It was one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
The New England Patriots were 16-0 in the regular season and considered by many to be the greatest football team of all-time. The New York Giants were a 10-6 wild card team led by an unproven quarterback.
Despite the fact all the cards were stacked against them, the Giants defeated the Patriots 17-14 on Feb. 3 2008 in a modern day classic at Super Bowl 42.
Super Bowl 46 sees the two teams meet again to determine who will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Although the logos on the uniforms will be identical to what they were in 2008, the players on the field won’t be.
Here are some key similarities and differences between the Super Bowl 42 Giants and Patriots and the teams fans will see on Feb. 5 at Super Bowl 46.
Similarities – In the 2008 game, the Giants’ receivers came up big for a young Eli Manning. Whether it was David Tyree’s infamous catch, or Plaxico Burress’ 13-yard touchdown reception with 35 seconds remaining in the game, the receivers were the difference. This year’s edition of the Giants has an even more potent offence and a more dynamic receiving corps. Victor Cruz was third in the league in receiving yards with 1,536, while Hakeem Nicks was 12th with 1,192 yards.
Differences – Manning is still the leader, but the Manning that ended up winning the game’s MVP award in 2008, is not the same QB that will suit up on Sunday. In 2008, Manning threw for 3,336 yards, 23 TDs and 20 interceptions and had a measly 73.9 passer rating. This season, Manning threw for 4,933 yards, 29 TDs, 16 interceptions and had a 92.9 passer rating.
Similarities – Tom Brady and Wes Welker were a terrific tandem in 2008 and nothing has changed since then. That season, Brady was the NFL MVP as he threw for 4,806 yards, 50 TDs and only 8 interceptions with a passer rating of 117.2. His numbers were impressive once again this season as he threw for 5,235 yards, 39 TDs, 12 interceptions with a 105.6 passer rating. Welker had 112 receptions, 1,175 yards and 8 TDs in 2008, but improved on those numbers this season with 122 receptions, 1,569 yards and 9 TDs.
The Pats have a relatively weak running game as they did the last time they met the Giants in the Super Bowl. BenJarvus Green-Ellis lead the team this year, where Laurence Maroney was the team’s top back in 2008; neither man had 1,000-yard seasons. The Pats only gained 45 yards in Super Bowl 42 and they will need more than that on Sunday if they want to redeem themselves.
Differences – Instead of having Randy Moss as a deep threat, Brady has the tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to look to.
Similarities – A strong defensive line. Lead by Michael Strahan, the Giants were able to get to Brady in 2008, sacking him five times in the championship game and only allowed 45 rushing yards. The Giants have another solid pass rush with Jason Pierre-Paul leading the way, along with Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck (who were both part of the winning team four years ago). An ability to get to Brady at Super Bowl 46 could determine whether or not the Giants can pull of another Super Bowl upset.
Former Ottawa Renegade Lawrence Tynes is once again at the helm as the Giants kicker.
Differences – The defensive backfield in 2008 was lead by Sam Madison and Aaron Ross, where this year’s team has Corey Webster and Kenny Phillips to lean on.
Similarities – Stephen Gostkowski will handle kicking duties once again for the Patriots, but the team’s defensive roster is vastly different.
Differences – New England’s 2008 defensive squad was lead by players like Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison. This season cornerback Kyle Arrington and D-lineman Vince Wilfork will need to lead the way if the Patriots are to win the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005.
– The Patriots were favoured to win by 12 points in 2008 but this year they are only favoured to win by 3 ½ points.
– The attendance in Glendale, Ari., was 71,101 and this year’s will be comparable as Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis will hold approximately 70,000 fans for Super Bowl 46.
– The cost of a 30-second commercial was $2.7 million in 2008, but in 2012 it will be $3.5 million.
– The national anthem in 2008 was performed by Jordin Sparks. In 2012, it will be performed by another American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson.
– Mike Carey officiated the game in 2008, marking his first Super Bowl appearance. This year’s referee is John Parry, who was a side judge in the 2008 game.
– The biggest difference of all could be in the half-time show performance. In 2008, American classic rock legends Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers delighted the crowd with their biggest hits. This year, Madonna will perform half-time duties. Yes, you heard that right, Madonna.