On the field, the New England Patriots will avenge their loss in Super Bowl XLII with a convincing win on the backs of their tremendous tight ends. Indy may be Manning Country, but that’s Peyton, not Eli. Off the field, union activists will give the labor movement a self-inflicted black eye insofar as they try to disrupt the festivities to protest Indiana’s new right-to-work law. Activists try to politicize the Super Bowl at their own risk.
— Jonathan H. Adler is director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
WILLIAM J. BENNETT
Bill Belichick has a chance to add another Super Bowl win to his already elite coaching career. Tom Brady, 34, can join Montana and Bradshaw with four Super Bowl wins and make an argument for being one of the best quarterbacks ever to play. Also, let’s not forget the revenge factor from 2007, when Belichick, Brady, and the Patriots went into Super Bowl XLII undefeated, but their perfect season came to an end at the hands of . . . the New York Giants. For those reasons, I’m going with the Patriots — and that means one thing: The Giants will probably win.
— William J. Bennett is author of The Book of Man.
Have there ever been two teams that were so great, while being so fundamentally flawed? The Patriots have a defense with all the tensile strength of straw. A small, asthmatic wolf could huff and puff it down in an hour, if he really put his back into it. Meanwhile, the Giants have the offense of a small choo-choo train, delusionally panting “I think I can, I think I can,” all the way up the hill.
In other words, this Super Bowl is the clash of the cartoon characters: ridiculous strengths matched with absurd weaknesses. In the event, Brady throws New England to two touchdowns in the first half; Manning grinds the Giants to two field goals and a touchdown in the second half; New England contemptuously adds a field goal, and the Patriots — America’s most annoying team since the Dallas Cowboys were last any good — claim their last Super Bowl of the Tom Brady era, 17 to 13. Boston rejoices. The rest of the NFL goes back to the drawing board.
— Joseph Bottum is the author of The Gospel According to Tim.
In the last ten years, Boston has won seven major sports championships. On Sunday, the Patriots are going to make it number eight, and I don’t care if it’s by one point or 50.
— Scott Brown is a United States senator from Massachusetts who has a radio ad running this week in this reelection campaign called “Patriots.”
EDWARD JOHN CRAIG
Well, back in the preseason, I picked the Patriots to beat the NFC East champions in the Super Bowl, after the former punched their ticket to the show with a win at home over the AFC North champs, the latter by going on the road and beating the Packers in Lambeau.
But, uh, I got only two of those four teams right. I thought the Eagles would win the NFC East (and the Steelers the AFC North). And since my Giants did it instead, I’ll have to revise my earlier prediction.
Jason Pierre-Paul makes a handful of big plays to eventually outshine Logan Mankins’s typically solid game, Osi Umenyiora continues his bitter battle with Matt Light — and wins, and the Giants defensive front hits Brady early and often.
Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez will have solid games, but Rob Gronkowski’s high ankle sprain will limit him — his “day-to-day” refrain from this fortnight past will turn into “play-to-play” come Sunday.
Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham will cement their status as one of the league’s premier wide-receiver trios. (Folks seem to forget that the Giants had the league’s fifth-best passing offense.)
Back in September, I picked Stevan Ridley to be the Super Bowl MVP, anticipating Bill Belichick throwing a curveball in the big game by featuring one of his talented rookie backup running backs. That remains a possibility; but against the Giants’ physical front seven (rather than the linebacker-poor Eagles), Shane Vereen’s speed makes him the better option to play that role.
Still, I’ll take Giants 31, Patriots 24.
— Edward John Craig is managing editor of National Review Online.
In a Giants-Patriots (re)match-up, this Jets fan will be rooting for the commercials.
— Jim Geraghty writes The Campaign Spot blog on National Review Online.
Dear New York Giants fans:
Give up now.
Our team (13-3) is better than your team (9-7).
Our coach, diabolical genius Bill Belichick, is way better than your coach, Gramps Coughlin.
And our quarterback? As Neil Minkoff wrote at NRO the other day, Tom Brady is on the verge of claiming the title “best quarterback ever.” And he’s got a bidet. In his house.
Think about that: He has a heated toilet that sprays his delicate nether regions after every use, and he still kicks your butt.
This is so over.
It was over when, on the eve of the NFC championship game, Vice President Biden guaranteed, “the Giants are on their way to the Super Bowl!” Alas, he meant the San Francisco Giants.
