One more resume notch for Brady, Patriots

2012-02-04T19:33:00Z 2012-02-05T03:13:06Z One more resume notch for Brady, PatriotsBy Matt Erickson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 04, 2012 7:33 pm  • 

LAS VEGAS | Tom Brady could make some more NFL history today.

A Patriots victory would be Brady's 17th postseason win, breaking the record held by the great Joe Montana. And he'd do it with his arch rival, Colts QB Peyton Manning, in attendance at his home stadium to cheer for his younger brother Eli.

Brady's career has been nothing short of remarkable - don't forget, Brady was a sixth-round draft pick and really only got his shot as a starter when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury.

He never looked back, and isn't likely to look back today, either, with his foot on the gas all the way to his fourth Super Bowl ring and probably his third Super Bowl MVP trophy.

* Passing misnomer: While Tom Brady and the Patriots get the bulk of the attention over the Giants for their passing game, it's the Giants that really relied on the air attack this year. The G-Men ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game; the Patriots were 20th.

* Hot when it matters most: Though the Patriots struggled a little two weeks ago, beating the Ravens by just 3 to get to the Super Bowl, they've been basically boiling hot since their last loss three months ago - to the Giants, naturally. The Pats have won 10 straight. Over that same stretch, the Giants went 6-5 - including four straight losses and five of six. But they've turned it on late, winning three of four to get into the playoffs and the three big ones in January.

* Turnover killers: Both Brady and Manning and have been interception prone at times this year. But Brady's TD-pick ratio of 39/12 compared to Manning's 29/16 is light years ahead. The Patriots were third in the NFL, forcing 34 turnovers. But the Giants were right behind them with 31. The game may come down to who makes the fewest mistakes.

* Halftime bathroom break?: Super Bowl halftime shows are hit and miss, it seems, and they've been a mix of currently relevant artists and greatest hits-type superstars like The Who, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. This year, it's Madonna - who mostly falls into the latter category. But in a smart move, she'll be joined by big current names like Nicki Minaj, LMFAO and, for her closer, Cee Lo Green on "Like a Prayer." There's plenty of promise there.

* Commercially speaking: When the game's a dud (and this one shouldn't be, but you never know), at the very least everyone at your Super Bowl party has the commercials to fall back on. The early favorite this year seems to be Matthew Broderick reprising his Ferris Bueller role for Honda - the extended version already released online is a masterpiece. But watch out for perennial favorites Budweiser, Doritos and Volkswagen, which will try to top last year's Darth Vader kid with a weight loss-obsessed dog.

- Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times for nine seasons. He also covers mixed martial arts for The Times and HeavyMMA.com.

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