On January 30, 1994, the Buffalo Bills were sharper, more focused, and fully prepared to take on the Dallas Cowboys again. Just one year earlier, Buffalo and Dallas had met in Super Bowl XXVII, a contest in which the Bills lost horribly with a score of 52-17. Year after year, Buffalo had represented the best of the best in the AFC, representing their conference in four consecutive Super Bowls. Something had to give, they thought. Dallas can’t beat us the same way twice on the biggest stage, they said. How wrong they were. Dallas not only upset the Bills a second time, but put an end to all future success in Buffalo for almost two decades.
This Sunday marks a second matchup between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI (that’s ’46’ for all of you non-Romans). The last time these teams met in a Super Bowl, the Patriots were just 60 minutes away from a stellar, perfect season. Then it happened. Eli Manning to David Tyree. Helmet catch. Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress. Touchdown. Game Over. The ’72 Dolphins break open the champaign.
At the time, everyone called it a fluke. The Patriots had ruled the last decade in the NFL (with Pittsburgh a close second). And the Giants, well, they were a 6th Seed team that played inconsistently throughout the season, only coming together in just enough time to play their hearts out in the postseason. No one gave them a chance.
This year, NFL Fans who once again assume that New England will take their fourth trophy should consider this: en route to the Super Bowl, New York has already laid waste to the 1st and 2nd seeds of the NFC, those high flying Green Bay Packers and that stingy defense of the San Francisco 49ers. Whose to say that they can’t shut down Tom Brady as well? After all, they’ve done it before.
Sunday will show a contrast of two very different quarterbacks: a pretty boy star with three Super Bowl rings and a scrappy little brother with one ring. We’ve seen it. Whether it turns out the same way is why they play the game. Almost everyone is healthy. Almost everyone is ready. Bring on Super Bowl XLVI!
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