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The Aftermath

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. (Sports Network) -- It's over. It's official. It's in the record books with records achieved better kept out of it... interceptions, punts, ineptitude. The Baltimore Ravens, with more talk than talent as a team, have earned the right to loft a single digit in the air and proclaim themselves kings of the turf in the NFL. Do they have one of the great defenses in football of today, yesterday and times of old? Probably. The greatest ever? Not for those of us who saw the Steel Curtain, the '85 Bears, DoomsDay, Purple People Eaters and others with names out of Star Wars.

Sour grapes are in order for Giants fans and pundits such as myself that thought the G-Men would not only make a game of it but would do what a few other teams had done to the minions of Poe. That was not to be the case on a warm night in Tampa.

Ray Lewis Super Bowl XXV-MVP Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a play against the New York Giants. But did he deserve to be named MVP?
Not only did Trent Dilfer do just enough to accomplish the task he was given, he actually went above and beyond. For him it meant a performance just slightly above poor. Once the mystery holding penalty returned what was an interception for a touchdown and gave the ball back to the Ravens, the game was really over. Everyone seeks a turning point in a contest. That was it. No doubt about it. Forget the inept coverage by CBS on this one; their inability to show, clearly, that there was no holding penalty. The referees could not be protected by the broadcasters from fans that were not standing with white canes, Seeing Eye dogs and obstructed views.

Be that as it may, Baltimore might have won regardless. It just would have turned the battle into a real game.

Neither Dilfer nor Kerry Collins will ever be confused with Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Roger Staubach, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw or Fran Tarkenton.

The boys from the city of stoops do not have an offense. Plain, pure and simple. One way or another, their defense wins games. There is no dynasty in the offing. Ray Lewis played well, exceptionally well, but he was not the MVP. That was media hype speaking, giving in to the hyperbole, exaggeration, stretching of the imagination and calumnious hypercorrection for taking him to task for two weeks. Thug to MVP in one easy leap. Hey, for a man that fancies himself Jesus Christ reincarnated how tough is that?

The score tells the story, 34-7. That cannot be erased. It looked like Little Big Horn replayed in Florida. But George Armstrong Custer was played by Kerry Collins, a man with as much right leading a Super Bowl team as Snoopy. Charlie Brown had more luck lining up that eternal kick than Collins had finding a receiver. The way he threw one would have thought he was passing for the wrong team. Had the game gone on longer he would have likely had more complete passes to the Ravens than Dilfer.

Rob Burnett and Kerry Collins Kerry Collins is sacked by Rob Burnett during the big game. Collins was sacked four times and also intercepted four times.
Not until Collins gets rid of that Mt. Rushmore, absence-of-passion, "Who me?" downright dumb and uncommunicative look that goes with a mind crying out for a total lobotomy, can the Giants continue to dominate the NFC East and, ultimately, the rest of the conference. Someone, perhaps Phil Simms, has to be hired to teach him what it means to throw the ball away when no one is open. To stop back pedaling 10-15 yards waiting to be sacked. To be able to look for two, maybe three, different receivers at the same time. To throw the ball when someone is in the clear and not covered like a blanket by half of the other team's secondary. To get some backbone and not slide into the turf with defenders 5-10 yards distant displaying a fear of getting hit that we have not seen since Woody Allen asked the Giants if he could work out with them one day, just for fun.

Maybe the coaching staff sees something in Collins that no one else does. If so, they are doing it with rose-colored glasses whose tint has worn thin. He was sacked four times because he was hesitant, not because he did not have the protection. He was sacked because he refused to throw the ball away. He was intercepted four times in five possessions. He handed the game, literally, to Baltimore. A defender just has to watch Collins and he sends more signals about where the ball is going than telegrams from Western Union.

It was, and is, a shame to see Brian Billick celebrate, he of the ego as large as Asia. Maybe that is something the Giants' quarterback can learn. Bury the fear and go with confidence and braggadocio. Be all that you can, and then some. Billick and Ray Lewis deserve each other. They were made for each other although their attitudes affront and exasperate everyone but those who root for Baltimore. They violate common sense, trespass upon humanity and good graces and do an injustice to reality.

But they won.

True enough. There is no arguing with that.

They won decidedly. That is certainly what the score reflects.

Maybe the Giants can play them again some day. Maybe the New Yorkers can find themselves someone besides Brad Daluiso, the man incapable of kicking the ball more than 30-35 yards and forever putting his team in more holes than professional gravediggers. You cannot succeed in a game when the opposition begins every possession at mid-field, particularly those after you have scored.

And, lastly, Jason Sehorn has to find a huge mirror and have a long, long look into it followed by less sex before the games begin.

Once all that is done the Giants can start planning for their next Division, Conference and Super Bowl title(s).

As for Baltimore and their claim of being the best defense ever? You gotta be kidding!