INDIANAPOLIS – With the media hoopla just about over before game time and the players hunkered down at their hotels before Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI match, both the Giants and Patriots seemed to be ready for what many are predicting could be one of the best Super Bowl games of all-time.
Brady vs. Manning, Coughlin vs. Belichick, New York vs. New England, a rematch of 2007, a rematch of the game earlier this season, Eli in Peyton’s city, the story lines have been never-ending.
What’s more are the individual stories every player brings into this game; their previous teams, their journey to the big game, overcoming adversity, their family lines and much more. Every player enters the game with a story and leaves Sunday night adding to their life’s work, win or lose.
Inside the numbers
- Have won 7 championships (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956, 1986, 1990, 2007), which is third most in NFL history.
- Are 3-1 in Super Bowl games, including 17-14 win over New England in Super Bowl XLII.
- Have won five in row, outscoring opponents, 141-67.
- Tom Coughlin joins Bill Parcells as only Giants head coaches to lead two teams to Super Bowl. Coughlin notched seventh postseason road victory in NFC Championship at San Francisco, tied with HOFer Tom Landry for most all-time.
- Advanced to Super Bowl for seventh time in franchise history (3-3).
- With win in Super Bowl XLVI, head coach Bill Belichick (3) can tie HOFer Chuck Noll (4) for most Super Bowl wins by head coach in NFL history.
- Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will make 5th SB appearance together, most by head coach-quarterback duo all-time. Belichick and Brady (16) have most postseason wins by QB-head coach duo.
- Belichick (17) is tied with HOFer Joe Gibbs (17) for third-most playoff wins all-time, trailing only HOFers Landy (20) and Don Shula (19).
- Brady’s 16 postseason wins are tied with HOFer Joe Montana for most playoffs wins by QB in NFL history. Brady has 1,001 passing yards in 4 Super Bowls, fourth-most SB career passing yards and he has seven career Super Bowl touchdown passes, fourth most all-time.
Interesting story lines
Gronkowski’s ankle grabs the spotlight: Rob Gronkowski’s high ankle sprain has been one of the most reported stories leading into the game. Since Gronkowski set NFL tight end scoring and receiving records this year and has become Tom Brady’s safest passing threat, his ankle is a big deal to many. As of Friday, he was listed as questionable and made an appearance at the team’s walk through in sweats. He was seen walking without a limp, but has been on a very restricted practice regimen to aid in his recovery. He and the team trainers are taking it day-by-day. “I am improving every day,” he said earlier this week, referring to the ankle he sprained against the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. “When you are hurt, you want to improve every day. You are just trying to get stronger every day. Listen to the training staff and what they have to say. Trying to heal up, getting stronger and making sure I am more fluid out there and can be on it and everything. Basically, going in the right direction.”
Bill O’Brien’s last game with Patriots: Before Bill O’Brien leaves the Patriots for his new head coaching position at Penn State he wants to win a Super Bowl ring. O'Brien, who serves as current offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick, has had the taxing responsibility of National Signing Day falling on the same week he is preparing for Super Bowl XLVI against the Giants. “Bill [Belichick] has really helped here as far as the offensive staff and some administrative people that have helped me in New England when I haven’t been here, and then I think I’ve put together one of the best staffs in the country at Penn State, and they’ve hit the ground running up there,” he said.
Herzlich beat Cancer, now wants to beat Patriots: Cancer was the hard part. The Patriots are just a football team. At least that’s what Conestoga High alum Mark Herzlich would like to think heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI match up. Herzlich, a linebacker with the New York Giants, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, form of bone cancer in 2009. After going undrafted out of Boston College, he signed as a free agent with the Giants in 2011. His rookie season has been memorable and one last win would solidify a magnificent journey from near death to Super Bowl champion that doesn’t happen very often. “Playing football again was that goal, and that really pushed me,” he said. “After six hours of chemotherapy, you’re sitting there and your body just feels drained. You don’t want to move, but I said, ‘I am going to be playing football again in eight months, so I need to go and workout. I need to go ride a bike, get some cardio in.’ That’s what I did.”
Dave Tollefson is out of Home Depot and in NFL: Dave Tollefson has come a long way from being selected as the third to last pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (253overall) by the Green Bay Packers. He reflected this week on his career, which spanned two colleges – Los Medanos College and Northwest Missouri State – and three missed seasons due to injuries. In 2002 he spent the year working at the Home Depot on Meridian Park Boulevard in Concord to make ends meet while he recovered from shoulder surgery. “I was in the Inside Garden section,” he told New Jersey’s Star Ledger this week. “It was cool and it was a job. It was a time in my life when I was just trying to make enough money and make ends meet. I had bills to pay and stuff. It was a good job.”
