Today, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, football fans will bear witness to the first ever Super Bowl overtime.
In a battle between the AFC champion New England Patriots and the NFC champion New York Giants, today is the day NFL history happens.
It just makes sense. Overtime in the Super Bowl is long overdue.
In regular season NFL games, on average, there is at least one overtime game per week. That’s one or more games out of 14-16 games that head into a fifth frame.
Thus, it’s a bit befuddling how there’s been 45 Super Bowls played without overtime.
Besides the odds of overtime within a regular NFL weekly slate, there’s also the factor that these title games typically feature two teams that are of nearly equal strength.
Moreover, c'mon, it’s the Super Bowl. Each of these matchups should be a highly competitive fight to the bitter end.
There’s simply no a better time to make NFL history in this year’s game.
On one side, you have two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady leading a Patriots team that’s enters today on a 10-game winning streak. On the other side, you have one-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning leading a Giants squad that’s only won five straight, but has arguably been the hottest team in the NFL.
Today’s game is a rematch of the Big Game four years ago, when the Giants accomplished the greatest Super Bowl upset in NFL history by knocking off the then-18-0 Patriots. Sure, the rosters have changed. But several of the key players have not … You think Brady, Coach Belichek and Wes Welker have forgot about that game? Not a chance.
Today's game features one of the NFL’s all-time greatest quarterback, New England’s Brady, against one of the fiercest pass rush attacks in recent history.
Today’s game features the second-worst pass defense in the league against arguably the hottest passing attack – Manning has thrown for 923 yards and eight touchdowns in three post-season games, he’ll face a Patriots defense that’s allowed an AFC-worst 4,703 passing yards this season.
Then there’s Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. The second-year player out of Arizona caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns this season (an NFL record for TDs by a TE). Yes, he’s been nursing an injury this week (and he may not play as many snaps as he’s accustomed to), but Gronk will play and will have an impact. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound beast has been a matchup nightmare for opponents all season - this will be no different against the Giants today.
Meanwhile, New York has some dangerous passing options of its own. There’s newcomer Victor Cruz – who set a Giants’ single-season record with 1,536 reception yards this year. And on Eli’s other wing, there’s Hakeem Nicks – who’s torched NFC secondary’s this postseason to the tune of 18 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns. Both Cruz and Nicks have big play capability that’s vastly superior to the Patriots’ downfield threats.
New England has the better record, at 15-3 including postseason. The Giants salvaged a once 6-6 record to its current 12-7 mark.
Oddsmakers have the Patriots favored by three points; yet most national pundits appear to be picking the Giants.
This game is an intriguing battle, to say the least. I’ve already proclaimed overtime ... So who comes out on top?
I’m going with the Giants … 27, 24.