reasoned thought for an age of uncertainty
With the New York Giants and New England Patriots advancing to Super Bowl XLVI, a full-fledged sports rivalry has officially come to fruition. In fact, Sports Illustrated is already calling this year’s game the Revenge Bowl.
The cities of New York and Boston have long had an intense rivalry in sports, stemming from Yankees-Red Sox history. And if there is one thing that New York sports fans love more than winning, it is winning in a way that causes the city of Boston pain (and, make no mistake, vice versa). Boston certainly has had its fair share of pain, from eight decades without a World Series title (during which the Yankees won the World Series 26 times) to the Patriots loss in Super Bowl XLII, during which the Giants (13-6) ended the Patriots’ (18-0) run at a perfect season and stole away the Super Bowl title.
But then there is more. The Giants, who barely made the 2007-08 playoffs on the wild card, were led by Eli Manning, the younger brother of Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback and long-time Patriots rival Peyton Manning. In the previous year, the Colts defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship after Peyton Manning lead an epic comeback and went on to win Super Bowl XLI. In the 2007-08 playoffs, the Colts were seeded #2, but fell in the quarterfinal, sparing the Patriots from facing their long-time rival. So the Patriots got the Giants and little brother Eli Manning instead, who threw for 255 yards, including this spectacular catch by David Tyree, and stole away the MVP from Tom Brady.
Like 2012, 2008 was also an election year, and brought with it a loss to another of Boston’s own: Mitt Romney (who missed most of the game due to campaign travel). Will 2012 bring redemption to the Patriots and Romney alike? I digress.
This year Peyton Manning suffered a recurring injury to his neck which sidelined most of his season, and he has recently been the subject of retirement rumors. While the Colts slid to the bottom of the league in his absence, the Giants (9-7) and Eli Manning beat the Cowboys for the division title and have since laid out the top two seeds in the NFC (the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers). While the Giants are on a roll right now, having won 5 straight, the Patriots are hotter, having won 10. In fact, the last game the Patriots lost was back in November. The only problem, though, is that was against the Giants.
Then there is the matter of where Super Bowl XLVI is being held this year: Indianapolis, home of Peyton Manning and the Colts. You can be sure that Peyton will be watching his brother from sidelines. Where baseball brought the the Curse of the Bambino, could this be the the Curse of the Mannings?