By Jason Keidel
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No doubt NFL and network execs were facing their own Mecca, grateful to the gods that the right teams squeaked by, setting up a most unusual – but quite marketable – rematch.
Indeed, would anyone west of Baltimore or east of San Francisco have cared about a Ravens-49ers Super Bowl?
And while the reputations of the two towns (Boston and New York) reflect a clash in classes, from blue-collar grit of Boston's underclass to the marble and money of Madison Avenue, the teams themselves contradict their native mores.
It's Tom Brady, New England's captain and caretaker of the throne, who has the pretty boy prerogative: his visage splashed across myriad magazine covers and the requisite, supermodel wife and blessed life. Whereas the Giants are the lunch-pail crew just crunching their way, almost anonymously, to victory, an army of ants that doesn't care who gets the credit.
To use an analogy from The Wire, the Giants were Marlo Stanfield four years ago, snatching up New England's presumed, Barksdale territory. In essence, the Giants usurped the Patriots' immortality. And it took these four years for the Patriots to regroup.
This isn't an official prediction, particularly since the average length of an NFL career is smaller than the four-year bottleneck since the 2008 Super Bowl. But I won more than a few bets from friends on Tyson-Holyfield II. Despite the fact that Tyson was favored in the rematch, I had an unbendable belief in Holyfield. Why not? Holyfield whipped Tyson the first time, giving him all the mandatory mojo to win again, which he did.
And while I don't expect Tom Brady to flash his dental work on a Giants defender's ear, the principle is the same.
But don't discount New England's need for revenge. The Giants won more than a football game four years ago; they gelded perfection, stole New England's manhood in front of a few hundred million stunned viewers. And Brady and Belichick surely haven't forgotten. But it says here the Giants can do it again.
And beyond pedigree, with all due respect to Tom Brady's bona fides as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, it was the Giants who whacked their way through a much thicker playoff jungle to get here this year. Could the Patriots have marched through Green Bay and San Francisco instead of baking the relative cupcakes of Denver and Baltimore, at home, with a missed, chip shot field goal laminating their ticket to Indianapolis? Probably not. And lets not forget that Big Blue has big-game QB of their own. Eli Manning simply plies his trade with a fraction of the public traction that Brady garners.
With so many subplots to this Super Bowl, it's the rare time the airtime will be filled with authentic premises and predictions. Normally, the two-week gap between conference title games and the Big Game is a cold, interminable wasteland of Super Bowl Trivia and media blather.
In the end it's bow ties versus overalls, New England and New York. No matter what you hear over the next ten days, this game will be decided in the trenches. Will Brady's quick eyes and regal arm sling arrows into the Giants' suspect secondary, or will Big Blue's rabid pass rush keep Pretty Boy Brady on his back?
We have ten days to decide, to put our metaphorical money were our mouths are.
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