While our greatest strength as a pop culture website is on the music side, we know a little bit about sports too. If you followed my 10 Yard Fight column over the football season, you know that I’m a fan of the San Francisco 49ers and that I’m still feeling heartbreak warfare over my 49ers losing in the NFC Championship to the New York Giants.
Those Giants face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on the biggest sports day in all of the United States. Super Bowl Sunday is also the biggest TV day of the year and will draw the highest TV rating of the year. Companies paid 3.5 million dollars for a 30 second commercial during the game.
This game is a rematch of Super Bowl XLII when the Giants upset the heavily favored Patriots 17-14. You remember David Tyree’s helmet catch. You remember Eli Manning throwing balls up for grabs. You remember the Patriots undefeated regular season. You may not remember Tom Brady nearly hitting Randy Moss on a fly pattern with just 10 seconds left.
Big Money: Patriots 31, Giants 27
I remember 2008.
The Giants are probably more of a Cinderella story this year than they were back then, after having a massive mid-season swoon that led to them being beat by the lowly Redskins-TWICE. Since then, they’ve been on a tear, and they’ve built up more than enough momentum to if not outright beat The Patriots, at least give them a scare. This will not be an easy game.
However, the Pats have been on all season long. Tom Brady is still the best quarterback in football. And they’re going to have vengeance in their hearts. The 2008 Super Bowl, by all rights, should have been theirs, so they will have extra incentive to win this game. If I was on that team (particularly if I was around for the 2008 shocker) I would stop at nothing to make sure my team won.
Prediction (as much as it pains me) Patriots 31, Giants 27. But part of me believes in miracles. So I’m hoping I’m wrong.
Nick: Giants 38, Patriots 35
I was born and raised in Northern VA about 20-30 minutes outside of Washington D.C., our nation’s capital and home to the greatest team in NFL history, the Washington Redskins. My motto growing up was always “My two favorite teams are the Washington Redskins and whoever is playing the Dallas Cowboys.” While I still detest the Dallas Cowboys with an intense passion, my time living in the New York City/Northern New Jersey area for the past 15 years has taught me that the New York Football Giants are infinitely more unlikeable. I went to college outside of Philadelphia and thought Eagles fans were bad (and they are), but Giants fans make them look like debutantes by comparison. I never thought I could hate a team more than the Cowboys, but congratulations New Jersey (yeah, I said it) Giants, you have proved me wrong.
I don’t particularly dislike the New England Patriots, but if Tom Brady isn’t wearing your team’s jersey, then he is pretty easy to dislike. There is a smugness about the Pats that just makes you want to cheer against them.
All that being said, this should be an exciting game to watch if you are fan of the sport of football. Both Tom Brady and Eli Manning are elite quarterbacks with incredible receiving weapons at their disposal. The Giants D has been playing incredibly well in the latter half of the season, but I still think they are going to get torched on Sunday. Ditto for the Pats D which hasn’t been very good all season (except for coming up big in the AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens).
The Patriots are going to have revenge on their mind from four years ago and the Giants seem to have stolen Jesus’ attention away from Tim Tebow. This should add up to a lot of action and a game that is decided in the closing minutes, if not seconds.
My prediction: Giants 38, Pats 35
Oh and if the Giants do win the Superbowl, then at least I can take comfort in the fact that the Redskins whooped their asses last season….twice.
Jay: Patriots 31, Giants 28
I’ve been rooting for the Patriots since I moved to New Hampshire in 1983. I saw them get buried by the Bears in the ’86 Super Bowl and smoked by Brett Favre and the Packers in ’97, so it was especially sweet to see the Tom Brady era unfold with three Super Bowl wins in the 2000s. Yeah, everybody in the rest of the country hates Belichick and Brady, but the team has been pretty fun to watch for a long time now.
Strangely enough, the Patriots now have the longest championship drought of the major teams in Boston, with the Bruins (2011), Celtics (2008) and Red Sox (2007) all winning in recent years. The last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl was 2008, when the team ran up an undefeated record going into the big game against the Giants. For many Pats fans, including myself, it’s still painful to think about that last-second loss. This year’s team is much different. The defense has been suspect at times, but Brady has been sharp most of the season and has powerful weapons that the 2008 team did not. Instead of focusing on Randy Moss, this year’s team keys off tight ends Rob Gronkowski (although he had a nasty high ankle sprain against Baltimore) and Aaron Hernandez, with proven veterans like Wes Welker and Deion Branch always ready to rip off big catches.
The Giants have turned it on late in the season and will no doubt make this a tightly contested game. Eli Manning has proven he’s a big game QB and the Giants defense is fearsome. But let’s face it, this Super Bowl could have easily been 49ers-Ravens if not for some HUGE gaffes from both those teams that allowed this rematch to take place.
In the end, I think it’s going to be Patriots 31, Giants 28. Damn, I hope so. The alternative would be tough to take.
Stephen: Giants 30, Patriots 24
My family’s roots run deep in Western Pennsylvania, which means I inherited the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the same way I inherited my dad’s eyes and my mom’s brown hair. That’s just how it works in Steelers country. That said, I had given up on a Super Bowl run for them before the playoffs even started thanks to the lineup turning into a triage unit, and had allowed my new California environment to push me on to the 49ers bandwagon. So if I seem bitter that my surrogate team isn’t in the big game, you’ll have to excuse me.
