I was watching Rob Gronkowski, Gronk and the ground. Our Super Bowl ended with a Hail Mary; Tom Brady, down 21-17, firing it up from midfield. That was XLVI, and I was watching Gronk and just waiting for that ball to hit the ground because if the ball hits the ground we win. That's all I was looking for. There were about seven guys there in the end zone, five of them good guys in white jerseys. Gronk was right there, too, and if the ball hits the ground we win.
When it finally did, we just went nuts.
There are moments of that Super Bowl experience that I'll always remember. After we won, my wife Melody and my kids were trying to make it down to the field. My daughter, Grace, she was 6 or 7 months old, max, and I remember the panic in my wife's face trying to get through the crowds. It was chaotic, but it was a blast at the same time because everyone was so happy and they wanted to be a part of it. I remember my kids making snow angels in the confetti on the field and my mom and my dad being down there, taking a picture with the trophy.
I also remember seeing Tom when I ran by to go celebrate with our guys. His face, it was like somebody had punched him in the gut. I don't ever want to have the feeling of losing that game. It would be incredibly tough to get all the way there, with all of the time and work that everybody puts in to get there, and then lose. But Tom, this is his seventh shot at this thing and he has won four already, so I don't feel too bad for him.
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I remember my kids making snow angels in the confetti on the field and my mom and my dad being down there, taking a picture with the trophy.
It's just great. That's what you want it to be. It's pure elation.
It will be Atlanta or New England on Sunday, and I still think the Falcons have a great chance.
At this point in the week, you've already done an entire week of game prep, an entire week of practice at your facility. It's mostly just a repeat now, a clean up. The coaching staff will pare down the game plan to the stuff that looks good and the stuff they think will really be efficient and work. From a quarterback's standpoint you know what personnel group your coach is going to roll in there, and what plays go with that personnel group. You have a great feeling. But this is also where you start going back and cranking through some film.
There are only two days before the game, but there's still a long way to go. You start thinking, 'How can this team take away what we do?' If you're the Atlanta Falcons, if you're Kyle Shanahan or Matt Ryan, Julio Jones is the elephant in the room and you're trying to put yourself in a position to think along with the Patriots, 'What would Bill Belichick do to stop him?' You go back and watch teams that they've played with an Odell Beckham Jr. or an Antonio Brown. What did they do to try and take them away? You study that so as soon as you put Julio in the slot or outside, you know they'll line up one of two or three ways and you're on it.
That's what you do the last week, really. You start to chisel away and refine what you're going to be seeing on Sunday, because the game is going to be so incredibly fast and guys are going to move at an all-time high trying to win. You have to be there mentally.
The play that sticks out in my head there - and I know in the heads of Giants' fans, for sure - is the throw that Eli (Manning) made to Mario Manningham down the sideline on the game-winning drive.
That's a throw that we had run in practice for the past two weeks and Eli had never thrown it to Mario there. He had thrown it to Victor (Cruz) or Hakeem (Nicks) on the other side of the field. But he saw something though his film prep, just sitting up there the night before the game and watching a dozen or so Patriots' games.
Some people see the throw and they don't think what all goes into that - probably eight to 10 hours of prep went into making that one throw.
Eli thought the safety would be a little tighter, and if he ever was a little tighter on a vertical route down the sideline that we could get it in there versus Cover Two and he did. He made a tremendous throw and set up the game-winning touchdown - Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 6-yard run with 57 seconds to go.
Some people see the throw and they don't think what all goes into that - probably eight to 10 hours of prep went into making that one throw. If Eli watched one or two less hours of film or missed one rep or didn't have a great feel for that exact moment to be able to pull the trigger there then we don't win the Super Bowl. It's a ton of work. For the quarterbacks and the coordinators, it's a major cram session, like a high school or college final.
That's basically what you're trying to do. You're trying to get as much knowledge into your head that you can regurgitate on game day and then go make the plays.
Question of the week
From S. Martin: If you were the owner of the New England Patriots, would you continue to hold onto Jimmy Garappolo for the future or trade him for some nice picks to continue to win right now given Tom Brady's current age?
Honestly, the Patriots have always done things differently than the rest of the league and I think Bill Belichick is one of if not the greatest coach of all time. He's a pretty good decision maker as well from a general manager's standpoint. If you look around the league I think if you have a franchise quarterback you're set, and if you have a guy waiting in the wings like Aaron Rodgers waiting for Brett Favre to retire, I don't think that you trade him. I think they'll hang on to him. The hard part is going to be if Tom decides to play for two or three more years because the Patriots' system is set up for him to play when he's well over 40 years old. He doesn't have to escape the pocket much. He's mobile enough and he takes care of his body enough to where he can still move around. Inside the numbers, they throw the ball as well as anybody. A lot of teams are afraid to throw it inside the numbers. A lot of teams stay to the outside, stay away from the inside. They don't mess with it,. The guys on defense are too fast, defenses change too much. But not the Patriots. The Patriots are phenomenal at it.
That's the wild card. Is Tom going to play three, four, five more years? Who knows? He has shocked us all at this point anyway. It could be a situation where Jimmy Garappolo sits there for five or six years and that's unheard of in this day and age. Quarterbacks are asked to play right away. Derek started Game One. That's going to be the interesting factor - Tom's health. But I don't think that they're going to let Jimmy go. I think they would love to have him when Tom retires.
My question would be, will Bill still there? As much credit as we give Bill Belichick, when Tom Brady hangs it up, is Bill Belichick still going to want to coach the New England Patriots? I don't know. That's a great question, because Tom has been one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play. Bill is not 40 or 50 years old, he's 64. He would probably have to think hard about that - do you want to start with a new quarterback? But just looking at their situation, I think they keep Jimmy Garappolo right where he is.
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.
Everyone who posed a question to David this season is entered in a drawing – and the winner gets a personal appearance with David at a 2017 Fresno-area event. Watch The Bee next week to meet the winner.