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National media offers final thoughts before Super Bowl XLVI

02.05.12 at 2:11 pm ET
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As the nation awaits the star-studded culmination to the 2011-12 NFL season, media outlets from across the country have been offering takes, opinions and inisight on Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI match-up between the Patriots and Giants.

Sports Illustrated NFL writers Don Banks and Chris Burke even go as far as offering detailed predictions as to why each team will take home the Lombardi Trophy.

With revenge for their Super Bowl XLII loss to the Giants still fresh in their mind, Banks gives the edge to the Patriots.

Wrote Banks: Someone high up in the Patriots organization asked me this week who I liked in this game, and as I answered he just nodded and said I was seeing it the same way he was seeing it. I told him that while it seemed like a complete toss-up on the surface, my gut was telling me to lean toward New England because of how much Tom Brady and Bill Belichick burn to get even with the Giants for that monumental upset and ruined perfect season of four years ago.

Trite maybe, but pride is a great motivator, and that memorable Giants victory in Arizona was, by far, the most bitter pill that Brady and Belichick have had to swallow in their 12-year run together in New England. They lost some of their aura and invincibility that night in the desert, and they’re not the type to quietly forgive and forget. I think they want this one as payback, and when two teams are this evenly matched, motivation can be the edge that matters.

Burke, on the other hand, thinks that the combination of a “dominant defensive line” and a surging Eli Manning will be the difference that leads the Giants to victory.

Wrote Burke: Justin Tuck told the media that he thought the Giants’€™ defensive line was being ‘€œoverhyped’€ in the run-up to the Super Bowl ‘€” ‘€œWe understand that no matter how good we are up front, we still need the guys on the back end to play well and vice versa,’€ Tuck said.

That’€™s all well and good, but New York’€™s defensive strength clearly lies up front, where Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and a host of others provide the Giants with one of the game’€™s premier pass-rushing units. All of those players talked this week about the importance of getting to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, at least to hurry his throws, if not to chalk up some hits and sacks.

The Sporting News, too, got two of its writers — Clifton Brown and Vinnie Iyer — to offer perspective and ultimately predictions on the game.

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Super Bowl Tweets, 2 p.m.: Patriots’ practices ’10 times better’ than before last trip to big game

02.05.12 at 2:01 pm ET
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There has been a wave of optimism coming from players Sunday afternoon on Twitter — along with a smattering of information via national media members — as Super Bowl XLVI approaches.

In a tweet this afternoon by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, hope was raised for Patriots fans everywhere.

Might mean nothing or something. But one Pats official said practices this week were “10 times better’ than practices before Super Bowl XLII.

NFL Network reporter Albert Breer recently tweeted One Giant texted me this morning on Coughlin’s stirring speech: ‘He spoke from the heart. We are ready.’

As for the players …

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz tweeted: I play this game for my family and the people from Paterson, NJ that understand the struggle.

A tweet was also sent out by Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez radiating positive energy about today’s game, saying: All love to my fans and hello good morning to all my haters!!! Imma put my ring on my wedding finger cuz I’m married to the game!!!

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Players take Super Bowl Sunday energy to Twitter

02.05.12 at 1:21 pm ET
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For the past two weeks, Patriots and Giants players have been waiting calmly and patiently to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium to prove who is the class of the NFL. As the day has finally come, players are starting to let that pent-up energy out on the best platform they can think of — Twitter.

Aaron Hernandez, in particular, has been vocal about his excitement and confidence about his team’s ability to win the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl tonight.

“All love to my fans and hello good morning to all my haters!!!” Hernandez tweeted Sunday morning. “Imma put my ring on my wedding finger cuz I’m married to the game!!!”

The Patriots tight end did not limit his enthusiasm to a single tweet, either.

“Watch the show cuz it sure will be interesting for the pats fans out there!!!” he tweeted. “History in the making!!! I see nobody !!!”

On the other side of the ball for the Patriots, linebacker Gary Guyton shared the same eager sense of anticipation.

“last night i felt like a lil boy waiting on christmas… lol,” Guyton tweeted.

Defensive tackle Kyle Love echoed an almost entirely identical sentiment.

“2day is the big day!” Love tweeted Sunday morning. “It’s been a long time coming, last night was like the night b4 the first day of school or Christmas! Let’s get it……”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Chad Ochocinco, Chris Canty

Chris Canty predicts: Giants 28, Patriots 17

02.05.12 at 12:38 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — In a response for predictions on Twitter, Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty tweeted Sunday, just hours before entering Lucas Oil Stadium for Super Bowl XLVI, that his Giants would beat the Patriots.

Not only that but he gave a score.

Giants 28, NewEngland 17 he tweeted, responding to a solicitation from ESPN’s Jason Romano.

Canty gained the spotlight during Super Bowl week when he talked about how nice it would be to have a parade in Manhattan’s “Canyon of Heroes” if the Giants beat the Patriots.

“Get ready for a great day on Super Bowl Sunday ‘€¦ and get ready for a parade on Tuesday,” Canty said on Wednesday.

“I don’t care, doesn’t matter,” Canty said when asked if the prediction might ruffle feathers. “Obviously, Tom Brady made a statement at their pep rally [last Sunday]. Obviously, both teams are here to try to win a football game. It just is what it is.”

Canty later said his statement wasn’t meant to be taken as “bulletin board” material.

