Well, the G-Men are going to the Super Bowl! Rather than provide the single piece analysis that we normally do, and given the amount of time before the game, we will be analyzing this as if we were eating an elephant. We’ll do it in small bites.
First, the venue. The game will be played in Indianapolis, which is a neutral site. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with some guys who have played in the Super Bowl, and they have all said the same thing: it’s not a normal crowd. Most of the people are there for the party, and to have the chance to be part of an event. If there is an advantage for the crowd it would likely be for the G-Men. Given the Pats-Colts battles, the home crowd would likely pull for Peyton’s brother than Tom Brady. Just the same, the “home field” advantage is likely to be a wash.
The stadium is a dome, so weather conditions won’t be a factor. In fact, this might actually benefit the Giants receivers. After the rain and mud of San Francisco a weather free site will be a blessing. Of course, this helps the Pats; I just think it benefits the G-Men more.
Injuries. The two weeks will give both teams a chance to heal themselves. Ballard and Bradshaw are the most banged up, but others are hurting. Just the same, it benefits both sides. On the Pats side, their tight end, Gronkowski, is wearing a walking boot after a pretty serious injury in the AFC game. Shades of Brady the last time? Maybe, but Gronkowski will be on the field when the game starts. It should also be noted that the last time the two teams met (NE’s last loss in the regular season), both Nicks and Bradshaw didn’t play. Both teams will be at full stregnth, barring an injury during practice.
Mentality. Both organizations have strong front offices, and both teams have players who have been here before. They are familiar with the process, and all of the distractions about getting tickets for family/friends, and making arrangements for them once they get out there. Both teams also have players who have been to the game before, so they are familiar with the circus. The Giants have more of them, but this will also be a wash.
So far, a slight edge to the Giants, but nothing that’s statistically meaningful. More next time.