If I were a sports journalist, here’s the column I would write about Super Bowl XLVI. I would focus on seven plays, most of which won’t appear in anyone’s headlines.
#1: On the Patriots’ first offensive play, their Hall-of-Fame-bound quarterback was penalized for intentional grounding. Since Tom Brady was in the end zone, the play resulted in a safety and two points for the Giants. Without those points, the Patriots would have needed only a field goal rather than a touchdown at the end of the game, changing their strategy and perhaps the outcome of the contest.
#2: Kevin Booth was penalized for holding near the end of the first half, killing a Giants drive. The Patriots received the ball and promptly tied the Super Bowl record for longest touchdown drive. As a result, they went into halftime up 10-9.
#3: Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn got the only turnover of the game, intercepting a Brady pass that would have resulted in a touchdown. He was let go by the Giants before the season began and was teaching school when the team called him back. Now he’s a Super Bowl hero.
#4: The Giants’ Chris Snee recovered a fumble on his team’s 11 yard line, preventing another Patriots score. Snee is the coach’s son-in-law.
#5: Wes Welker, who made more catches this season than anyone in football, dropped a pass in the fourth quarter that would have led to a certain score and likely won the game. Eli Manning got the ball back with 3:46 to go and drove his team to the go-ahead touchdown.
#6: At the end of the Giants’ final drive, Ahmad Bradshaw was told to fall down short of the goal line so the clock would continue to run. He failed to do so, scoring a touchdown but giving the Patriots the ball back with 57 seconds left and a time out.
#7: The Patriots’ Ron Gronkowski barely missed Brady’s Hail Mary pass in the end zone. If he had been able to dive for the ball a split second earlier, the Patriots would have won the game.
History turns on tiny hinges. Events that make no one’s newspaper can change the world. If we spend this day in our Father’s will, he will use our obedience long after Super Bowl XLVI is forgotten. We cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.