All this to say I am not really that excited for the Super Bowl, no offense to Giants and Patriots fans. To me it just lacks those universal story lines that can make non-fans take note. Yeah, the Giants are the “Cinderella” team, so long as we assume Cinderella wasn’t a poor servant and was already a princess, just not of quite as good of a kingdom. Yeah, it’s a rematch of one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets ever, but the idea of a rematch already when there are so many other possible billings just doesn’t grab me. It’s Brady vs. Manning, a duel on par for me as a Nickelback vs. Coldplay Battle of the Bands. In other words, I am going to be cheering for Madonna this Sunday.
That said, once I push my personal biases out the window, I expect it to be a solid if high scoring game (which is what the fans like). The Pats have been dominant most of the season, and even their at times shaky secondary was able to contain God’s Chosen Quarterback (let’s be honest; Flaccid Flacco was less of a challenge). The Giants, meanwhile, have shown their edge this post season, giving Jersey residents something to talk about between their tanning and laundry (full disclosure: my only source of knowledge on the state is Jersey Shore. I mean, no, I don’t watch that show…) I think the Pats carry the bigger grudge going in, but I also think they played the lesser game last week. Plus I just really hate Tom Brady’s stupid face and Belichick’s ugly cut off sweatshirts. So my pick: Giants 30, Pats 24.
To Giants and Pats fans, best of luck, and a heartfelt congratulations for making it this far. For the rest of us, don’t forget, there’s always the Puppy Bowl too.
Chuck: Patriots 28, Giants 17
I’m going to try to remain completely unbiased and objective in predicting Super Sunday’s outcome. However, make no mistake, I am a Patriot through and through. I spent quite a few Sundays seated on those frozen aluminum benches watching the likes of Tony Eason, Mosi Tatupu and Andre Tippett. Obviously those formative years for me also included quite a few 2-14 and 3-13 teams, so having my team play for the chance to be champs is something I never take for granted, and win or lose, will enjoy every wardrobe malfunctioning moment.
To ensure objectivity I intend to stick to the facts, ma’am, and when necessary, to break up misnomers fired from the national media regarding my beloved Pats. First, the popular statistic that N.E. hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record this season. Its a factually true statement, but let’s go deeper. Every team has only the ability to play their schedule, obviously. 2011 strength of schedule rankings show that the Patriots had a tougher schedule than the G-Men. (15th toughest in the league to NY’s 19th) The Patriots played that string to the tune of winning 13 out of 16, while the Giants did the same going 9-7. The Giants, meanwhile, defeated only 1 team with a winning record, my New England Patriots. The Giants went 9-7 losing to woeful teams like the Redskins (twice!) Seattle, and Philadelphia. Every elite team (besides NE) that the Giants played (NO,GB,SF) they lost to. Their vaunted defense also gave up 49 and 38 points back to back against the elites.
Sure, the Patriots may not have beaten a team with a winning record, but couldn’t the fact that they won 13 games attribute to teams sub .500 records? The Jets were assumed to be a great team, ready to contend for a 3rd straight AFC Championship… Pats beat ’em twice. The usually solid Chargers went down, as did the streaking Broncos and most recently, the defensive juggernaut Baltimore Ravens squad.
Ok, maybe I still come off as biased, but please don’t misunderstand… if ANY team has a chance to take this from my Pats it is the Giants. They excel at the only thing that can slow down or stop Tom Teriffic and his offense, a mind numbing pass rush. It’s the classic battle of great offense vs. great defense, and you know the old adage… offense wins games, defense wins championships.
Not this year. If my facts are correct, I believe during the Belichick/Brady era, the Patriots have only lost to the same team twice in a season once, if ever. I also believe that their experience and sheer will for revenge will lead them to a super victory, and ring #4 for #12. I’m confident, not cocky… I just as easily can see the Giants pulling it out with a 4th quarter drive. This will be a close one. All due respect to the Giants, but Belichick is overdue for a gatorade bath. The game will be closer and tighter than the score shows. 28-17 Patriots.
Blake: Patriots 24, Giants 10
Patriots – 24, Giants – 10. Volkswagen commercials pandering to Star Wars fans – 2.
Mike G.: Giants 27, Patriots 24
Eli wants it worse, and he’s been a smokin’ 4th quarter player during all of the playoffs.
GG: Giants 31, Patriots 30
As it would stand, my pick of the Giants deadlocks us at 4-4. Of course it does. I didn’t choose the Giants simply so our predictions would split. I chose them because there’s something hard to understand about this team. I did all my homework on them during the regular season. You could say that their regular season was average and close to below average. Hell, they gave up more points than they scored. World class defense? When they were on their game, sure. But when they weren’t, not at all. There were injuries there, but every team goes through them. So as I’m knocking the Giants down, here’s why they’re so hard to put a finger on: they are wildly inconsistent and thus hard to predict.
However, in being wildly inconsistent, they also come into this game as a team on an emotional high. They may not have deserved to beat the 49ers, but a Super Bowl team is going to have to win a game or two they shouldn’t have. You could say the same thing for the Pats. So oddly, they’re both sort of teams of destiny. My rooting interest will stand with the Giants. I don’t want to see Tom Brady get his 4th ring, which would match Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. And I kind of want to see the team who beat my team, win it all. It will mean that our loss meant something.
I see the game being a high scoring affair, both because New England is offensively terrific, and defensively pathetic. It’s one thing to finally play well against a fairly predictable Baltimore Ravens offense and something entirely different to be able to shutdown the Giants who have three stellar receivers, especially when New England’s pass defense is possibly the worst in the NFL. Brady will have the ball out before the Giants will be able to get to him. Eli Manning will have a field day. We’re going to see offense. It’s going to come down to who has the ball last and I’m going with the Giants. Down 6 on the final drive, Eli Manning hits Mario Manningham on a slant with just a few seconds left to win the game.