|Super Bowl roundup: New York papers wave the pom-poms for Giants||02.05.12 at 11:28 am ET|
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. “I 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.
Mark Cannizzaro of the Post, however, doesn’t quite see it that way, noting that it’s doubtful the Patriots aren’t thinking too much about avenging the ghosts of Super Bowl XLVII.
Wrote Cannizzaro: There are seven Patriots players on this team who played on that 2007 team that lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., and every one of them — as if they had just come out of the lobotomy recovery room — droned on about revenge being no factor whatsoever in their motivation time around.
“It wasn’t hard at all to get over that loss,’’ Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, one of the seven, said. “Both teams are different now. It’s just you have the two same teams that played playing again, but as far as revenge, I don’t think there is anything big there. It’s another football game.’’
Wilfork sounded a lot like a used car salesman trying to dupe you into overpaying for a clunker. The 6-foot-5, 350-plus-pounder sounded as if he were trying to convince you his pants waist size hovers somewhere between 34 and 36 inches. Don’t buy it.
Four years ago, the dynamic receiving duo of Randy Moss and Wes Welker was one factor that helped propel the Patriots to the Super Bowl. This season, it has been a lethal and unorthodox tight end combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez that has been so crucial to the Patriots’ success.
But Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has what he feels is a blueprint to stopping the Patriots’ tight ends.
Wrote Mehta: Giants’ defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s biggest challenge in Super Bowl XLVI will be mixing coverages. The inherent dilemma of playing Cover 2 — with two safeties splitting the field — is opening up the middle of the field. The two variations of Cover 2 are “2-man” with man-to-man coverage underneath with two safeties providing help in the deeper portions of the field, or simply “Cover 2 zone” with all areas of the field zoned off.
Also in the Daily News, columnist Mike Lupica looks at the hotly anticipated quarterback match-up between Brady and Manning.
Post columnist Mike Vaccaro writes that people’s fear of Brady is one of many reasons to detest the New England signal-caller.
Ebenezer Samuel of the Daily News looks at how two of the star offensive players in the Super Bowl – Welker and Victor Cruz — have redefined the role of the slot receiver in football.
Wrote Samuel: The days of the Brandon Stokley-type possession slot receiver are passing as NFL teams search for dynamic inside threats. A few years ago, teams focused on running the ball, and three-wide offensive sets were reserved for third downs. But that has changed. In an effort to keep increasingly blitz-happy defenses at bay, NFL offenses have turned to spread formations, affording quarterbacks with more bailout options. Those options rapidly grew into more than bailouts; they have become playmakers. Welker arrived in New England and instantly became Tom Brady’s favorite target, catching 112 passes in his first season. This season, he set career marks for TDs (nine) and yards (1,569).
In today’s edition of The New York Times, Sam Borden looks at how Manning has endured even under the most intense pressure in his career, particularly of late.
Gary Myers of the Post talked to several of the Giants’ current players who were also on the Super Bowl-winning ’08 team and notes the bond that still exists between those players.
Also in The New York Times, a feature by Bill Pennington goes in-depth on Cruz’s journey from UMass to NFL stardom — and how that trip was nearly derailed on several occasions.
And finally, Judy Battista of The Times examines the similarity in philosophies between the ownership families of the Giants and Patriots.
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