By Ann Liguori
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The highs and lows of any season can wear out a sports fan and this past Sunday, no matter which team you were rooting for, fans experienced an ‘emotional roller coaster’ of a day.

The day started gloomy and sad with the news that Joe Paterno had passed away. Former Penn State players and coaches throughout the country were heard on the airwaves, reflecting on Paterno’s legacy and attempting to come to grips with the way he mishandled the child abuse scandal that rocked Penn State and the nation. Did the stress of the scandal contribute to the demise of his health and ultimately his death? Just when you start feeling horrible for Joe and his family, one thinks about the victims and their suffering. As Happy Valley and beyond mourns the death of a legend, there are still so many unanswered questions. And Jerry Sandusky released a statement regarding Joe’s passing? Who wants to hear any statement on anything from Jerry Sandusky except a jail sentence!

Once the games began, the emotional roller coaster continued its wild ride.

Tom Brady was not stellar but New England’s defense made up for their offensive woes. And poor Billy Cundiff. No matter who you root for, you have to feel for the Ravens’ kicker who missed the 32-yard field goal and the chance to tie the game. Patriots’ fans breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated their team’s return to the Super Bowl. It seemed a fitting tribute to an emotional year as the team dedicated the season to the beloved Myra Kraft, the wife of owner Robert Kraft, who died of cancer last July.

And if the missed field goal wasn’t heartache enough for Baltimore’s fans, they’re still fuming over the ‘incomplete pass call’ when it looked like Lee Evans may have had possession of the ball in the end zone long enough for it to have been ruled a touchdown. The play wasn’t even reviewed! And back to the missed field goal for a moment. Monday it was reported that Cundiff received death threats. Talk about  letting emotion get way out of hand!

Next came the NFC championship game, a game that kept Giants and 49ers’ fans on that proverbial roller coaster until 7:06 minutes left in OT! But once Lawrence Tynes made good on his 31-yarder, lifting the Giants to their 20-17 victory, it was pandemonium and time to exhale! What a great ending for Big Blue after an exhausting battle!

Now everyone else can take an emotional break while Patriots and Giants fans build up more angst for the really big showdown in Indianapolis!

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