Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Analysis and Prediction

As he usually does, ESPN's Steve Young provided excellent and concise analysis when he gave his take on the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI showdown between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Young said that he is surprised that the Patriots are favored because if you break down the individual matchups objectively the Giants have the edge on paper--but Young added that the Patriots do enjoy two important advantages: Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. Young meant no disrespect to Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, who both played important roles when the Giants upset the Patriots four years ago in the Super Bowl to ruin New England's attempt to complete an unprecedented 19-0 season, but Young stated that he believed that somehow the Patriots will find a way to beat the Giants this time.

I agree with Young on both counts: the Giants look better on paper but Belichick and Brady will find a way to get it done. Coughlin is an excellent coach and Manning may very well be a future Hall of Famer but Belichick and Brady will be remembered as the avatars of early 21st century NFL football much like Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw owned the 1970s by winning four Super Bowls in a six year period. The key matchups tomorrow will involve Brady versus New York's pass rush and New York's wide receivers versus New England's suspect secondary. I think that Belichick's offensive adjustment will involve using a heavy dose of no huddle and/or hurry up offense to prevent New York from making situational substitutions and to wear New York's defense down mentally and physically. Look for Wes Welker to have a big game in the slot--10 or more receptions--and while most of his plays will likely be for less than 15 yards he may have one long play that could prove to be the gamebreaker in a close contest. Defensively, the Patriots will have to rely on formation shifts, gimmicks and stout run stopping at the point of attack to keep New York off balance. Turnover differential is always an important statistic and it will be critical in the Super Bowl; Brady has been unusually interception prone in his last few playoff games and he must be "clean" on Sunday if the Patriots are going to win.

I predict that the Patriots will survive a tough battle that is not decided until the final possession, emerging with a 27-24 victory.


Anonymous said...


i dont know if eli in the hof. but he been the best manning uder presure he a great player and been that all year. he made all the throws he had to make agian he a great decision maker this year.

brady belichick been great during 2001-2004 10-0 since 6-6. brady i think top 3 qb all time but been a little off on his throws recently in playoffs. welker prob should of caught it but that was a tough catch it was behind him. obviously 3 superbowls put them with greats.

they dominated peyton manning but eli own them? kindof weird to me but coughlin great coach two superbowls. he parcells belichick all in same boat to me. but it was a pretty goood game.

David Friedman said...


Eli Manning is without question a HoFer; he has been a productive regular season QB, he set an NFL record by winning his seventh playoff game on the road or at a neutral site and he now owns two Super Bowl MVPs and two Super Bowl victories earned against the best team of the past decade or so.

Welker should have caught that pass but the Patriots also made other mistakes on both sides of the ball. The Gronkowski injury was a factor but the Giants also had injured players and still managed to adjust.

Belichick's coaching resume is clearly superior to Parcells' resume and at this point you could make a case that Coughlin's resume is at least as good as Parcells' resume. Parcells never had any playoff success without Belichick as his defensive coordinator, while Belichick won a playoff game (ironically, against Parcells) as Cleveland's coach, produced the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history, led the Patriots to an 11-5 record even with Brady out for the entire 2008 season and, most importantly, is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in a four year period (the Cowboys also won three out of four but with two different coaches).

Coughlin built an expansion Jacksonville team into a contender and has turned the floundering Giants into two-time Super Bowl champions.

Parcells' success was tied directly to his great defenses and those defenses were run by Belichick, who--as mentioned above--has had plenty of success without Parcells. Belichick's defensive game plan for the Giants' first Super Bowl win is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Anonymous said...


Eli don't make mine he only had one elite year in his career he threw twenty five int last year. He more clutch then his brother but his career had been too in consistent too put him in hof right now maybe down the road yes not right now for me he need more years like this in my opinion Brady and belichick wins he had vs them is impressive though.

Tuna got three super bowl two win and took a one and fifteen team and made them a afc championship team. Belichick been a little better but not by alot too me. He had bad teams in Dallas. The fact of belichick being the defensive coordinator on those teams and that made parcell. Is not significant to me. Its like saying Kobe and Jordan can only win with Phil Jackson. Cause both never won title or had great playoff success without him. its about players and Haveing good team not defensive coordinator bellichivk never won super bowl without mangini and crennel. Parcells could of won with another coordinator if he had same team. Just like bellichick could of almost won without other two. The tuna a great coach so is belicheck even though bellicheck a little better

David Friedman said...


Favre threw a ton of interceptions, went 1-1 in Super Bowls and clearly is a first ballot HoFer. Eli Manning has not been quite as productive a regular season player as Favre--though Manning likely has several years left in his career to add to his totals--but he is 2-0 in Super Bowls and a much better clutch player than Favre, who threw several killer interceptions in various playoff games.

The flaw in your various analogies relating to Belichick and Parcells is that Belichick has won without Parcells but Parcells never won anything of significance without Belchick: Belichick's Browns beat Parcells' Patriots in the 1994 playoffs but once Belichick joined Parcells' staff the Patriots became a Super Bowl team. On the other hand, Crennel, Weis and Mangini have not had much success without Belichick, while Belichick has continued to rack up division titles, Super Bowl appearances and other successes even as those guys have left his staff and floundered elsewhere.