Super Bowl 2012 is just around the corner and football fans are getting ready for what should shape up to be a great game. The New York Giants will square off in a championship rematch against the New England Patriots, who hope to silence critics after being upset by the Big Blue in Superbowl XLII.
The Patriots might be favored this year—just like they were in 2007—but this time around the media and fans alike, will be more cautious before cementing their picks for the upcoming Lombardi Trophy recipients.
And as we continue to look at the past for any indication as to how this showdown will end, one might pose the following question: How many times has this rematch thing actually happened?
Well, this week will mark the fifth time a pair of teams have met more than once in a Super Bowl.
For the past four years, both the Patriots and Giants have failed to make it back to the big dance. So it's only fitting that they make their returns, only to meet each other once again.
When looking at the regular season, the Giants prevailed in a 24-20 defeat over New England in week 9, which brought an end to the Patriots' 20 game home-winning streak.
And just to make matters worst, the Giants won this game without the presence of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, rookie fullback Henry Hynoski and center David Baas—who will all be available come time for the Super Bowl.
As such, many speculated that New England was no longer an AFC powerhouse.
But even with all of the doubt swirling around, coach Belichick and his players ended up winning the rest of their games, finishing with a record of 13-3 along with the No. 1 seed heading into the postseason.
Much like their story in 2007, the Giants did not finish with such a glamorous record, barely winning the NFC East and entered this year's playoffs as the No. 4 seed.
If New York wins, they will become the first team in NFL history to finish the season at 9-7 and go on to become Super Bowl champs.
That would be quite the accomplishment, but the Pats have already made it into the record books, just by being here.
According to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, Belichick and Brady will be the first head coach and quarterback to ever reach five Super Bowls together, breaking their previous tie with Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw in Pittsburgh, Marv Levy and Jim Kelly in Buffalo and Tom Landry and Roger Staubach in Dallas.
When putting history and stats aside, this is nothing more than a "revenge game" for the Pats.
Or is it?
It should be noted that only eight players remain on the almost perfect Patriots roster of four years ago. So a lot of these guys did not feel the pain that Tom Brady or Wes Welker felt after coming so close to perfection, only to have it taken way at the last moment.
But Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported that former Patriots safety and current NBC analyst Rodney Harrison (The guy who failed to bat away David Tyree's miraculous fourth quarter catch), still believes revenge is a factor.
"You still have key members of that team still there. Logan Mankins, Matt Light, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker, so it’s a lot of guys that mean a lot, that core group of guys. So when you take away what the Giants took away, which inevitably could have been the greatest season in the history of the NFL, yes, it matters."
"Now, understand, they don’t want to give up any bulletin board material. But at the same time, you’d be a fool not to feel there’s not some sense of bitterness or revenge. They’re not going to come out and say it. But there is—trust me."
As for the Giants, this matchup will be yet another chance to prove that they can beat anyone despite the unfavorable odds.
Eli Manning is coming in with more experience under his belt and the Giants' defense is looking as strong, if not stronger, than their last Super Bowl meeting with the Pats, where they held them to 14 points.
However, Tom Brady will undoubtedly put forth his best effort against the stingy defense of the Big Blue as he continues to chase his fifth ring which would tie him with all-time greats Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.
We can only imagine what type of game we will see in Indianapolis next week, and as a budding Super Bowl rivalry begins to unfold, millions will be watching in anticipation of what comes next in the ongoing episode of NFL rematches.
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