PASADENA — Where Neil Diamond had mouthed the national anthem, where Mickey Rooney, some fake horses and a few dozen silky show girls had pranced at halftime, the New York Giants showed why they are the best team in football.
This was very early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XXI Sunday, fourth down and about a yard near midfield. Trailing by a point, the safe, by-the-book call for Coach Bill Parcells would have been a punt.
But the Giants got to the NFL title game for the first time in more than a generation by writing fresh drama. There had been a fake field goal against the 49ers in an NFC semifinal game; there would be a fake punt Sunday.
"These games aren't for the fainthearted," Parcells said of the call. "I challenged the team. . . . and they came through (in dramatic situations) all year."