There's no turning back now -- not that anyone really wants to. I couldn't help but think about how big this game really is going to be as I flew out to Phoenix on Sunday morning. An undefeated Patriots team on course to be considered the greatest NFL team ever takes on the Giants, who look to spring possibly the greatest upset ever. Before I spend the rest of the week breaking down both teams in a scouting report, I would like to reflect on some of the things that make this Super Bowl super.
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|Another Super Bowl win will get Tom Brady mentioned among the all-time greats.|
The Brady factor ... He's never lost a Super Bowl!
1. Brady has a 14-2 postseason record which the highest winning percentage (.875) of all NFL quarterbacks ever with at least 10 starts.
2. Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 14 consecutive playoff games, second to Brett Favre all-time.
3. A win in this Super Bowl ties Brady with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl wins (4) and he's only 30 years old.
4. Brady is really impressive as the game wears on: If his team is leading at halftime, he's 77-3 all-time and 10-1 in the playoffs. If his team is leading at the end of the third quarter he's 79-2 all-time and 9-1 in the playoffs.
5. If his team is losing in the fourth quarter he is even more dangerous. Brady has rallied to bring his team back to win or tie the game up six times in his playoff career, including all three Super Bowl wins.
6. If Brady completes 14 passes on Sunday he will hold the record for the most Super Bowl completions.
7. Brady enters this game with a career record of 100-26 including the postseason.
The Belichick factor
1. Belichick will tie Chuck Noll for the most Super Bowl wins (4) with a Patriots victory.
2. Belichick's .833 winning percentage in the playoffs is second only to Vince Lombardi (.900).
3. Belichick has won eight consecutive overtime games, something to think about on the outside chance this goes to overtime.
4. Besides being undefeated this season, Belichick's Patriots have every top winning streak in NFL history -- 21 straight wins from 2003-04 is the most impressive.
5. He won all three Super Bowls with New England by a margin of three points.
6. Belichick's defense has posted seven turnovers in his three Super Bowl wins.
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|Eli Manning will be only the seventh No. 1 overall draft pick to start a Super Bowl.|
Some trends about the game no matter who plays in it
1. The team with the fewest turnovers in the Super Bowl wins 91 percent of the time. The Patriots won the category in the regular season, but the Giants have only turned the ball over once in the playoffs.
2. The team that rushes the ball the most times wins 90 percent of the time. The Giants only rushed the ball 18 more times than the Patriots in the regular season; the Patriots rushed the ball seven more times than the Giants when they met in Week 17.
3. The No. 5 seed in the NFC has never made it to a Super Bowl in the modern playoff structure but only two AFC top seeds have won the Super Bowl.
4. Don't worry about the coin toss. The team that won the coin toss is 19-22. The Patriots lost the toss in all three Super Bowl wins. The Giants have won two championships after losing the toss. The Giants won the coin toss in Super Bowl XXXV, which they lost to the Ravens.
5. Eli Manning is in some small company. Manning is only the seventh No. 1 overall pick to start a Super Bowl game. He joins Terry Bradshaw, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, and his brother Peyton Manning. The group is 12-4 in Super Bowl games.
6. This is the 12th Super Bowl between two teams that met during the regular season. The team that won the regular season contest is 5-6 in the Super Bowl rematch. The latest was New England, which lost to St. Louis in the regular season, but went on to defeat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.