yesterday in one game, he threw three. So Tom Brady, who normally is the reason that - the biggest reason that the Patriots win and they always win, was kind of mediocre yesterday, but that team is so good and so versatile and so tough and so competitive that it didn't matter, and they won by nine over San Diego, who was…

STEWART: From your note tells me they were so hurt.

WOLFF: They were so hurt, that's exactly right. They had…

STEWART: (Unintelligible).

WOLFF: …their star running back called LaDainian Tomlinson, who is just totally excellent, out of the game. Their start tight end, who's called Antonio Gates, was hobbled by a bad foot. And their quarterback, who's Philip Rivers, played with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, meaning for you or I, Alison, a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament would lead to about six months of not walking, so he just played a football game on it.

STEWART: Wow.

WOLFF: And they were just hobbled. And New England is truly excellent. They have a lot of good players beyond Tom Brady and just can't be beat seems like.

STEWART: All right. So later on, we talked to - it must have been in the afternoon, I was on a little shuttle bus headed back to Marriott and you were watching a game and you were trying to describe to me how cold it was where the Giants and Green Bay were playing.

WOLFF: Yeah. My dad used to say it's colder than a well digger's tush in the Klondike.

STEWART: You really think tush.

WOLFF: It was - you see the different word, but this is NPR. It was -4 Fahrenheit without the wind chill. It was about -25 with the wind chill. It was unbelievably cold in Green Bay. So cold that the field was sort of frosty even though there was no snow. It was so cold that the grass turned white (unintelligible).

STEWART: But I thought Green Bay did really well in the cold.

WOLFF: Well, that's their reputation. But, you know - and they didn't do exactly poorly, but I think that may be overblown a little bit. I think when it's that cold, it doesn't matter if you live there all year long. It's so cold that it alters everything. And, in fact, Green Bay - they were playing the New York Giants. They were a favorite. They were supposed to win by a touchdown or so Green Bay.

But when it's that cold, it's not really an athletic contest anymore. It's a contest of will. Who can remain focused on the task at hand when his face is burning off from cold, and that was the contest yesterday. And New York really outplayed Green Bay. It was a 23-20 game. It required overtime. They were tied at the end of 60 minutes of play. And I would say that New York was the better team all day long. And it was a little bit miraculous that Green Bay was actually in the game given that New York was outplaying them so badly.

STEWART: And yet two people who had redemption, Tom Coughlin and the player who I always say looks like the kid lost in aisle four, Eli Manning, gets to sit at the big boy table.

WOLFF: Who - doesn't he? It's unbelievable.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: I would say Eli Manning, I would say Tom Coughlin, and there's even a third that I'll tell you about in two seconds.

Yes, Eli Manning, very briefly, he was the first pick in the NFL Draft. He was thought to be - here comes Peyton Manning's brother is even better than Peyton. Everybody get your hands on Eli. The pick was owned by the San Diego Chargers. And he's - and Eli through his representative, said, I don't want to play in San Diego. If you pick me, I'm not going there. So he pulled a spoiled brat move before he was ever a pro and the Giants traded a bunch of stuff just to get him with the number one pick. And then as you like to say, Alison, he looks like he's lost on the grocery store. He looks like he doesn't want to be there. And so everyone in New York is very hard on Eli and talks some…

STEWART: You got about a minute.

WOLFF: …(unintelligible), but (unintelligible) as well. He was fantastic yesterday in the freezing cold. Tom Coughlin is the coach. And this time last year, everyone thought Tom Coughlin should be fired. The players don't listen to him. He's not very good, well, you know? Both Eli and Tom Coughlin are on the team and it seems as though they're going to the Super Bowl. And then the third guy who's the kicker. His name is Lawrence Tynes, and he tried to kick a field goal to win the game twice in the fourth quarter and missed both times. In the second time, he was heading back for the side line and the coach, Tom Coughlin, said, come on, in really angry - with a really angry face, and he did it right in front of the TV cameras. So everybody got to see this guy's boss just chew him out for screwing it up. So in the overtime, he came on to kick a longer field goal to win the game.

STEWART: Oh.

WOLFF: And what did he do? He hit it. He was redeemed, Alison - redeemed.

STEWART: Bill Wolff. BPP…

WOLFF: Never give up, Alison.

STEWART: …Monday morning quarterback. Hey, can we publish your notes on our blog? Just e-mail us where…

WOLFF: Never give up. And you can absolutely publish my notes, although there is one statistical error. But I can correct it and resend it to you.

STEWART: Thanks, Bill.

You're listening to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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