- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2008

Assistants

Both teams have a high-profile coordinator who eventually will become a head coach. And they’ll match wits against each other — New England offensive mind Josh McDaniels vs. Giants defensive boss Steve Spagnuolo. Expect Redskins owner Dan Snyder to pay close attention.

Brady

A win by New England and this becomes the Tom Brady Super Bowl. He would join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only two quarterbacks to win four Lombardi trophies. A spectacular performance and talk will heat up — is No. 12 the all-time No.1 quarterback?

Coughlin

Giants coach Tom Coughlin was Fired Coach Walking at halftime of the Week 3 game at Washington. The Redskins led 17-3. The Giants were on their way to 0-3. But New York rallied (the Redskins folded?), which started a six-game win streak. Most impressive of all — Coughlin’s players no longer despise him.

Dog

The Giants are a 12-point underdog to the 18-0 Patriots. The last time a big dog won was, yep, the Patriots. New England was 14-point dogs to St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI but won as time expired on a field goal. It triggered a run of three championships in four seasons for the Patriots. The upset can happen.

Eli

It took big brother Peyton Manning eight years to reach the Super Bowl. Eli has advanced to The Bowl in his fourth season. And he has done it with a no-frills approach to quarterbacking — He who turns it over less gives their team a better chance at victory. He’ll need to take some chances and make some huge throws tonight.

Feagles

At 41, Giants punter Jeff Feagles, in his 20th NFL season, will become the oldest player to participate in a Super Bowl. Only about 410 times this week has Feagles been asked about being old-as-dirt by pro football standards.

Gisele

Gisele Bundchen is Brady’s girlfriend but not the mother of Brady’s son — that role belongs to the gorgeous Bridget Moynahan. Ms. Gisele’s presence at the game is unknown, but maybe the Giants should invite her and Cowboys buzzkill Jessica Simpson and deliver them to the Patriots’ hotel in Scottsdale.

Heartbreakers

For some reason, the NFL felt it prudent to sign Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to perform at halftime. Was ZZ Top unavailable? No, wait, they performed at the Orange Bowl. Obviously, somebody like Justin Timberlake is on the banned list, but Bruce Springsteen should have been the choice if they wanted the plus-50, white male demographic covered.

International

The Super Bowl has long been a global event. Everywhere we went this week, somebody from Mexican television was usually close by. Throw in the throng of Asian media and the handful of European representatives, and it’s a crowded media center. Last year, 232 countries/territories watched Super Bowl XLI.

Jacobs

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs could develop into one of the keys to a possible New York upset. Although he’s averaging just 3.2 yards a carry in the postseason, if Jacobs get the running game going, that means first downs and means Brady and Co. aren’t on the field to score touchdowns.

Katherine

We know, we know — Katherine Heigl was mentioned in Thursday’s edition of First Down (page C2 for those who haven’t read it yet). But if Special K is in the stands tonight, we humbly request permission to forgo any responsibilities in covering the game and charge Whatever It Takes Monetarily to sit next to her during the game.

Las Vegas

Unless Los Angeles gets its collective act together to build a stadium that would attract an NFL team, Phoenix is as close as the Super Bowl will get to Sin City — a mere 293 miles. But we won’t make the trip because a) we didn’t get a rental car and b) we’re not confident we would make it back for kickoff.

Mexico

Unless San Diego gets a new stadium (not likely since the city really doesn’t need one — The Jack is perfectly fine for the Chargers although Dean Spanos probably would disagree), Phoenix is as close as the Super Bowl will get to our southern neighbors — a mere 181 miles. We won’t be making the trip because a) we don’t want to.

Never-ending

The coverage by NFL Network — which is seen by so few people that the league’s team owners have to be getting ticked off by the dollars they’ve sunk into it — has been nonstop since last Sunday. And the 24/7 thing is fine. But do we really need Old Man Jim Mora commandeering a press conference to suck up to Tom Coughlin?

Overpay

Advertisers will pull a Dan Snyder tonight — they’ll overpay for commercial time, just like The Danny overpays for, well, everything. In Super Bowl I, the price for a 30-second commercial was $42,000. Last year, it was $2.6 million. This year, rates are expected to be $2.7 or $2.8 million.

Plaxico

Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, a Virginia Beach native, caught 70 passes for 1,025 yards and 10 touchdowns (all team highs) despite not practicing for most of the season with an ankle/leg injury. In the postseason, Burress has 16 catches for 194 yards. He also has predicted a Giants victory.

Questions

A break from all the Super Bowl talk. Questions we’d ask Dan Snyder if given the audience. How badly did you think the Gregg Williams’ interviews went? Would you have offered Jim Mora the job had he kept himself in the hunt? Why wasn’t Jim Fassel offered the job two weeks ago? Did Steve Mariucci call you or did you call him? Do you realize how much you disrespected Joe Gibbs by firing Williams and Al Saunders?

Randy

Patriots receiver Randy Moss will play in his first Super Bowl. Following Minnesota’s overtime loss to Atlanta in the 1998 NFC Championship game, Moss, then a rookie, vowed to avoid the Super Bowl unless a participant. In his first season with the Patriots, Moss set an NFL single-season record with 23 touchdown receptions.

Spaceship

That’s what the two-year old University of Phoenix Stadium represents — a giant flying saucer that isn’t flying and is unlikely to take flight. The venue, located in the sticks of Glendale, has a retractable roof and plays host to pro football’s Ultimate Game.

Television

Eight of the 15 most-watched programs in television history have been Super Bowl games (based on percentage of the nation’s homes). The most-watched Super Bowl is Oakland’s win over Philadelphia in January 1981. The Redskins’ win over Miami in January 1983 is No. 5. Tonight’s two big-market teams could top 140 million viewers.

Undefeated

The Patriots can join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only undefeated team in the Super Bowl Era. New England already has set the regular-season victory record (16) and is tied with the 1984 49ers and 1985 Bears with 18 total victories.

Videotape

The Patriots’ season began with the infamous SpyGate fiasco with the New York Jets and resulted in the Patriots losing their first-round pick this year, but they hold San Francisco’s selection — the seventh overall pick. Can you say Virginia defensive end Chris Long?

Welker

New England receiver Wes Welker is arguably the Patriots’ second-most valuable offensive player, behind Brady. In his first year with the Patriots, Welker proved to be a pest for every opponent. He has 128 catches and 10 touchdowns in 18 games. He was second with 640 yards after the catch in the regular season.

XLII

The NFL smells of extreme arrogance in just about everything. They are the most successful and powerful sports league in the world (in our opinion), and they do whatever they want. All the time. The use of Roman Numerals began with Super Bowl V, when Baltimore defeated Dallas.

Yoder

Redskins tight end Todd Yoder is the last player with a last name beginning with “Y.” Yoder played special teams for Tampa Bay in the Buccaneers’ win over Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII. Nobody with a last name starting with “X” has ever appeared in the Super Bowl.

Zak

Zak DeOssie is a rookie long snapper/reserve linebacker for the Giants. His father, Steve, played for Big Blue from 1989 to 1993. They are the first father-son combination to play in a Super Bowl for the same franchise.

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