Eli in Peyton’s city: One of the key story lines this year is Eli Manning playing in the city his brother built, and the stadium with the nickname Peyton’s Place. The younger Manning has had a cool demeanor all week. “I’m excited about being here,” he said. “My mindset is I’m here to play a game. This is just a Super Bowl venue. I’m not looking at the fact that this is where Peyton has played his career. I’m just trying to go out there and play my best football; and try to get a championship for the New York Giants.”
Edelman playing defense, but can play it all: Pick a position, any position, and Julian Edelman will fill the void. A quarterback most of his life through college at Kent State, he finds himself in a unique situation as Super Bowl XLVI approaches. Edelman will suit up as a defensive back, but will be ready to catch passes as a receiver, which he did earlier in the year. He has become a versatile and accepting player with the Patriots.
Ninkovich talks construction work: At a Super Bowl XLVI media session in Lucas Oil Stadium this week, Rob Ninkovich looked up and made a reference to the iron at the top of the stadium. "I’m not a big fan of heights … someone had to put that up there,” he said. “I don’t think I could have done it.” The talk of iron work and construction came up because Ninkovich, a Lincoln-Way Central High alum, worked with his dad in construction for two weeks right before he went to junior college at Joliet. “I was working on a bridge on I-57,” he said. “It’s got stretched a little bit to say I was like 19 stories high. No, I was on a bridge. It was tall. It was over some water, but it wasn’t super all. I was tied off, and it was still a dangerous job. It was something that I learned from.”
DeOssie looks to win another ring: The DeOssie family made headlines during Super Bowl XLII when son Zach and father Steve became the first father-son duo to win a championship with the same team. Steve was a member of the Giants for Super Bowl XXV. Zach has a chance to one-up his father Sunday and win his second title as the Giants play New England in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium. DeOssie, who attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. and was All-New England Prep, grew up a Patriots fan. His father finished his career with the Patriots in 1995 and DeOssie also served as a ball boy for the organization for two years. “It’s funny when you look back at it,” he said this week. “To be here playing them in the Super Bowl is incredible.”
- Giants coach Tom Coughlin on what it takes to be a winner: “Surround yourself with great people, people who have an outstanding work ethic, people who are business-like, who are focused and concentrated. Get everybody on the same page and have the same inspiration, same kind of drive, same kind of desire. Do the very, very best you can. Work to the best of your ability.”
- Giants quarterback Eli Manning on what a second Super Bowl victory would mean: ““You don’t think about that as a player. You concentrate on the opponent, that’s New England – trying to get ready for them. You try to keep your mind focused on the job and what style of football it’s going to take to win this game. If you get concerned with other things, it takes your focus off what your job has to be for this coming Sunday. That’s the mindset of the players and the coaches – just trying to get ready and focused to go out there and play your best football.”
- Patriots coach Bill Belichick on this Super Bowl: “It is the same as it is every week,” he said. “We have to go out and play a good football game all the way around in all three phases of the game. The Giants are good on offense, defense and special teams. They are well-coached, disciplined and tough. We will have to match their effort and do a little bit more.”
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the Super Bowl: “Any time you lose, it’s a tough thing,” he said. “We’ve lost one Super Bowl. I remember waking up in Arizona the next morning after an hour of sleep thinking, that was a nightmare, that didn’t happen. After time, you learn to move on and get over it. Anyone who loses in the playoffs knows it is difficult to deal with. When you win, you still probably get an hour of sleep, but that feeling doesn’t go away for a long time. The winning, the things that go along with winning, those are really special memories that you have with a lot of close friends. It’s a great feeling.”
Injury report (as of Friday)
- Probable: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (shoulder), S Tyler Sash (foot), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle, knee), CB Corey Webster (hamstring), LB Jacquian Williams (foot)
- Probable: WR Deion Branch (knee), C Dan Connolly (groin), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder), T Matt Light (illness), WR Matt Slater (shoulder)
- Questionable: T Marcus Cannon (ankle), S Patrick Chung (knee), LB Dane Fletcher (thumb), TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle), DT Kyle Love (ankle), G Logan Mankins (knee), LB Rob Ninkovich (hip), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Sebastian Vollmer (illness, back, foot), WR Wes Welker (knee), LB Tracy White (abdomen)
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