23 January 2012
All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again. Honestly, did we expect anything different?
You really couldn't ask for a better Super Bowl matchup than the Patriots and the Giants. The storylines pretty much write themselves.
Eli Manning has a chance to outdo Peyton. Tom Brady has his second chance to, perhaps, become the greatest post-season quarterback of all-time --if not out-and-out best quarterback.
Oh yeah, and then there's that whole rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl aspect.
Both teams are entering into Super Bowl XLIV coming off emotionally draining victories. The Patriots won in off a Ray Finkle-esque field goal choke by Billy Cundiff. It took overtime, on the road, for the Giants to make it back. But unlike in 2008, there is no definitive favorite going in with the Patriots currently sitting at just a 3 1/2 point favorite.
During the time between now and the game, we will be inundated with memories of 18-1*, of the Catch, the Scramble, and the Choke. We will be reminded, ad nasseum, of the little guys from New York who did the impossible. And the giants from New England who let the impossible slip away.
But more than that, this is Bill Belichick's chance to win post Spygate. This is Tom Coughlin's chance to show the people that called for his head, after the disappointing 2010 and 2011 campaigns, that they were wrong.
This is Eli's chance to show that he truly is an elite quarterback. It's Brady's chance, after a relatively un-Brady-like performance against the Ravens, to show he is still a clutch performer. It is the moment when Eli could show that he, not his brother, is the main rival to Tom Brady. It is Tom Brady's chance to dispell that idea.
And this is the Patriots' chance to show that the 2008 game against the Giants was a fluke, while it is the Giants' chance to show it was not.
As much as I loved the story of Alex Smith's redemption story, and as much as I believed --still believe-- that any one of the four teams who played yesterday could have realistically won in Indianapolis, I don't think I would have wanted the last two teams to be anyone other than who they ended up being.
February 5, 2012 is a day for redemption for either the Patriots or the Giants. It could be the final chapter in the book of Brady, or the second prologue to the book of Eli. Everyone will be watching to see which teams show up. And that's the way it should be.
Abram Chamberlain blogs about Major League Soccer and the United States Men's National Team (amongst other things). He is the founder of the soccer blogsite VivaLaFutbol. Follow him on Twitter @MindOfAbram.