2012 Super Bowl
by Tony Medley
In the year of
the quarterback, when the league did everything it could to stimulate
scoring and make defense a bad word, the two conference championship
games were things of wonder and beauty. Both were gritty, memorable
throwback games dominated by tough defense.
So after the two
best conference championships games ever played on the same day, with
the total score showing only a six point difference for the first time
in history, my record for this year's playoffs stands at 9 out of 10,
with the tenth being a loss in the last 9 seconds, and the two teams I
thought would play in the Super Bowl when the playoffs started, New
England and New York, won and will play in the Super Bowl.
I really didn't
think it necessary to write an article about the Super Bowl, because
everyone should know that I think the Giants will win.
But I guess some
reasons might be appropriate. I've been saying for four weeks that the
Giants had the best team in football now. New England is a team like
Green Bay, a terrific quarterback with a weak offensive line, no running
game, lousy defense, and a bunch of good receivers. The Giants beat
Green Bay easily, which was no great surprise to me. They should beat
One thing you
can't see from watching football on TV is the defensive secondary. So
what I'm going to say is not from observation, but from deduction.
Because Aaron Rodgers ran for so many first downs, and because San
Francisco was successful on only 1 of 13 third downs and Smith was
forced to run so often, the conclusion is that the Giant secondary has
been providing spectacular coverage. That was the weakest part of their
team. Their four man rush is so good it allows them to forego the blitz
and keep seven men in the secondary, which means they can pressure the
passer, but still have good coverage.
The Giants are
blessed with not only one of the best quarterbacks in the league in
Manning, but three terrific receivers and two exceptional running backs,
all supported by a very good offensive line. Brady and Belicheck are
good, but they are going to need a lot more to beat New York, and I
don't think they have it.
My feeling is
that New England's only hope is if they can get something out of a long
passing game. They haven't used Chad Ochocinco much at all this year,
and he's their main long ball threat. If he can get free for a couple of
long passes, and if tight end superstar rookie Rob Gronkowski isn't
hobbled by his high ankle sprain, New England might have a slight
chance. But Brady isn't going to have a lot of time to throw and when
he's forced out of the pocket, he's not nearly as effective as when he
has protection. He's no Aaron Rodgers when forced out of the pocket,
especially when he can't step up into the middle to throw.
playoffs have shown that oldtime football, emphasizing defense, is still
a winning mode. Three of the four teams in the finals, Baltimore, San
Francisco, and the Giants have great defenses.
The only thing
that worries me about my pick is that all the talking heads are picking
the Giants. But New York is so superior in every phase of the game, they
should overcome that burden and prevail.