Since 2004, it has been a tradition for the defending Super Bowl Champion to kick off the NFL season the first Thursday in September. Last year, it was the Indianapolis Colts opening up their title defense against the New Orleans Saints.
Before the broadcast, many pondered who would be the next champ. Some people chose those exact two teams: the Saints and Peyton Manning's Colts. Some took the Patriots and some even went with the Bears to rebound from their Super Bowl loss.
For those who picked Manning to hoist the trophy, they were right. Except it was the other Manning. Eli Manning and the New York Giants were one of the least likely candidates to be the next Super Bowl Champion.
One of the reasons why you wouldn't expect it was that it was too good of a script. I mean, two brothers, quarterback brothers no less, winning back-to-back Super Bowls. That kind of stuff doesn't happen in real life, right?
There had been enough drama in the Giants' offseason to cover a soap opera. Their lead running back had retired early and blasted the team. Their general manager had retired. And their tight end just wouldn't stop running his mouth, even though he would stop running his routes on the field.
Another reason was that Giants had been to the playoffs two years in a row and had lost two years in a row. Making the playoffs consistently might seem like an indicator of a winner. However, every year there's always a team who has made the playoffs that just drops off.
The Bears were that team last year. The Steelers the year before. Pretty much no one, including myself, had the Giants even in the playoffs last season.
A year after they've won the Super Bowl, the Giants somehow find themselves in the position of underdogs again. They received the least amount of press for any Super Bowl team and have recently been overshadowed by the arrival of Brett Favre, the quarterback who lost to the Giants in the NFC title game, to their roommates, the New York Jets.
Looking at some sports reporters' picks, not only do very few pick the Giants to repeat, but few even have them wining their division.
Then again, they won the Super Bowl by NOT winning the division, so perhaps that wouldn't be such a bad thing.
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