NFL Alphabet Super Bowl: Brady, Manning, and Your A-Z Guide to Super Bowl XLVI
Super Bowl XLVI is 24 hours away as the world anxiously awaits as two big-name quarterbacks from big-time markets prepare to duel in the biggest sporting event of the year. Just the way Goodell—and America—likes it.
Once all the canned quotes and obligatory hype dies down, the New York Giants will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. With a large viewing audience expected to continue the two-year trend of making the Super Bowl the most-watched event in history, a vast majority of viewers will be of the casual variety, necessitating the second annual guide to the Super Bowl, organized alphabetically.
This guide will give you everything you need to know going into what should be a spectacular game, thus enhancing the viewing experience for you and those around you who won't have to field mundane questions during critical moments.
A. Ahmad Bradshaw
The lead running back of the New York Giants' suddenly effective two-headed rushing attack, many consider Ahmad Bradshaw to be the best running back on the field come Sunday.
With both quarterbacks likely to have big days, Bradshaw could be the X-factor in leading the Giants to a second Super Bowl win over the Patriots.
B. Bill Belichick
The head coach of the New England Patriots is widely regarded as not only the best coach currently in the NFL, but possibly the best coach of all time.
Belichick's spot in the NFL Hall of Fame was secured long ago, so this year's Super Bowl is just as much about legacy as it is about redemption.
Coaching in his fifth Super Bowl, with a win on Sunday, Belichick will join former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll as the only NFL head coach to win four Super Bowls.
C. Chad Ochocinco
Once considered an elite wide receiver, the loquacious Chad Ochocinco has been NFL wallpaper as he attempts to adjust to the Patriot way like a Palestinian trying to learn Hebrew.
Once a dynamic wide receiver known just as much for his bark as his bite, Ochocinco has been reduced to the butt of many jokes.
Vegas has joined in on the fun, as one of the many Super Bowl prop bets ask the bettor to select an over/under of the amount of catches Ochocinco will have come Super Bowl XLVI. The line is currently at 1/2.
Indianapolis used to play host to the RCA Dome. Now known affectionately as the house that Peyton built, Lucas Oil Stadium will house this year's Super Bowl as the game will be played indoors for the second year in a row.
E. Eli Manning
Starting quarterback of the New York Giants, Eli Manning is farther away from being "Peyton's little brother" with every throw.
Often unfairly criticized for his body language, Manning has been a quiet winner for his entire career. Manning has never missed an NFL start, has a record-setting 15 fourth-quarter comebacks to his name, and no quarterback in NFL history has more road playoff victories.
With a third straight win over the Patriots come Sunday, Manning will have done twice what it took his Hall of Fame-bound brother three times to do once—beat the Patriots in the postseason.
F. February 3rd
A date that is held near and dear to the heart's of both teams. February 3rd is the same date that the (ongoing) Patriots dynasty began as Tom Brady and company pulled the upset over the St. Louis Rams in 2001.
More importantly, February 3rd, 2008 marks the last time the Giants and Patriots played in a Super Bowl in a game where the Patriots' perfect season was ruined.
The impending rematch is one of many selling points for this year's Super Bowl.
By far the most scrutinized player between the two Super Bowl teams, Rob Gronkowski is the Patriots' game-changing, record-setting tight end.
While the Patriots remain encouraged with Gronk's recovery since suffering an ankle injury at the hands of Patriot killer Bernard Pollard against the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game two weeks ago, all signs point to Gronkowski having a limited impact as a decoy come Sunday.
It's also possible that we could see another gutsy performance in the Super Bowl, a la Terrell Owens, who once suffered a sprained ankle and went on to catch nine passes for 122 yards.
The storyline that could have been, both Harbaugh brothers—Jim and John—were a missed field goal and a pair of Kyle Williams fumbles away from standing on the sidelines for a Super Bowl that nobody wanted.
A would-be matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers would have given us the first ever Super Bowl where the opposing coaches were brothers.
However, it would have given us a Super Bowl featuring two quarterbacks whose star power couldn't be any less pronounced and a defensive-minded game that would have rendered the commercials as the only highlights.
The host city for Super Bowl XLVI, Indianapolis has received rave reviews for its hospitality and relative ease of navigation due to all the hot spots being centrally located.
Far from the PR trainwreck that embarrassed Jerry Jones' pride and joy of the new Texas Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium has had its stuff together throughout the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
Arguably the most critical month in the NFL season as teams transition into playoff mode and the meek are separated from the elite.
The Giants had to win their last game of the season in January to get into the playoffs and have not looked back. The Patriots had secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, yet elected to play their starters en route to a hot playoff run of their own.
Combined the Patriots and Giants have gone 8-0 in the month of January in the regular season and the playoffs.
K. Killer Instinct
Killer instinct is vital in a playoff-caliber team, namely in its quarterback. Both Tom Brady and Eli Manning have shown such a killer instinct or the "clutch gene," if you will, as both have provided substantial highlight-reel material with their late-game heroics.
Tom Brady's theatrics late in games is a story unto itself, and while Eli Manning may not be universally considered the elite quarterback that he truly is (yet), it's important to note that he shares the record for most career fourth-quarter comebacks.
The battle of the trenches will likely be the deciding factor of this year's Super Bowl, just as it was for Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants boast the best front four in the NFL, while the Patriots have one of the better offensive lines. During their last meeting, it was pressure from the vaunted Giants front four that humanized the flawless Patriots en route to their first loss of the season.
