As a professed lover of sports and real-life lady, I am here to write the Ladyguide to the Super Bowl (insert ominous music somewhere around here). I am aware that there might be individuals out there not as interested in this annual event as I am (read: it normally dominates my life at this time of year and is ESPECIALLY owning it now that the Patriots are in) – I’m hoping that my one attempt to sway you into the World of Football will succeed. Let’s begin!
Super Bowl XLVI will be a showdown between the New York Giants (9-7) and the New England Patriots (13-3). This championship game, a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, is only the sixth in National Football League history to be a rematch of a previous Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLVI will be taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana ““ this is the first ever championship game ever played in the city of Indianapolis. Hey, would you like another fun fact? This is only the fourth Super Bowl to take place in a cold-weather city! Sorry, fellas ““ you’ll have to keep freezing your asses off for just a little bit longer.
Both teams enter Indianapolis with extremely strong squads. Here are some important names to remember while watching the game:
New York Giants
Eli Manning ““ As quarterback for the Giants, Manning set career highs in nearly every statistical category this season. He threw for a franchise record of 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns (16 interceptions), ending the season with a passer rating of 92.9. After years of being compared to brother Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts), Eli has truly come into his own as a quarterback.
Hakeem Nicks ““ While slightly smaller than other productive receivers, Nicks is extremely effective on the field. He has put up 1,000+ yard seasons both this year and last and, in playoff games this year, has brought in 18 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns.
Victor Cruz ““ Without a catch until week two of the season, Cruz’s production this season has been extremely surprising, but welcome, to Giants fans. He finished third in the league with receiving yards (1,536 yards total), second only to Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions) and Wes Welker (New England Patriots). Between this and his nine touchdowns this season, Cruz is an absolute offensive threat.
Ahmad Bradshaw ““ As a running back for the Giants, Bradshaw has done damage to opposing teams all season. With 659 yards and nine touchdowns, he was the team’s leading rusher ““ in addition, he has been reliable in the passing game, bringing in 34 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
Jason Pierre-Paul ““ In his rookie season last year, Pierre-Paul finished the season with zero starts, 30 tackles, and four and a half sacks. This season, he has started 15 games, finishing fourth in the NFL with 16.5 sacks. He recorded a sack against the Patriots in their regular season match-up ““ he will be expected to pressure Tom Brady in the big game on Sunday.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady ““ Starting every game this season, Brady completed 65.6% of his passes for a career-high 5,246 yards (the second highest total in NFL history) and 39 touchdown passes. Additionally, he contributed 109 yards and three scores on the ground. Brady is well known for his ability to come back in the last minute of games and his calm demeanor under pressure. This will be Brady’s fifth Super Bowl in 10 seasons as a starter ““ if all goes well for the Patriots, Brady will be taking home his fourth Super Bowl ring.
Wes Welker ““ If you have heard about the Patriots in the past few years, you have undoubtedly heard of Wes Welker. While smaller than most football players ““ he is currently listed at 5’9″ and 185 pounds ““ he has become one of the best wide receivers in the game today. He led the NFL in receptions for the second time in three years this past season and has caught more than 100 passes for the fourth time in five years.
Rob Gronkowski ““ Selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2010 draft, Gronkowski has been a massive part of the Patriots’ success this year. With single-season records for tight ends for most receiving touchdowns (17), most total touchdowns (18), and most receiving yards (1,327) this year, he has been a threat to every one of the Patriots’ opponents. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl, it is likely that Gronkowski was a huge part of it.
BenJarvis Green-Ellis ““ New England has had several key contributors in the ground game this season. Their main rusher was Green-Ellis, who completed the regular season with 667 yards and 11 touchdowns. Commonly known as “˜The Law Firm’ (due to his conglomerate of names), he is in his second season as the Patriots primary running back. Most notably, he has never fumbled the football in his professional career.
Stephen Gostkowski ““ Gostkowski is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history and, even more impressively, one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. He is a consistent scorer and is only the second player in NFL history to score 500 points in his first four seasons. After scoring a field goal in week 16 of the regular season, Gostkowski made a tackle on Clyde Gates (Miami Dolphins) on the subsequent kickoff that was deemed “pivotal” to the Patriots eventual victory. This versatility, along with his consistency and accuracy, has made him an invaluable part of the Patriots’ squad.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on February 5, Super Bowl XLVI is expected to be a heated rematch between two extremely good teams. After losing four years ago to the Giants in what is considered to be one of the most incredible upsets in NFL history, the New England Patriots are looking for revenge. All-day media coverage precedes what is looking to be one of the more exciting Super Bowls in recent history ““ no matter the outcome, football fans are in for a big treat with this game between these two powerhouse teams.