Six more weeks of winter. Let’s get that out of the way. Apparently that shifty hog only says early spring about once every 6 years or something. What a ripoff. Since it was about 65 degrees on Tuesday, I’m not sure we can still trust his credibility. Groundhog or no groundhog, they play the Super Bowl in three days. The stretch between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl felt especially long this year. I’m not sure why. But, the big weekend is here. Wing Bowl on Friday and the Super Bowl on Sunday. Maybe the Wing Bowl should replace the Pro Bowl?
Anyway, there were a million variations of this preview that went through my head. Most of them were trite and tired. This is one of the simplest games I’ve ever seen. Whichever defense plays better is going to win this team. Can either team create turnovers? Can either side get pressure on Brady or Eli? Can the Giants stop the Patriot TEs? Can the Patriots stop the Giant WRs? That’s it. I don’t think there are people out there expecting the offenses to struggle. I think this one is coming down to who can force a FG or two, and if we’re lucky, we might get another shanked kick at the end. That’s my preview. It looks like I still have some space to fill…
Around Philly disinterest seems to be the theme for this game. It’ll be on TV, but I won’t be paying attention. That’s the general consensus. The funny thing is, that’s how I’ve approached most Super Bowls in my life. Unless you are a Cowboys fan, or a Steelers fan, a Patriots fan or some other front-running S.O.B. your team rarely, if ever, makes a trip to the big game. So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, on occasion you still get a memorable game, something will happen and you find yourself enjoying the action in spite of yourself. Or the game becomes memorable for the wrong reasons. About the best you can ask for is the game doesn’t completely wash out of your memory 15 seconds after the final whistle.
My 8 (10 is too many) Most Memorable Super Bowls.
1. Super Bowl XX–Bears 46, Patriots 10.
The first Super Bowl I have any memory of, and several things stick out. First, the Bears were a bandwagon dream. Everyone loved this team. No shame in pulling for Chicago. I admit, I found the Bears intriguing as well. In a few years I would develop and odd and singular obsession with Christian Okoye, but for the time being those headbands were kind of …awesome. Here also is the birth of my distaste for the AFC. Oh my. For years the AFC would play sparring partner in obscene, life-sucking, blowout losses.
2/3. Super Bowls XXXVI & XLII (Patriots 20, Rams 17 and Giants 17, Patriots 14).
You’re probably getting the impression that the Patriots have played in too many Super Bowls at this point–and you’re right. I have these two games tied for 2nd, because they are two of the more memorable upsets in Super Bowl history and they tell the entire story of the Patriots evolution. You forget how little chance people gave New England against St. Louis, because N.E. would eventually become a dynasty, but they had no chance in that game. None. By the time they play the Giants six years later the roles have reversed. They’ve gone from popular, team-oriented underdogs to an unyielding, undefeated juggernaut. Brady deserves his 3 Super Bowls, but he probably should have lost to the Rams and beaten the Giants.
4. Super Bowl XLIII–Steelers 27, Cardinals 23.
This was an incredible 4th quarter, and that’s all that really matters, right? The Cardials were another underdog that was given no shot, but perhaps they felt the support of Steelers-haters uniting around the country. The Cards had plenty of one-day fans and I was one of them. The sheer glee of watching Steelers fans reconcile losing to one of the perennial doormats of the NFL was washed away by Big Ben’s unfortunate heroics, but still an unexpected classic.
5. Super Bowl XXI–New York 39, Denver 20.
Here’s one I remember for the wrong reasons. I was in 1st grade. Some punk in my class had tickets for the game. They wouldn’t stop talking about it. The teacher made a huge deal about this kid’s trip. It was like week-long show and tell before and after they went. It was ridiculous. I was pretty jealous. Of course, now I know you are better off watching on TV. Also, Phil Simms might be my least favorite player of all-time. Hate Simms. Hate his sons. I wish he had never won a Super Bowl. Did someone better that 22/25 stat yet? God, I hope.
6. Super Bowl XXI–Packers 35, Patriots 21.
Players I hate: Part II. I have a strong bias against kick return specialists. The Ismail brothers make me ill. And, Desmond Howard is right at the top of that list as well. I loathed him at Michigan. Heisman? Please. For him to have the game-turning kickoff return TD in this one and then win the MVP–too much for me to bear. Minor consolation that in Brett Favre’s biggest win, a special teamer gets the MVP.
7. Super Bowl XXIX–49ers 49, Chargers 26.
I’m no 49ers fan, but I remember wanting the Chargers to get blown out in this game. I think it may have been the first time I was aware of point spreads and the Niners were huge favorites. I wanted the win and I wanted the damn cover. You look at this Chargers roster and you wonder, a) how was it this close? and, b) how the hell did they make the Super Bowl? Seriously, does anyone remember the AFC playoffs that year? Did any other team make it? Who were these teams losing to Stan Humphries?
8. Super Bowl XLIV–Saints 31, Colts 17.
Hahahaha….Peyton. You stink. Colts were chalk in this game and they got worked. It was pretty classic. This made up for Peyton’s free Super Bowl win from a couple of years before when the NFC could only muster Rex Grossman. What a joke. That is how close Peyton is to having as many Super Bowl rings as Archie and Cooper. Now baby bro might be getting to pass him and his career is on the brink. Tough times for Pey-Pey.
SUPER BOWL XLVI–Patriots vs. Giants. Line: New England (-3). O/U: 54.
I need to lose this O/U to complete a perfect 0-4 run through the playoffs and level off my overall record at 8-8. That’s pure gambling poetry, right there. This is a really hard game to pick, but it’s a game where the average shmuck will just go Pats, but the Giants have such momentum and we’ve had so much time to think about it that the tide is shifting back around to their side. Most places seem to have more money on the G-Men here–odd considering New England’s status. This is really a legacy game. Brady–best SB QB ever? Belichick–best coach ever? Coughlin–Hall of Famer? Eli–Best Manning? A lot of things on the line. Since most people probably want to see an exciting shootout, I’ll do you a favor and take the under. Giants 27-26.
Lastly, comment Hall of Fame member, BK, requested this picture and accompanying text be part of our Super Bowl preview. Perhaps you saw this retro sexiness at Deadspin, but if not…Here’s Belichick during his sabbatical from being a genius in Cleveland.