No Sleep Till Football

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SUPER BOWL XLVI

A few things stand out about this Super Bowl. The first is that we get a rematch of the Super Bowl XLII which happened 4 years ago. The Giants won that game in miraculous fashion beating New England 17-14 and ending New England’ attempt to complete a season a perfect 19-0! I wondered how many “rematch” Super Bowls we’ve actually seen since the Lombardi Trophy’s inception. Here is a list of teams who have played each other at least twice in the Super Bowl and which Super Bowls they were involved in:

Dallas Cowboys & Pittsburgh Steelers (X, XIII, XXX)
Miami Dolphins & Washington Redskins (VII, XVII)
San Francisco 49ers & Cincinnati Bengals (XVI, XXIII)
Dallas Cowboys & Buffalo Bills (XXVII, XXVIII)
New York Giants & New England Patriots (XLII, XLVI)

As you can see it’s not all that common but not unusual either. The most recent rematch of teams from similar eras is when Buffalo & Dallas played back-to-back Super Bowls 27 & 28. No teams other than Dallas & Buffalo have played in consecutive Super Bowls. The Giants & Patriots are in unique company though. As far as Super Bowl rivalries are concerned, the fact that both teams are playing each other a second time moves them into rare air and it’s certainly possible given the strengths of the teams, that they could face again which would equal what Pittsburgh & Dallas have done, which is meet 3 times. Because of this historical significance, the matchup itself stands out as rather unique and one that should be appreciated because of that quality.

The 2nd thing that stands out is QB Tom Brady. This will be the 5th Super Bowl that Brady has started in which gives him the record in NFL history. John Elway also started in 5 Super Bowls, but nobody else in NFL history has more than 5 starts. If Tom Brady were to win the Super Bowl then he’d also tie Terry Bradshaw & Joe Montana for most Super Bowl wins with 4. There are only 4 QBs in NFL history with at least 3 Super Bowl wins. Troy Aikman also has 3 wins meaning the former Cowboy would be all alone with 3 wins should Brady win his 4th. Brady also brings up some interesting arguments for being the greatest QB of all time. The 5 Super Bowls along with 4 Super Bowl wins would obviously make him uniquely qualified from a championship perspective, but statistically he’s going to finish way ahead of Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw & Joe Montana. Statistically when it’s all said and done he might be only looking up at Peyton Manning & Brett Favre and from a championship standpoint, neither Manning nor Favre comes close to Brady, especially if Brady wins his 4th ring. If Peyton Manning never plays football again, Brady could pass up #18 in some statistical categories as well assuming Brady sticks around for awhile.

The 3rd thing that stands out is QB Eli Manning. A Super Bowl victory here puts Eli with 2 Super Bowl rings. That’s one more than older brother Peyton has and puts Eli in a select class of NFL QBs with at least 2 championships. Eli would become the 11th QB in NFL history with at least 2 Super Bowl wins. Amazingly enough, Eli might not be done either. He’s still relatively young and he could have 1-2 more Super Bowl runs left in him. If Eli gets to a couple of more Super Bowls then that will give him 4, just one shy of Brady & Elway. If he were to win 4 Super Bowl then that would put him in the same category as Montana and Bradshaw. Manning becomes just the 19th QB to start 2 Super Bowl games which is significant. Statistically, Eli Manning also has some viability to become one of the greatest statistical QBs of all time. It’s too early to tell exactly where Eli will wind up on the all-time leader lists, but if he stays healthy and productive, Manning should be a top-10 QB in most all QB statistical categories and maybe even top-5. If Manning keeps this up and wins 3-4 championships then he himself will be able to make a credible argument of being the best QB of all time.

The 4th thing that sticks out is Giants HC Tom Coughlin. It doesn’t seem like Coughlin is considered one of the better coaches in NFL history, but if you measure head coaches by the same metric you measure quarterbacks then a Giants win put Coughlin in some unique territory as a head coach. The only head coaches in NFL history with more than a single Super Bowl title is Vine Lombardi, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Tom Flores, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan & George Seifert. Coughlin would become the 13th member of this elite club. It’s interesting because Coughlin always seems to be on the host seat in New York, yet all the guy pretty much does is win games. He’s not extremely flashy or talks a lot, but he gets the job done. I don’t know if a Super Bowl win gives him anymore job security as the win 4 years ago didn’t seem to make much of a difference, but as much as Eli Manning & Tom Brady are chasing history tomorrow, so is Tom Coughlin.

The last thing that stands out is how the franchises playing are viewed historically. The Patriots & Giants both have 3 Super Bowls in their teams’ history. Another victory for either team puts them into an elite class of NFL organizations. Only 4 teams in NFL history have won at least 4 Super Bowls: the Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers & Packers. When you are looking at storied franchises in NFL history, it doesn’t get more elite than Green Bay, Dallas, San Francisco & Pittsburgh. A win by either team puts them into that category. This will be New England’s 7th trip to the Super Bowl which puts them 1 behind both Dallas & Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl appearances of all time. The Giants will be making their 5 appearances which means only 4 teams are ahead of them for most appearances in a Super Bowl. I don’t think the Giants & Patriots are the first teams that come to mind when thinking of historical NFL greatness, but both belong in the conversation based on what they have accomplished.

As a side note, I think it’s worth mentioning that this is the 2nd Super Bowl the Giants have been to since RB Tiki Barber retired. Remember that Barber was very vocal about his belief that neither Eli Manning nor Tom Coughlin were good enough to win NFL championships. It was bad enough Manning & Coughlin won a Super Bowl the very year after Barber called it a career, but now they are on the verge of winning a Super Bowl in the same year that Tiki Barber tried to make an NFL comeback! A win by New York definitely puts both Manning & Coughlin in elite company when it comes to Super Bowl championships. It doesn’t look like Tiki is talking too much now does it?

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
I don’t think it’s rocket science to break down this matchup. The first thing I want to point out is just how tough the Giants schedule has been. They beat the Patriots already this season and their path the Super Bowl included wins over the Atlanta Falcons (10-6), a road game against Green Bay (15-1) and a road game against San Francisco (13-3). The Giants also played games against the 49ers, Saints & Packers during the regular season. They played Philadelphia & Dallas twice. They beat the Jets. The Patriots won a lot of games, but the only playoff team they faced in the regular season was Denver! They played Denver again in one of the playoff games and then got lucky against Baltimore. The Giants are BY FAR the best team New England has played all season long while the Patriots might be the 5th or 6th best team New York has faced this season! You can easily argue the two teams New York had to beat to get here are better than New England. The one thing New England does have is Bill Belichick having a couple of weeks to put in a gameplan that gives the Patriots an excellent shot to beat the Giants. The last time these two met in a Super Bowl the Patriots were BLOWING EVERYONE OUT and the Giants sneaked up on them. The Giants aren’t sneaking up on anyone this time around. Even so, I’m not sure how New England wins this game. There isn’t a single matchup that doesn’t favor the Giants. New England’s pass defense is terrible meaning Eli should light it up. Brady doesn’t like getting hit and the Giants D-Line is going to hit him often. I think Ahmad Bradshaw & Brandon Jacobs have big games to loosen up the Patriots already thin defense & the Giants roll away with this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants blow this thing wide open and signal an ending to the Belichick/Brady era. If the Giants turn the ball over a ton or New England plays the offensive game of their life, the Patriots will win, but I don’t see it. The Giants win this game convincingly. PATRIOTS (-3)
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February 4, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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