Super Bowl 2012: 7 Players Who Have Something to Prove in Big Game
Could we ask for more?
Hundreds of story lines will pop up from now until the night of February 5th when one team hoists the Lombardi Trophy, but this one carries the most weight.
Who has a chips on his shoulder and who needs to make an impact in Indianapolis?
Here are the seven players who have something to prove in Super Bowl XLVI.
Chad Ochocinco, New England Patriots
Of course, Chad Ochocinco is on this list.
If there is a player on either team who hasn't proved anything at all, it's him.
After leaving the Cincinnati Bengals, Ochocinco has been irrelevant in New England this season. He caught just 15 passes in 15 games and scored just once.
The veteran receiver was inactive for Sunday's game against Baltimore due to the death of his father. That must be some kind of motivation for him.
If he is active for the Super Bowl, could Ochocinco shut up his critics? Could he have his David Tyree moment?
He needs to.
Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants
The most vocal member of the New York Giants is unquestionably Brandon Jacobs. He might also be the most dangerous come February 5th.
Against a weak Patriot defense, the run game might be what gets New York another championship. We know Ahmad Bradshaw will show up, but it is Jacobs who is a question mark.
After barking throughout the season that his team is the best, Jacobs has this chance to set all doubts aside.
A big game from him could mean a big celebration in New York.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Believe it or not, Tom Brady might have the most to prove in this year's Super Bowl. That has to worry the Giants.
In Sunday's win over Baltimore, Brady said it himself. "He sucked."
While it could just be how he plays against the Ravens (three touchdowns, seven interceptions in his last three games), Brady now has a chip on his shoulder for the next two weeks.
With three Super Bowl rings already, Brady shouldn't have much to prove in the big game. But he does.
Being outplayed by Eli Manning can't happen again, can it?
Justin Tuck, New York Giants
Justin Tuck has gone from the best pass-rushing option in New York to the third-best. How does he not have something to prove?
The defensive end had trouble staying healthy and played in only nine games this season, registering just 37 tackles and five sacks while Osi Umenyiora and youngster Jason Pierre-Paul shined.
While Tuck has looked and played better in the playoffs, he still has a lot of work to do in Lucas Oil Stadium.
This is the captain's chance to get to Tom Brady and show that he is still the best pass rusher in New York.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Chances are we'll see Julian Edelman take the field on defense again for New England.
Sunday, Edelman was matched up with Baltimore's Anquan Boldin for numerous plays. While Joe Flacco didn't attack the mismatch as much as he should have, it still worked against New England.
Against New York, Edelman would have something to prove, not just for himself, but his coaching staff as well.
Edelman's speed matches up quite nicely against the Giants' receivers. If he has a good game, Belichick's staff looks brilliant and Edelman will look like a legitimate defensive option.
Antrel Rolle, New York Giants
Antrel Rolle has been New York's best defensive player this postseason, so how does he have anything to prove in Indianapolis?
He likes to make guarantees.
After dethroning the Green Bay Packers, Rolle said the Giants couldn't be defeated. He also guaranteed the playoffs back during New York's regular-season struggles.
Although he is right so far, Rolle needs to have a good game and help his team win to cover himself. No one likes a liar.
New York's Field-Goal Unit
There may not have been a better picture this year than Giants' punter/holder Steve Weatherford running around like a madman after beating San Francisco Sunday.
However, before Lawrence Tynes' game-winning kick, the special teams took a delay-of-game penalty. Eli Manning saw time running out and tried to warn coach Tom Coughlin, but wasn't quick enough.
Obviously, it didn't matter. Tynes booted it between the uprights. But what if he had missed it? We could be talking about a 49ers-Patriots Super Bowl.
Everyone on the Giants' field-goal team needs to pay more attention on Super Bowl Sunday. If it happens again, it could cost them dearly.
Silly mistakes have no place in the Big Game.