Poor Antwain Spann, he is the Omega to Tom Brady’s Alpha.
The second-year Patriots cornerback just gets no respect in Scouts Inc.’s ranking of all 106 participants in Super Bowl XLII, finishing dead-last despite coming on strong in the final game of the regular season -- a solo tackle against the Giants.
What’s more egregious, Spann finds himself below teammate Stephen Spach, the third-string tight end who didn’t record a single stat this season over three games. And excuse me, Matt Gutierrez had a QB rating of 118.8, yet he’s only 104th? The guy at No. 1 only had a rating of 117.2. What gives?
That, of course, would be NFL MVP Tom Brady, who gets top honors on Scouts Inc.’s list, followed by Randy Moss, Osi Umenyiora, Richard Seymour, and Michael Strahan, respectively, to round out the top five. Twelve of the top 20 players are from New England in a list that aims to be comprehensive, yet can’t get out of the way of being subjective.
For instance, Mike Vrabel at No. 9? As integral as the linebacker is to the Patriots’ success, should he really be ranked ahead of guys like Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Wes Welker, and Eli Manning? Steve Smith seems a bit low at No. 44, way too low when you consider Donte Stallworth at No. 41. New York running back Ahmad Bradshaw (40) had a nice late-season run, but is he eight spots better than Jabar Gaffney?
According to Scouts Inc., Justin Tuck will be the 16th-best player on the field Sunday. This perhaps defines the word “subjective.”
As far as Super Bowl lists are concerned, though, this one is at the very least compelling and grabs your attention during a week in which Top 10s, lists, and rankings provide the sports writer a quicker avenue to the complimentary wet bar. Top 10 Super Bowl story lines? Check. Top Five Super Bowl chokes? Got it. Top 10 Super Bowl commercials of all-time? As long as it doesn’t include Dan Quayle, who incidentally can be found in the list of the Top 10 worst Super Bowl commercials.
Of course, there are the six story lines that you’re already sick of, 10 reasons the Giants can pull the upset, and the Top 10 Super Bowl controversies (not surprisingly, No. 1 isn’t even game-related). On that note, how about the Top 10 halftime shows? (U2 is No. 2 on this list, bested by Prince in last year’s Super Bowl, which pretty much ends the credibility of this particular list.)
Chicken wings are the big winner in the Top 10 Super Bowl snack foods (Pizza only No. 6?). Or maybe you’re more in the mood for the Top 10 Chinese and Asian-inspired Super Bowl recipes, or the Top 10 Southern recipes. If you’re headed to Arizona without a ticket, you might want to glance at the Top 10 Super Bowl sports bars in the area, as well as the Top 10 things to do in the area (Like No. 10: Visit GoDaddy.com headquarters, everybody's dream). Having a party? Here are the Top 10 things you need.
The Patriots have been in the Super Bowl before, of course, and they make SI.com’s list of the Top 10 Super Bowl underdogs at No. 6 (1996 Super Bowl), and again at No. 3 (2001 Super Bowl). This year’s Giants make the list at No. 5. According to this list, the Top 10 signs of another Super Bowl blowout.
None of the three New England title teams makes this list of the Top 10 greatest Super Bowl champs of all time.
There are 18 reasons the Patriots are a perfect 18-0, according to USA Today. Fox provided 10 things to do for yesterday, the first football-free Sunday since August. How about the Top 10 reasons you should place a friendly wager on the game? Only 10 reasons everyone wants the Patriots to lose? (Junior Seau’s haircut and the mustache of Larry Csonka are two worthy notations.)
There are the Top 10 Best and Worst Super Bowl (Scott Norwood) moments. Glenwood doesn’t make the list of Top 5 Super Bowl host cities. There’s even a book dedicated to Top 10 lists of the Super Bowl.
Of course, it will be difficult to avoid the Top 10 clichés for Super Bowl XLII. Crossing state lines, the Top 10 reasons Connecticut residents should root for the Giants instead of the Patriots. Reason No. 5: “The Mannings have a perfect 1-for-1 record in the Super Bowl.”
Brady is 3-for-3, but who’s counting.
Most importantly, the Top 10 reasons that Top 10 lists are so omnipresent. No. 1: “Because If You Put Numbers on It, People Will Read Anything, However Trite, Trivial and Insipid, from Beginning to End.”
Exactly. Where’s the bar?