Super Bowl hype is about to intensify. Thankfully, we’ve all been through it before, so we’re eminently qualified to withstand the ordeal. And yes, I know this one pits Tom Brady and the New England Patriots against Eli Manning and the New York Giants, so the possibility of mass hysteria exists. But remember, there is nothing we can’t accomplish if we all pull together.
The good news: This one will be worth it.
That’s right, fellow Super sufferers. All that boarding up of windows, all that storing of canned food, all the fighting in supermarket aisles for that last six-pack of pale ale, it will all pay off. Because this Super Bowl will be a doozy, not a snoozy.
SB XLVI (Giants 21, Patriots 17)
Yes, it's a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, and many wonder how this can live up to that 17-14 thriller. It can do more than that — it can be better.
First off, when you get to this point in the process, all the excess fat has been trimmed. There are no fluky Tim Tebow-led Broncos or upstart Lions present who somehow finagled a way past the velvet ropes. The Patriots and Giants are the raw, organic cream of the crop. They survived Herculean tests in their conference championship games. Both executed down the stretch when extraordinary poise under pressure was required.
These clubs are better prepared than an egghead before the SATs.
Then you have the two quarterbacks. Yes, I know, if you’re not one of those people who has tattooed a body part with either the Patriots or Giants logo, you’re probably already sick of hearing about Tom and Eli.
I can sympathize. But consider that among savvy gridiron gunslingers, there probably isn’t a better possible AFC-NFC quarterback matchup. Have some perspective. Were you yearning for Joe Flacco vs. Alex Smith? Did you pine for a T.J. Yates-Matt Ryan duel? If the answer to either is yes, you shouldn’t be looking at football, you should be looking at a Rorschach test.
Yes, either Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would have been fun to watch against Brady, too. Two things about that: a) They didn’t get it done, and b) Eli is playing better than either of them.
There are many other personalities on the Patriots and Giants who figure to provide entertainment satisfaction.
Victor Cruz is one. The Giants’ receiver is no secret to those who have followed his 2011 season and watched him make clutch catch after clutch catch. But he is one of those players who will cause casual fans like Fred the mailman, Eleanor the human resources lady or Beth the accountant to exclaim, “Who is that guy!?” And let me tell you, Eleanor rarely gets excited about personnel.
Rob Gronkowski will be scrutinized mightily in the coming days because he has a left ankle injury and his incredible skills as a tight end are desperately needed by the Patriots’ offense. More importantly though, he met up with porn star Bibi Jones earlier this season in order to siphon off some of her Twitter followers. Tell me that won’t be a topic of conversation over the hummus bowl.
In all these heavily hyped games, somebody emerges out of relative obscurity and becomes a star. In Super Bowl XLII in 2008, which also matched these teams, it was David Tyree of the Giants, who made a crucial catch in the final minutes by re-enacting the old “HeadOn” commercial — “apply directly to the forehead.”
CSN: Tom Brady personally has done enough to be 5-0 in Super Bowls and has never been surrounded by Hall of Fame teammates as the others in the “greatest ever” conversation were.
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