by TOM WEPPEL
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Last week, I wrote to you in relating how much of a mess this Super Bowl week has become, talking about everything that goes on, with the Media trying to essentially CREATE headlines and stories, since not a whole lot is really happening!
And so I shall ask you…was I correct?
I’ll leave it up to you to consider…and answer…the question.
Welcome to Super Bowl 46, being played in Indianapolis…not a resort or vacation destination by any means…between the Giants and Patriots (as if you didn’t know!).
The hoopla and the game being played this weekend are the EXACT reasons why the NBA, the NHL, and the NCAA (college basketball) all DESPISE the NFL in oh, so many ways! Obviously, the popularity of the Super Bowl has gotten to be huge, to the point where it completely takes away most of the attention and interest those three sports do indeed pull at various points within their respective seasons. For this weekend, though…and especially Sunday…no one will care much about any other sports event going on…and that includes the PGA Tour tournament in Arizona.
Last year, the game was held in the Dallas area, in Cowboys stadium, which has a capacity of over 100,000. This year, Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis has a capacity of about 68,000 at the very most! That said, I can promise you the demand for game tickets has been ridiculous, with 32,000 less seats available, plus both New York and the Boston area being strong markets for followers!
For instance, a seat in the upper deck…in the LAST ROW…which easily might have had a face value of $700, was being sold on the black market (or online) for over $2,100! I was also told luxury suites at the stadium were bought by corporations for as high as $500k!
With the scarcity of hotel rooms in the area, availability was almost zero. A room at a low budget hotel that usually sold for $55 was going for over $800! Rental cars that normally went for about $100 for three days were being offered (and taken!) for over $400! Round trip air fares from Boston or NYC going into Indy that would normally charge $400 were now going for almost $1,500!
As for tickets and seats for players, each guy is given TWO seats at no charge. They then are offered the RIGHT to attain up to 13 more tickets, as long as they pay face value, which might be anywhere from $800-$1,200.
What the players do with their tickets is up to them…and something I don’t really care or am interested in knowing!
The New York Giants and New England Patriots will be playing each other, as you all know, for the second time this season, and the second time in this event in four years. There have been plenty of comparisons to their battles from earlier in the regular season (a 24-20 Giants win), and also their game from Super Bowl 42, which the Giants won, as well, 17-14.
Let me say, though…the status and the way in which these teams are playing NOW, as opposed to the past (even the recent past!), can, and probably will be, completely different in a number of ways.
For one, the defensive play of both the Giants and the Pats has been much better in the past three weeks, compared to the regular season. I say that because if you look at the defensive rankings of the two squads, you’ll see New York ranked 28th overall, while the Patriots were even lower, at #32!
But both defenses have done a much better job in the playoffs, especially in creating/forcing turnovers, which are always vital to a team winning a ballgame.
What has been similar, though, for all intents, in comparing regular season to playoff numbers, has been the fact that the Giants and New England are much more dominated by their passing strengths, as opposed to their rushing. Passing is obviously the key to both teams moving the ball. That is THE reason so much attention is given to the starting QB’s, Eli Manning and Tom Brady. These guys have been involved in the two most previous contests. As veterans, their play and performance means everything to either team pulling off a win.
Of course, each team Head Coach has been a strong ingredient in what happens for their success, as we all have seen. Even though Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick have not been the most personable or open guy in the world, the bottom line is they each have a lot to do with winning this contest.
The Patriots have started off as three-point favorites, despite having lost the regular season game. Obviously, their prowess thru the entire season has earned them the favorite role, even though the Giants have come on strong in these past weeks. In a way, though, New York has had no problem retaining the underdog role.
This week, the Media has made us believe that the status of Pats TE Rob Gronkowski is the key in whether New England wins or not. My feeling is he will play…to what level, for how long, and to what extent, I think is an open-ended question, all the way up to game time.
Don’t think Belichik hasn’t devised a back-up plan, just in case his ankle isn’t 100%. And by the way, the Giants would have no problem if Gronkowski doesn’t play to his normal level!
A lot of football fans (and sports fans, for that matter!) will most likely watch this game on Sunday evening. And by the way, just in case you might want to know…the Super Bowl ads on NBC this year were selling for about $3.5 million for a :30…
Hope it turns out to be a good game. We shall see.
SPORTS AVENGER w/The Jock 2/3/12
by TOM WEPPEL