It was over when the Giants stepped off the plane in Indianapolis to find a Manning QB controversy was dominating the media. Unfortunately, it was Peyton Manning.
That great philosopher Bluto Blutarsky once asked “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” I don’t know. But for the New Jersey Giants (the only game they ever play in New York is in Buffalo) it’s over now.
The New England defense is red hot. Receivers Welker, Hernandez, and Branch are all healthy. And Rob Gronkowski, the best tight end ever? Forget his ankle injury. Gronk can play the entire game in a wheelchair and he’ll still catch for 100 yards and two TDs.
Still clinging to hope, Giants fans? Ask yourself this: Who was the toughest opponent you’ve faced this year? Green Bay? New Orleans? (Who both beat you, by the way?)
Well, the Patriots had to take the field against Tim Tebow — twice! And we all know who He’s got on His team . . .
Victory is ours, New York. Not even prayer can save you now.
— Michael Graham is a radio talk host and columnist for the Boston Herald.
When my Minnesota Vikings are not in (and losing) the Super Bowl — the last time was in 1977 when I was 13 years old — I toss out any fan impulses and objectively pick the team from the more free-market state. Unfortunately, the New York Giants vs. the New England Patriots makes such a selection extremely difficult: Big-government New York and New Jersey for the Giants versus big-government Massachusetts for the Patriots? Well, at least New Jersey governor Chris Christie is trying to cut income taxes. So: Giants 31, Patriots 28.
— Ray Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and the author of two recent books, Chuck vs. the Business World: Business Tips on TV, and Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ
Madonna will provide a mortality moment.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.
Church is the place for the redemption story this Sunday morning, but Lucas Oil Stadium will be the place for a new redemption story this Sunday night. That is when Chad Ochocinco, the much-maligned Patriots wide receiver, acquired in the offseason, will score more touchdowns in the first half of the Super Bowl than he has all season, leading the Patriots to victory and himself to the MVP.
— Micheal Flaherty is president of Walden Media.
The Patriots are Mitt Romney — the longtime winners from Massachusetts with a guy at the helm who looks the part. The Giants are Gingrich — they seem like upstarts who came out of nowhere but then you remember you have seen them around a lot before. The Ravens are Santorum. They seem like they should have won two weeks ago and it might eventually come out — too late — that they did. And of course Mitt — I mean the Patriots — will win.
— Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., where he teaches in the journalism and mass communications department and edits The Gregorian.
Oddly enough for a Yonkers boy, my football loyalties are Ohio-based: I’ve been a Cincinnati Bengals fan ever since Ken Anderson led them to the 1982 Super Bowl.
But having grown up around Giants fans back home, I can see why fans of the Big Blue are bullish. Eli has been a fierce competitor this year and the defense has made plays when they’ve needed to. The key will be to get to Brady early so he doesn’t get comfortable in the pocket.
Governor Romney’s a Pats fan, and Tagg will be disappointed in me, but they’ll have some caucus wins in February to keep them happy, one hopes.
Giants 31, Pats 28.
— Kevin Madden is a Mitt Romney adviser from New York.
As a Los Angeles native, it would be sacrilege for me to pull for anything Boston: Giants 23, Pats 16.
— John Ondrasik is lead singer of Five for Fighting.
Madonna will still not be relevant.
— John J. Miller is national correspondent for National Review and the author of The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.
Who would I choose? Well, for what it’s worth, just my two-cents — because my pick really isn’t worth a hill of beans and I trust Americans to choose their own favorite — I say, in order to keep this competitive battle going, to continue the needed vetting and debate, if I were there, I’d vote for Eli!
— Sarah Palin is the former governor of Alaska.
I’ve loved living in New York City these last two months — and so, since my dear Broncos didn’t make it, I’ve gotta root for the Giants this week. I like the match-up from a team-name point of view — the Patriots vs. the Giants. The Giants are HUGE but the Patriots fight with their hearts.
— Dana Perino is former White House press secretary and co-host of The Five.
Giants 27, Patriots 13.
— Bob Turner is a freshman congressman from New York.
The Giants will rebound from their crushing losses to the BALTIMORE Colts in 1958 and 1959 and take Super Bowl XLVI, 24-20.
— George Weigel, biographer of Pope John Paul II, is a distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.