“I’m not trying to inflame anybody or anything like that,” Canty said. “I want our fans to be excited about the game that’s coming up on Sunday. It’s going to be a great football game. It’s going to be a 60-minute game, and hopefully we can put ourselves in the best position to be successful.”

Read More: Chris Canty, New England Patriots, New York Giants, nfl

Live Blog: Following all the (Twitter) action leading up to Super Bowl XLVI

02.05.12 at 12:34 pm ET
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Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl roundup: New York papers wave the pom-poms for Giants

02.05.12 at 11:28 am ET
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Even amidst the constant bustle in a city that proudly never sleeps, the Super Bowl tends to make a fair share of noise. And with the hometown Giants playing tonight on football’s biggest stage, the New York newspapers are unsurprisingly dominated by Super Bowl XLVI.

Beginning right where the Patriots and Giants left off in Super Bowl XLII in 2008, Steve Serby of the New York Post predicts another Giants victory behind the arm of Eli Manning and his ability to once again best Tom Brady.

Wrote Serby: It used to be that Tom Brady was the last man you would want standing between you and the Lombardi Trophy. It was Eli Manning who shattered Brady’€™s aura of invincibility one magical, momentous night four years ago, and it is Eli Manning who will deliver an emphatic reminder tonight against Brady and the Patriots and bring the Lombardi Trophy back home. It is Eli Manning who has Brady’€™s number, and it is Eli Manning, more than any Giant, who knows how to finish. It is Eli Manning, unlike any other New York quarterback, who has not trembled at the sight of the diabolical man in the hoodie on the enemy sidelines, Darth [Bill] Belichick.

It is Eli Manning who shows up at Super Bowl XLVI with the right arm and brain his big brother always had and the toughness Phil Simms always displayed. It is Eli Manning who will be cheered wildly by the pro-Giants crowd inside Lucas Oil Stadium, and by fans all so eager to adopt Peyton’€™s little brother. ‘€œI think he’€™s battle-hardened,’€ Bill Parcells said. Now do you understand why Gisele wants family and friends to pray for Tommy? Yes, Eli is in Brady’€™s class … and Manning doesn’€™t have to flinch at the menace of Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck coming for his head.

Building on Serby’s final point, George Willis of the Post wrote that the Giants defensive line is ready to pressure, fluster and neutralize Brady just as it memorably did in the last Super Bowl match-up between these two teams.

Wrote Willis: It’€™s a chance to put the finishing touches on a season of triumph, which at one point looked much like one of misery. Tonight, this unit without a nickname will chase Brady and history. It all comes down to simple math, really. There won’€™t be enough New England blockers to double team Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty and Dave Tollefson on the same play, which means Brady is going to be under pressure. The frequency of how much that happens and the amount of disruption caused will determine if the Giants beat the Patriots.

Many have speculated and talked at length about the factor of revenge in this year’s Super Bowl, given the history that exists between these teams and franchises. Some, most notably Patriots players, have downplayed the importance of revenge.

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bill Parcells, Chris Canty, Dave Tollefson

Setting the Super Bowl scene: Patriots-Giants

02.05.12 at 10:48 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — The wait is finally over.

After two weeks of analysis, predictions and hype from both teams, the Patriots are set to take on the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI (6:30 p.m. ET NBC and Sportsradio WEEI 93.7 FM).

The Patriots will attempt to win their fourth NFL championship tonight here at Lucas Oil Stadium in the heart of Indiana as they take on the New York Giants in the much-anticipated rematch of Super Bowl XLII.

While the stadium is enclosed, the weather outside resembles that of previous Super Bowls in warm weather climate, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 40s.

The scene here is predictably busy and hectic at the last minute as parking lots are charging anywhere between $200 and $1000 for parking in and around the stadium.

Something else that is predictable is tight security. The NSA has declared this Super Bowl a ‘Level 1′ security event so there will be bomb-sniffing dogs and several layers of security for media and fans to pass through, alike. The stadium gates open for the general media at 2 p.m., with kickoff slated four and a half hours later.

All eyes will be on No. 87 for the Patriots as Rob Gronkowski and his injured left ankle take the field. He is expected to start and play in the game, barring any last-minute setbacks. He was listed as probable on Friday’s injury report and showed no limp in the 90 minutes the team was on the field for a photo opportunity on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

‘€œI think he’€™s doing better,’€ Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of Gronkowski, before the team went on the field to begin the session. ‘€œI think he’€™s doing a little better each day. We’€™ll just have to see where things (are).’€

Belichick has been notably relaxed and laid back this week as his team prepares for a shot at its fourth championship.

‘€œThese guys have worked hard, they’€™ve earned this trip,” Belichick said of Saturday’s photo shoot. “We know we’€™re here for a job but it’€™s also a fun thing to be part of this game so it’€™s fun to be seeing them enjoying it. This is what we all work for. To be here. You want to be here, you want to enjoy it, there’€™s a job to do but you want to be able to enjoy the trip.’€

With a win, Belichick and Tom Brady will join Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw as the only head coach/quarterback combo with four Super Bowl titles.

Brady can also make history tonight by himself. With a win, he will earn his 17th playoff victory, which will establish a new NFL record, surpassing the 16 of his boyhood idol, Joe Montana. A win will also move him into a tie for the most Super Bowl championships in NFL history, matching the four of Bradshaw and Montana. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Art Rooney, Bill Belichick, Chuck Noll, Joe Montana

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