And while the Giants have since lost future Hall of Famer Michael Strahan, they have since acquired current and future D-line stud Jason Pierre-Paul.
Iconic, yet vintage, pop star Madonna is yet another in a line of old-school acts who will perform at a Super Bowl halftime show as a result of the infamous wardrobe malfunction of Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Madonna is the personification of the NFL being scared to death of who would have been in her place had it not been for Janet Jackson's nip-slip of 2004—Lady Gaga.
In any event, Madonna still maintains some semblance of relevance, winning a Golden Globe award this year for her musical contributions to the movie W.E. and set to release her 12th studio album, MDNA. You can read her set list, here.
Expect changes to be made to unseat the Wikipedia machine that Madonna is reportedly none too pleased with at the moment.
The host network of this year's Super Bowl, NBC features arguably the best broadcasting tandem in the game in Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
With a stage this big, it's hard to imagine a booth more befitting to call such a captivating contest.
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has a chance to become the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl at 65 years of age.
The record is currently held by Dick Vermeil, who won a Super Bowl with the Rams at age 63.
P. Peyton Manning
A name you should get used to hearing throughout Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast, Peyton Manning's name is ingrained in this year's Super Bowl festivities for a host of reasons.
Manning's ongoing battle with career-threatening neck surgery has been the only football-related story that has even come close to rivaling the ubiquitous Super Bowl coverage, but the fun doesn't end there.
As noted before, the Giants and Patriots will be playing Super Bowl XLVI in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of Peyton's Indianapolis Colts.
Peyton Manning also has connections to both Super Bowl teams, as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is considered Manning's greatest rival, while Giants quarterback Eli Manning is his little brother.
Expect to see at least one camera shot of Peyton Manning in a luxury box somewhere in Indianapolis as he cheers on his younger brother to continue to outperform him in the postseason.
By far, the most important position on the field, especially in this day and age, it is no surprise that yet another Super Bowl will pit two likely Hall of Fame quarterbacks against one another.
Hell, the position of quarterback is so important that it has occupied the "Q" position in Alphabet Super Bowl for the second consecutive year.
For all the misinformed purists who still submit that defense wins championships in an age where three quarterbacks threatened Dan Marino's age-old passing record, consider this: Of the last five Super Bowls played, only one starting quarterback—Rex Grossman—was not of the Pro Bowl variety.
Whether or not it's being downplayed as the Patriots want you to believe, the element of revenge looms huge especially for an organization as competitive as the Patriots, whose bid for perfection was spoiled by the New York Giants in 2008.
This remains one of the more intriguing subplots of Super Bowl XLVI, as if a matchup this big needed it.
As in the Boston Red Sox, who will be played by the New England Patriots in the NFL's answer to Red Sox-Yankees.
With the Giants and Patriots playing in separate conferences, their rivalry is certainly limited. However, the last two games between these two east coast franchises were must-see TV and came down to the last play.
Their next game, yet another Super Bowl, will probably take on the same characteristics.
First name of the star quarterback for the New England Patriots (Brady), as well as the seasoned, underrated head coach of the New York Giants (Coughlin).
If you're a betting man, the smart money says that when it's all said and done, Tom will indeed hoist a Lombardi trophy.
Las Vegas says that the Giants are a 2.5-point underdog, but you wouldn't know it with how many are picking this game.
With the red-hot Giants winning multiple road games to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl, memories of 2008 when the Giants beat the Patriots in a similar situation loom large and have caused many to side with Big Blue.
The Giants have historically played better as an underdog, with their proverbial backs against the wall, so despite what the line in Vegas says, one has to ask if they are truly the underdog in this matchup?
V. Vince Lombardi
Name of the coach for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named after, Vince Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers of the '60s to five championships in seven years as one of the NFL's earliest dynasties.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick will look to add to his own collection of Lombardi trophies with a fourth Super Bowl win, which would undoubtedly put the namesake of the trophy in question should he win a fifth.
We've all had to hear it from embittered fans and conspiracy theorists who swear there is an east coast bias in sports.
They say that they're tired of seeing Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, and that they don't want to see a rematch between the Patriots and Giants, yet this Super Bowl will likely be the most watched in history.
Joe from the office spent all week talking about how he wasn't looking forward to this year's Super Bowl, but he'll be watching. They all will.
Just another typical day in the life of the hypocritical fanatic.
There are so many similarities between this year's Super Bowl matchup and that of 2008; it is almost as if the scenario was Xeroxed.
From the game being played in an indoor stadium, to the Giants having to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs, to the Patriots being outplayed in the AFC Championship game only to pull off the victory, to the Giants going into Lambeau Field and beating the Packers on their way to the Super Bowl, to the Giants winning in overtime by a field goal after a critical turnover in the NFC Championship game.
Take out the Patriots being undefeated and we basically have a carbon copy of Super Bowl XLII. It's safe to say that the Patriots, however, would like a different outcome this time around.
The role New York Yankees are, of course, being played by the New York Giants as the NFL's New York-Boston rivalry heats up.
And while the Red Sox and Yankees is arguably the best rivalry in sports, the Giants and Patriots have undoubtedly drawn the highest ratings.
The NFL is a game of inches, and no statistic is more important than turnovers. This year's matchup is so close to being even, that the team whose turnovers (and, for that matter, penalties) are closest to zero will be your Super Bowl XLVI champion.