Beasts from the East Emerge as Super Bowl Sunday is Set
Style News Wire | 1/24/2008, 4:39 p.m.
The New York Giants and the New England Patriots will both lace them up against each other on February 3rd in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl 42. Both will come in riding winning streaks of three games or more (and for the Patriots, it’s a whole lot more than three). And both teams will count the excellent play of their quarterbacks (one counted about 10 times more than the other) as major reasons for their trip to the “promised land”.
The Patriots season could best be described as a glimpse of perfection. The Pats have survived controversy, injuries, and the burn from the microscope of the public’s eye in the midst of going 18-0. They met all competition, and looked great while doing it.
The expectations for New England arose during the 2007 NFL Draft, after they sent a 4th round pick to the Oakland Raiders for former All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss. Moss and fellow wideouts Donta’ Stallworth and Wes Welker were brought in to be the much needed weapons that Pro Bowl QB Tom Brady desired after last season’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. All Moss did in his first season in Foxborough was set a new NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions, which were all apart of Brady’s NFL record 50 touchdowns, which broke Peyton Manning’s record of 49 in 2004.
Welker, the diminutive slot receiver, set a team record for touchdowns. In fact, every week seemed like a new franchise and league record-breaking day. The Patriots broke league records for points scored, touchdowns in a season, winning margin, among others. Brady also set a record for most games in a season with 3 or more touchdown passes. Twice in 2007, New England put 50 points or more on the board. In both games, the other team scored 14 or less. Ouch. Their 16-0 regular season culminated with a 38-35 victory over the Giants, who they’ll face again in two weeks.
The Giants, however, have traveled a path less celebrated than their rivals from Boston. They started the season 0-2 (ironically, the last team to start a season 0-2 and make the Super Bowl: the 2001 New England Patriots) amid a firestorm of criticism of their fourth-year quarterback, Eli Manning, brother of Peyton. Eli had another up and down season, which just happened to go all the way up when his team needed him the most.
The Giants ripped off seven straight road victories during the regular season, which ended in the aforementioned loss to the Patriots. Eli and the Giants played extremely well in the loss, instilling much needed confidence in the team and the quarterback. The road streak continued in Tampa Bay during the wild-card round of the playoffs, as Manning threw two touchdowns next to no turnovers in a 24-14 win in Florida against a high-rated defense.
The next two wins will do a lot to add to Eli’s lore as a big time quarterback as New York beat the top two seeded NFC teams in their home stadiums. They ousted the number one seeded Dallas Cowboys (who had outlasted the Giants in two regular season games this season) in Texas Stadium and suffered through -1 degree weather in frigid Green Bay to beat the Packers in overtime of a game where Eli was the best quarterback on the field (which included legend Brett Favre).
Now the two teams with the great stories will meet in the final game of the season. Will it be the first 19-0 season and status as the greatest team ever for the Patriots? Or will the magical run continue for Eli and the Giants? Only time will tell, and only about 70 million people will be watching.