In what seems to be football’s Year of the Rematch on the pro and college level, the 2012 Super Bowl will be a repeat of the epic Super Bowl XLII.
It’s the same teams, the same coaches, the same quarterbacks. Defensive end Justin Tuck will still be on the Giants’ defensive line to wreak havoc on Tom Brady.
Once again, the Giants even managed to ruin the heavily favored Green Bay Packers’ playoff hopes at Lambeau Field and win the NFC Championship by a field goal, although they accomplished those feats in two separate games this time around.
All that’s missing now is the Giants’ quest for vengeance for their 38-35 loss in week 17 of the 2007 season and the Patriots’ bid for perfection.
Even though Super Bowl XLVI offers a rematch, it still has the look of a great game. Even to those of us who would rather have seen different teams make it to the big game, this is an acceptable bout.
That’s a whole lot more than you can say about the BCS National Championship, which featured an SEC-only rematch of a regular season game. It was a painful, offense-free, lopsided affair, in which Alabama skunked LSU, 21-0.
Most football fans knew that the BCS match was going to be low-quality football. What is it that makes the Super Bowl rematch more appealing? Why do we have hope that this rematch, at least, will satiate our desire for a good championship football game?
The answer is simple: The two teams in the Super Bowl have both run the gauntlet of the playoffs.
LSU and Alabama were selected to appear in the National Championship by an arbitrary ranking process. This process left a lot of doubt as to whether these were the two teams that really deserved to be playing, especially with the great performances by both Oklahoma State and Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
Not to mention, Boise State could have been more than a match for either of the SEC contenders.
The only way the 9-7 Giants would have gone to the Super Bowl is if they bought tickets.
Instead, the Giants of this year took the route of the Packers of yesteryear by winning their last few regular season games and getting red-hot for a playoff run that began in Wild Card Weekend.
They beat three quality teams, dominating the Atlanta Falcons, stopping the Packers and edging out the San Francisco 49ers with good special teams play. The Patriots, for their part, shut down an upstart Denver Broncos team before ending the run of the Baltimore Ravens.
Fans may not have wanted to witness a rematch, but there is little room for doubt that these two teams deserve to play in the Super Bowl.
We can be pretty confident that this will be a good game because each of these teams played good games after the regular season was over in order to earn their spot. There’s plenty of star power for both teams on each side of the football.
Playoff games kept them sharp, as opposed to taking a month off before playing in a bowl.
Here’s the moral of the story: If you have a playoff system, you don’t get 21-0 blowouts. Playoff systems yield instant classics, or at least reasonably good games.
Who knows? Maybe this rematch will stand up to the original. Either way, football fans have a playoff system to thank for it.