Judge Gordon Sullivan is disappointed with football. It just isn't cricket.
Big Blue is back on top!
The 2011 season was not particularly kind to the New York Giants. Their 9-7 record wasn't exemplary, and though they beat out the Cowboys to win their division title, nothing screamed that they were Super Bowl bound, let alone national champs. Yet, after three postseason games (each one more contentious than the last), the Giants eked out a victory, 21-17, against the New England Patriots, reminding many fans of their previous victory four years early when they similarly vanquished a then-undefeated New England team. Now, with New York Giants: Road to XLVI, fans can relive those three playoff games as well as the big one, Super Bowl XLVI.
All four of these games are presented essentially as they were recorded for broadcast television. Though there are no commercials, we do get commentary from the four Fox regulars on the first three games (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver, and Chris Meyers) before the final game turns it over to the NBC team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Alex Flanagan, and Michele Tafoya.
As someone who only catches a game or two of professional football a season and has no special attachment to the Giants, it's really hard to review this set. Certainly the set delivers exactly what it promises—all four postseason games the Giants played in the 2011 season. They're uncut and commercial-free, perfect for enjoying the best moments from each game again and again. In that way, it's the perfect package for fans; if you love the Giants this is a fine set.
For someone who isn't huge fan of pro football or the Giants, it was interesting to watch the developments across these four games. My understanding is that the previous two regular-season games (against the Jets and then the Cowboys) were pretty nail-biting. However, starting against an early 2-point lead by the Falcons, the Giants dominate the rest of the first game, winning 24-to-2. Though the 37-20 game against Green Bay isn't a blowout, that's a solid two-touchdown cushion. Things start to get crazy against the 49ers, as the Giants triumph by a field goal before triumphing over the Patriots by a similarly thin margin. Despite a rocky regular season (the Giants are the first team to win the Super Bowl after being outscored by their opponents in the regular season), the team seems to grow in confidence as the postseason develops. Although they hardly blew New England out of the water, they were victorious.
As a DVD set, it's nice that each game gets its own disc. Though the games were all shot in HD, these discs don't look quite that good. Still, detail is generally strong, colors bright, and artifacts kept to a minimum. Since football is all about motion (and the motion of that tiny ball is all-important) it's good that the transfer handles movement really well. The audio track keeps the commentary audible, with a nice mix of crowd noise and the usual sonic accompaniments to professional football games.
Though the DVD presentation is solid (though dedicated fans might want to pony up for the HD set if they can), there are no extras. Interviews with the players, some postgame analysis, or even a highlight reel of the regular season would have been nice. Here is also where true fans are going to quibble with this set: it's hard to call it New York Giants: Road to XLVI without including the last two regular-season games against the Jets and Cowboys. Without their wins in those games, there was no postseason for the Giants. Their inclusion as bonus games would have greatly enhanced the appeal of this set to the hardcore constituency the set is aiming for.
For fans looking to own all four postseason games the New York Giants played in the 2011 season this is the set to own in standard def. The lack of extras might turn some fans off, and the lack of the last two regular-season games seems to have stirred up some resentment online. However, for those willing to take the set at face value—offering the Giants' postseason games—New York Giants: Road to XLVI offers exactly what it needs to.
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