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Maybe the Giants should spy on the Patriots

This week's electronic conversation between Times Sports columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano.

By GARY SHELTON and JOHN ROMANO, Times Staff Writers
Published January 27, 2008


GS: John, you and I leave today for the coronation of the New England Patriots. By now, we have established that they are unstoppable, immovable and unbreakable. Which leads us to this question: If the Giants win, would this be the greatest upset in sports history?

JR: Nah, I've got to go with Jeff Garcia nabbing a Playboy bunny. But this would be close.

GS: It would be a terrific story, wouldn't it? It would be even bigger than the Patriots over St. Louis, bigger than the Giants over the Bills, bigger than the Chiefs over the Vikings. If you go by perceptions instead of point spreads, it would be the biggest upset since the Jets over the Colts in Super Bowl III. Which is why Eli Manning ought to come out and guarantee a victory. Right?

JR: It's been done. Eli needs to raise the stakes a bit. How about a money-back guarantee? Or a win-or-quit guarantee?

GS: How about a win-or-make-sure-Peyton-stops-making-commercials?

JR: I think America would go for that deal. So how, exactly, would the Giants pull off this upset? Try another shootout, like the regular-season finale? Turn it into a run-first, ball-control game? Distract Randy Moss with some killer weed?

GS: First of all, I think they need to sack Tom Brady during the national anthem, and they need to keep sacking him until the confetti falls. To me, that's the first order of business. If Brady has time to work against the Giants' secondary, I think the trophy engravers can start work early.

JR: Well, the Giants did lead the NFL in sacks with 53. The problem is about 48 of those sacks came in one game against the Eagles. Brady threw 44 passes against the Giants in December and was sacked just once. So do you propose blitzing? An all-or-nothing gamble against the highest-scoring team in league history?

GS: I do think you have to keep the heat on Brady, whether his foot is really hurt or not. But the more you blitz, the more you expose the secondary and the more likely you are to see Randy Moss in the end zone. I would blitz him early, try to get him out of synch and then line up with 311 defensive backs on third down. Is that legal?

JR: No, it's not. But neither is spying on your opponent, and that didn't seem to slow the Patriots. Do you expect that to be a big story this week? And which version of Spygate did you like better, the Belichick Ultimatum or the Belichick Supremacy?

GS: I liked the original: Sacks, Lies and Videotape. It's amazing what winning can do, isn't it? You almost never hear about Spygate these days. A guy on the plane the other day was explaining it to the flight attendant as "everyone does it." I think a huge fine and a forfeited draft pick suggests otherwise. I think it gets revisited this week, but once the NFL destroyed the confiscated tapes, it left it up to personal opinions how bad the cheating was and how much it had to do with the team's legacy.

JR: Wait 'til people find out Roger Clemens was operating the video camera.