By Steve Czaban Special to Published Jan 30, 2008 at 5:23 AM

Of all the factors that determine success in sports, simple luck never gets much credit.

A bounce. A fluke. A seemingly impossible hot streak.

Talking about luck as a sports fan is largely pointless. Luck makes no sense. You can't game plan for, or against it. Nobody brags: "We got so lucky!"

Yet there it is.

You can't deny it exists and that it determines more sporting outcomes than we are ever willing to admit.

Mets fans won't surrender their World Championship in 1986 because Bill Buckner booted an easy ground ball. Oh sure, they'll talk your ear off about the "never say die" will of the rally which let to that point.

Then add a sarcastic: "Yeah, that poor bastard Buckner. Whattya gonna do?"

Last year, the Colorado Rockies were the hottest team in baseball from September right up until the World Series.

Then it was "crap-7, clear the line" in the Fall Classic.

Did the Rockies "deserve" to be there? I suppose. They DID win all those games in a row. But simple logic says they could have started the season that hot and stumbled home instead.

It wouldn't have been as magical, but the end result might have been the same.

You can even argue that the Patriots are a dynasty built on more than just hard work and stoicism. If the "tuck rule" wasn't magically applied, the Pats are out, the Raiders move on. If that happened, who knows if Belichick would have survived missing the playoffs the next year?

You never know. I always hear that, once upon a time, our country was one vote shy of naming German as the official language.

This year's Super Bowl pits a team that is dominant beyond all statistical measure against a team that was on life support before starting a spurt of five very good games.

And yet, as sports fans, we want to construct a more even match up between the Patriots and Giants than all reason would indicate.

Perhaps we just don't want another dud of a Super Bowl. Maybe some of you will have money on the Giants plus-12.5, if you know what I mean.

(Wink ...)

Sure, "anything" can happen in a one-game match up. And sure, the Giants played New England to within an inch of an upset in late December.

But how much of the Giants being here is due to good ol' lady luck?

Before you scream at me, Giants fans, let me say that I do believe that the line between luck and hard work is blurry and sometimes confused.

You know the saying: "The harder I work, the luckier I get?"

Still, sports history is littered with somewhat "accidental" participants in championship games and series.

Bob May nearly besting Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship.

Ralph Sampson's impossible, twisting, rim-dancing buzzer beater against the Lakers.

The Steelers getting a Mike Vanderjagt death row pardon.

These teams are the sporting equivalent of party crashers. They know they don't belong. You know they don't belong. But they somehow get in anyway.

There is certainly a lot to respect about the feat itself.

Still, most party crashers get thrown out on their ass. You can check the record books on that one.

Every now and then, however, a championship crasher manages to take the bride back to their room - against all odds. How can you not root for that?

Of course, it may take some incredible luck. A drunken bride, a distracted groom. Bing, bang, boom.

If the New York Giants do the impossible, I will give them full credit for it.

If not, I'm gonna call them a bunch of guys who were lucky to get there in the first place. You can yell at me all you want. But deep down, you'll know I'm right.

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.