People keep asking me, "Who do you like in the Super Bowl?" I have a hard time answering it. Let's face it. It's like one of those questions they ask someone after he gets knocked out and is starting to come-to: Who's the president? What's your name?
It sort of borders on the demeaning. But it is also a query based on legitimate confusion. The NFL has built itself on parity, and yet the Patriots have completely ruined the grand plan. No one can quite figure out how they've done it. But they have. Remember a few years ago when everyone was complaining that there were no great teams anymore? There are no more dynasties!
At its heart football is the ultimate team game and during every era, a coach is able to create the ultimate team. Halas, Lombardi, Walsh, Johnson, Belichick. Fans have a hard time realizing they are watching history until its over. The Patriots have had a perfect season in a league in which every team has a chance, except maybe the Dolphins, on a week-to-week basis. Still, people who started the football season by watching the "combines" on the NFL Network (guilty) to training camp, the regular season, and the play-offs, there is a desperation setting in about Sunday's Super Bowl. The Big Game is not always the best game, but it's rarely so one-sided as this one appears to be, and the NFL has conditioned us to expect competitive games. The Giants because they play in the NFL must have a chance, right?
1. Must protect Tom Brady, and his gimpy foot.
2. Adjust to blitzes--and the Giants will have to bring them--with screens. "Wes Welker for 15 yards," might be a common call.
3. Play an average game without turnovers.
1. Bring a five-man pass rush. Pray that the announcer says, "Now entering the game, Matt Cassel
2. Control the game on the ground to keep it close.
3. Attack the Pats semi-weakness: lack of quickness in the linebacker corps.
Las Vegas has the Patriots at 11.5 favorites. (Tim Mara might even take those odds.) The Pats could possibly be the best team ever. They play in a much stronger conference. New England has the best QB, coach, receiver, and an equal, or better, defense to the G-Men. In The Fray can't even think of a sentimental reason to pick the New York Football Giants.
If it wasn't already obvious, In The Fray's Pick: PATRIOTS