Friday, February 3, 2012

A Tale of Two Players

  Tom Brady and Eli Manning

      It's finally here. The biggest game of the year, and the most-watched television program annually. The hoopla has already started with Media Day on Tuesday and radio row set up right outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. Its the '08 rematch. Patriots vs Giants. Brady vs Eli. Two teams are meeting once again in the super bowl, but in reality, this match-up is all about the quarterbacks. Although these two guys could not have taken more different paths to greatness, it is now known that they are both among the all-time greats in the game.

Eli with the Chargers on Draft Day

     First up: Eli Manning. Born the son of a former NFL Star, Eli grew up with things handed to him. Full Scholarship to his father's Alma Mater. Number One Overall Pick in the NFL Draft. That wasn't even good enough for the spoiled Manning, so he refused to play for the team that selected him, the Chargers, and was traded to the Giants. However, once he came to the NFL, reality set in. Things weren't as easy as they were in high school in college. He was a man now, and had to experience criticism from half of New York City and beyond. After all of the hype and praise, he just wasn't measuring up to the bar Peyton Manning set before him. In the 2007-08 season, all of that changed. He took a wild card team on the road and won three weeks in a row, and proceeded to defeat the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Now that they are back in the Big Game, people are speculating that he might even be better than his untouchable brother Peyton.

Brady at the NFL Combine

     Tom Brady grew up in a middle-class family as a 49ers fan. He played for the great Michigan Wolverines, but had an unremarkable career. Sat on the bench for two years, and struggled to hold a starting job over the highly touted Drew Henson in his junior and senior seasons. When the NFL Draft came around, Brady had to wait a little longer than Eli to hear his name. About 24 hours longer. He was the 33rd pick of the 6th round, the 199th pick overall by the New England Patriots. Legend has it that when he was introduced to owner Bob Kraft, he said, "I will be the best decision you ever made in your life." In short, he was exactly right. After a year as the 4th string QB, he worked his way up to second string behind Drew Bledsoe. In week 2 of the 2001 season, Bledsoe suffered a devastating injury and Brady was thrust into the starting lineup. That year, he led the Patriots to the AFC Championship against Oakland, a game in which the defining moment of his career occurred. The Tuck Rule Game. A controversial fumble was ruled an incomplete pass, the Patriots won the game, Super Bowl XXXVI, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two more Superbowl victories, a super bowl loss and Two league MVPs later, Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.

     Superbowl XLVI is one that will be remembered for a long time. The New England Patriots are the team of the century, with 5 Superbowl Appearances in 11 years. The New York Giants have given hope to the passionate fans of New York. Their Defensive Ends are going to be coming hard off the edge and hard up the middle. Their running backs are going to be going up the gut and around the outside. However, there is something special about this New England team. They put an end to Tebow Time, defeated Wacko Flacco, and this Sunday they will put an end to the book of Eli. Since Super Bowls never really go as planned, I am predicting this one to be a low scoring affair. Patriots Win, 17-13.

Summary: Brady + Gronk + Welker > Eli + Nicks + Cruz.


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