By Alexander Remingon, Culture Writer, MPP ‘13
History repeats itself. Four years after the Helmet Catch, the Giants and Patriots are back in the Super Bowl. Four years after being stunned by Eli Manning and the New Yorkers from New Jersey, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. will get a chance at revenge.
A lot has changed since then, of course. Back in 2007, Brady was a 30-year old coming off one of the greatest statistical seasons of all time. Since then:
- He missed the 2008 season with injury.
- He had a son, John Edward Thomas Moynihan, with ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynihan.
- He married supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
- He had a son, Benjamin Rein Brady, with Gisele.
- He was the 2010 NFL MVP.
But he hasn’t been back to the Super Bowl since getting snakebitten by a miracle four years ago. Until now.
Of course, the Giants shouldn’t be anywhere near the Super Bowl. They were 9-7 in the regular season and lost five games in six weeks from November 13 to December 18. But they picked the right time to get hot, stunning the heavily favored Packers much as they stunned the Patriots four years before. If they win the Super Bowl, they’ll be the losingest champion of all time.
The Patriots are stodgy and reliable, as they generally are. During the regular season they had one of the best offenses in the country, as they always do with Brady at the helm, but their defense is deeply questionable. And, of course, they have a knack for losing to the Giants. This year, on November 6, they faced the G-Men for the first time since the Super Bowl, and lost 24-20 – very reminiscent of the heartbreaking 17-14 tally that ended their hopes of a perfect season in 2007.
Now, if I were Tom Brady, I might want revenge. I might want a fourth Super Bowl ring, or a third Super Bowl MVP. But I would probably prefer spending time with Gisele to all of that, which is one of the reasons that I am not Tom Brady.
But there are other differences this time around, beyond Tom’s personal life. This Super Bowl is going to be cold and miserable, not just because it will be in Indianapolis, which tends to be about 40 degrees colder than Phoenix – where they played in 2007 – but also because the halftime performer, unlike 2007’s Tom Petty, will be Madonna.
(Even in our post-wardrobe malfunction world, in which all halftime performers must be over 50, I still can’t understand why football promoters believed that the appropriate performer for the biggest football game of the year would be Madonna. Seriously, can’t we just have Stevie Wonder every year?)
It seems like the Patriots are good every year, but in reality, Tom Brady’s remarkably consistent excellence has few precedents, and his lost 2008 season holds a reminder that it depends on a healthy amount of luck. This year may not be Brady’s last Super Bowl, or his last year at a Hall of Fame level – after all, Brett Favre had one of his best seasons at age 40 – but football is a harsh game, and sooner or later Brady will lose a step. So every year is worth savoring. Even if it means sitting through halftime with Madonna.