In the crowd at the corner of Broadway and Chambers Street, I met the Catholic chaplain for the New York Giants. The Rev. Bill Dowd was a happy man.
There were a lot of cheering Giant fans there and he was perhaps the most enthusiastic. As each of the conquering heroes passed, Dowd called out his name -- and he was especially emotional about Eli Manning and Coach Tom Coughlin.
“Coach Coughlin is a fine man, “ he said. “He kept us together, kept up our morale even in the bad days. He never lost hope.”
Together, the priest and I made our way through the dense crowds, to the press stand in City Hall. He told me about the last 9 seconds in the Super Bowl when Tom Brady of the Patriots made a supreme effort to win the game, tossing a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. And Dowd said, looking up at the sky, that he asked God not to let him down.
Dowd said he was praying: ”Please, Lord, please protect the humble Giants and give us a win.”
And, sure enough, the desperation pass went over the heads of the receivers and the game was over.
Dowd watched from the back of City Hall Plaza as the individual players received keys to the city from the mayor. He applauded each with gusto, shouting out a personal greeting. He knew every member of his flock well. And he was so happy to be sharing this moment of glory with all of them.
Did his spiritual intervention do any good? He would be the first to say yes.
"He answered my prayer, Gabe" Dowd said. "Go Giants."