Monday, January 21, 2008

The Mondays: Two Teams Left

Super Bowl XLII, it is more than a roman numeral, it is the biggest game of the 2007 NFL season. For two teams, it's the chance to say they went through the gauntlet and need only 60 more minutes to reach the top of the mountain.

In the end, only one team will leave Glendale, Arizona with the Lombardi Trophy. Here are the two teams that will meet in Glendale in 13 days:

New England Patriots- From week one up until now, the Patriots have been the best team in football. They have gone out and won every game they played in, both in the regular and postseason. They started the season out strong, dominating their way to the #1 seed in the AFC, which guaranteed them a Foxboro route to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots saw two dragons enter their kingdom, two teams with one goal in mind, knock out the king. Ultimately, the Patriots slayed their challengers. Their reward, a trip to Glendale for the right to gain immortality.

No matter what the Pats do, there's no denying their death grip over the other 31 NFL teams. Since September, all the talk has been about the Patriots, from Spygate, to the accusations of running up the score and to their will to win week-after-week.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls this decade. No other team has won even two this decade. One thing is true about the Patriots, they are a dynasty, much like the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s and the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s. A team like this doesn't come around very often. Only the future will tell us how we remember these Patriots.

New York Giants- The Giants have dealt with many issues this season. This season, many people (including myself), were calling for the firing of Giants coach Tom Coughlin. Questions were raised continuously throughout the season as to whether or not Eli Manning was the star quarterback for the Giants. So many questions were asked and over the course of the season, they were answered.

When the Giants made the playoffs, not a lot of people believed in them. They went on the road to Tampa and after struggling in the first quarter, they worked hard and came out of Wild Card Weekend with a win.

The Giants weren't given much of a chance against their NFC East rival, the Dallas Cowboys. Once again, Eli Manning and the Giants pulled through and stunned the Cowboys. The Giants would be on their way to Lambeau Field for a showdown with the Green Bay Packers.

It was a bitter-cold day on Sunday in Green Bay. Temperatures dipping so low, nostrils freeze up when taking a breath. The two teams battled hard into the fiercely-cold January evening. In the end, only one would come out on top. For Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, the third time was truly a charm. The 47-yard field goal not only vindicated the former CFL player, but a coach, a quarterback and an entire team.

Manning has a chance to do something his older brother Peyton has already done, win a Super Bowl. However, if Eli wins, he would be doing so in a shorter time period. Does it make him greater than Peyton, not necessarily. It is always harder to get out of the shadow of an older brother. Whatever doubts may plague the younger Manning, all will be removed if he hoists the Lombardi Trophy.

When the 13-day waiting period ends and the two teams line up for kickoff, 60 minutes will determine whether a dynasty lives or a quarterback and a team silences all critics.

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