Three Super Bowl Rings, Seven Pro Bowls and 50 touchdown passes in a single season.
Tom Brady has had one of the best careers of a quarterback in NFL history and despite leading his team to a fifth Super Bowl performance, it is the opposing quarterback that is getting the most attention from the national media leading up to this week’s game.
Brady has remained quiet as his team went unnoticed this season despite posting a 13-3 record and clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
In Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots entered the game 18-0 and had put up one of the best statistical seasons in NFL team history. The Giants entered on a hot winning streak and hoped for a upset over the perennial favorites from New England.
The rest is history. The Giants, led by a miraculous catch by little known wide receiver David Tyree, went on to win 17-14 in one of the greatest upsets in sports history.
Now, in 2012, the two teams are back on the big stage and once again set up for a great battle.
The Giants, who have faced five straight “win or go home” scenarios, are on a streak similar to the 2007 team and are led by the play of quarterback Eli Manning.
The Patriots, however, are playing offense as efficiently as we’ve seen in the National Football League and the idea of this rematch being extra motivation for Tom Brady and the Patriots could be very accurate.
Here are the three reasons Tom Brady will get the best of New York this time around.
We’ve already seen this episode once this post season.
Tom Brady gets overlooked despite his historic NFL resume by the national media because the opposing quarterback happens to be having a pretty special season by their standards.
Somebody ask Tim Tebow how that worked out for him.
When Tebow and the Broncos traveled to Gillette Stadium for a divisional round playoff matchup with the Patriots, all the attention was focused on the Denver signal caller and his success prior to the game.
Tom Brady, however, had no sympathy.
Brady came out and has one of his best postseason performances of all time, throwing for 363 yards and six touchdowns (five of which came in the first half) en route to a 45-10 dominating victory. Brady played with emotion, energy and passion as the team steamrolled all over a Denver defense that had been considered one of the stronger units around the league.
Now, Brady is facing a similar situation in the Super Bowl with the rematch vs. Eli Manning. Manning has gotten much of the attention as he attempts to add a second Super Bowl to his resume and back up his own personal claim of being amongst the NFL elite quarterbacks.
Manning’s first Super Bowl victory came over Brady’s Patriots and it’s hard not to imagine the New England signal caller wanting a little bit of revenge for what happened back in 2008.
Whether Brady and the Patriots admit it or not, the game from 2008 is certainly on their minds, especially the quarterback's.
Tom Brady plays best with a chip on his shoulder.
He showed it against the Broncos twice this season. Now, I won’t be surprised if he does it again.
The 2007 Super Bowl win by the Giants was characterized by a scary front four on defense that provided a pass rush incomparable to any other in the league. With Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan on each end providing pressure, it was a tough matchup for the Patriots to deal with.
This year, the pass rush for the Giants is just as effective, but what many fail to realize is that they face a much different New England team than they did in 2007.
That year’s team was dominated by a deep threat in Randy Moss, who had the all-time best statistical season by a wide receiver. Moss’ speed and size at the outside receiver position gave the Patriots a downfield attacking offense that took many deep shots. Brady was consistently taking seven step drops in the pocket which opened up more time for the Giants' pass rush to get to the quarterback.
This year’s team, however, is extremely different. The Patriots are dominant in the short passing game with their two tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, along with receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch.
Brady is taking fewer steps back in the pocket and has a much quicker release. Because of that, it will be a much more difficult task for the Giants' front line to get to him in passing scenarios.
While the Giants' pass rush is certainly bound to have some type of effect on the game, it will not have the impact it did in 2007 when it was the key role in the team’s upset victory.
While Randy Moss had one of the best years of any player in NFL back in 2007, Rob Gronkowski did about the same this season at the tight end position.
The second-year player out of Arizona had 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and a NFL tight end record 17 touchdowns. His numbers were good enough for sixth in receiving yards and first in touchdown receptions.
His teammate Wes Welker continued his consistency this season with a league-leading 122 receptions and nine touchdowns. He also ranked second in the league in receiving yards with 1,569.
The combination of these two players make the Patriots a tough matchup for any team to play. The Giants, specifically, simply cannot cover these two.
New York will rely heavily on their pass rush to make up for the disadvantage in the secondary, but with Welker running short routes underneath, Brady will be able to get the ball out consistently with success. Welker should have a big day running short patterns that will later open up the field for the tight ends Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Moss provided a deep threat that was extremely scary at the time with Brady.
However, when facing this Giants team, the combination of Welker and Gronkowski make the Patriots much more dangerous.