the sports section

We Cannot Thank Eli Manning Enough

We’re still thinking of you, Eli.Photo: Getty Images

God knows Eli Manning and the Giants have already done enough for us this year. An improbable underdog playoff run? Sweet. An incredible comeback Super Bowl victory over the most dominant team in football? Awesome. Playing spoiler to the first undefeated NFL season since the Dolphins? A nice bonus. But that 17-14 last-minute win over the Patriots is the gift that keeps on giving, especially during the NBA playoffs.

Consider this: The Celtics pulled out their own improbable comeback to beat the Lakers last night, giving them what is very likely an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals (no basketball team has ever come back from such a deficit in the championship round). We’re actually happy about this in itself — at the very least, we hope it means we won’t be hearing any more comparisons between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. But if not for the Giants, the city of Boston would be closing in on an unprecedented three-sport three-peat, with the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics reigning as champions of baseball, football, and basketball simultaneously.

Having to read Bill Simmons’s columns about how nice Boston is these days is bad enough; one can only imagine the Boston media saturation that would be going on right now if the Patriots had won — soft-focus ESPN features on the glories of the city, Times editorials on what New York sports franchises can learn from the geniuses up I-95. And oh God, let’s not even talk about the fans. In short, we were just one David Tyree catch away from an intolerable summer. So while this week may be about basketball and the Celtics, we’re thinking football and the Giants. Thank you, David. Thank you, Eli. Thank you, Giants. You have no idea the misery from which you’ve saved us all. —Ben Williams

We Cannot Thank Eli Manning Enough