I've challenged Jeremy Fuchs, site editor for GiantsGab, a leading Giants blog, to a series of debates in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Jeremy is a longtime New York sports fan who is looking forward to the Giants raising the Lombardi trophy one more time against the Pats.
Today's topic: Which team has the best go-to guy in the clutch?
You could say Gronk, although I tend to shy away from players who are banged up. Besides, I like my players clean off the field.
You can say Hernandez, but he would be an option behind Gronk, not in front. Must suck to be a top tight end, and not even the best on your team.
You could say Welker, who certainly finds a way to get open. His general dour disposition would lead me, if I were a QB, to not make him happy with the ball. He rubs me the wrong way.
Deion Branch would have been an option 5 years ago. But this is not 5 years ago.
Julian Edelman, or little Welker, is nice, but he’ll be too gassed from playing defense. How is it possible that nearly every year, the Pats end up playing a wideout on defense? They can’t sign a corner? Is it that hard? The Giants lost their starting corner to injury during the offseason, and had numerous injuries to key backups. They only play 3 corners, and they’re fine. You don’t see Victor Cruz on D. Besides, Edelman is no Troy Brown.
On the Giants, there are many options. You could start with Mario Manningham, who has caught touchdowns in all 3 playoff games, and has a knack for big catches, dating back to his time at Michigan.
You could try Jake Ballard, who already has broken the hearts of Pats fans once. He’s proven, despite limited experience, that he’ll make big catches in big moments.
How about Victor Cruz, who can salsa his way all the way to the end zone. One of the biggest catches of the season was his 99 yard catch and run against the Jets in week 16. The Giants were struggling in that game, and that TD, on a third down on their own 1, sparked the Giants to a victory and they haven’t lost since.
But the guy who is clearly the most clutch is Hakeem Nicks. It was Nicks who caught the Hail Mary at the end of the 1st half against the Packers, which really helped to propel them to a victory against the 15-1 Pack.
Anyway you put it, the Giants are clearly more clutch. I’d trust any of the Giants targets over the Pats, who are old, injured, exhausted and just plain old mean. I like Eli and the boys to deliver in the clutch.
Obnoxious Boston Fan says: Guess I can gas up the Duck Boats. Hakeem Nicks? Now if we were talking about Stevie Nicks - especially from the "Rumors" years - I'd be with you. Jeremy might have to ask his dad about that one.
As Rick Pitino, who if nothing else gives us another reason to hate New York just for it being his hometown, would say: David Tyree is not walking through that door. Plax is not walking through that door. Not even Asante Samuel is not walking through that doot. Those three gave the Giants the majority of their clutch factor in Super Bowl XLII, even though Samuel was playing for the Patriots.
Tom Brady likes to say his favorite championship is "the next one." His favorite clutch go-to receiver is "the next one who is open." In this game, Brady has more offensive weapons than Seal Team Six.
All of the players Jeremy mentions above are bona fide targets for being New England's Mr. Clutch. Gronk might pull his own Paul Pierce-wheelchair/Willis Reed moment Sunday by just showing up and grabbing a couple of TD passes. And there's nothing wrong with Gronk spending some quality time with his favorite adult film star. Although I do have the need to smoke a cigarette after reading her Twitter feed.
Speaking of porno mustaches, Wes Welker is poised to emerge as an MVP Sunday. The Patriots "Slot Machine" will be the primary target as Brady eludes the Giants' pass rush by finding his home in along the edges and picking up those 9 and 10-yard completions on 3rd-and-6. Welker had 122 catches this season, tops in the NFL, and 26 on third down.
Deion Branch is the only one on the field Sunday who has caught a Super Bowl pass and already won a Super Bowl MVP award. That alone makes him a potential Mr. Clutch. And he will be walking through that door.
Aaron Hernandez emerged as the threat from the backfield at the start of the playoffs. The Giants will have to plan for him at both tight end and running back. Pierre-Pauland Tuck are top-notch defensive ends, but what do they do when Hernandez lines up on the outside and then shifts in motion to the backfield? Good luck with that.
Julian Edelman? OK, we'll concede that one. But let's not forget Frodo. Danny Woodhead is clutch every time he picks up yardage if for no other reason that his presence on the field continues to defy logic given his stature. He will grab and keep the ring this time. Finally, BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn't fumbled since college, touching the ball 562 times in his pro career without losing it once.
Who knows, maybe even Ochocinco might even stop Tweeting to catch a pass or two?
There is no one single Mr. Clutch on the Patriots. Thanks to the presence of Brady - who will solidify his Mr. February reputation with another Super Bowl win Sunday - the offense is full of players capable of making the big play. It's just a matter of timing.
We've been there for every single snap this season during our in-game fan chats. Don't miss our chat this Sunday during the Boston.com virtual tailgate. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends ... As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at email@example.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.
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