Because it’s Friday, by now there’s nothing more to bring to you as we lead up to Super Bowl XLII other than the long journey of the Giants punter or the weekend plans for the Patriots team barber, so we present to you this riveting first-hand account of a former Michigan female classmate’s encounter with Tom Brady:
I had a class with him at University of Michigan, and we were in the same 20-person discussion section. I was surprised how deep his voice was. Very manly.
One day, as we were leaving class, Tom was ahead of me. I may or may not have waited until he left class to follow him. Of course it could have just been coincidence that he was right in front of me. Or fate.
He held the door for me! I said, “Thanks” in a tone just above a whisper. What I really wanted to say was, “Oh my God thank you so much I love football and I love you and can we go somewhere and cuddle and we would just have the cutest babies!!?”
I was a loser though and had to get to my next class, so I didn’t even get to follow him that day. Um, I mean I had to go to class, so we parted ways.
If this doesn’t tear you up, you do not have a heart.
Who they're picking
How folks from around the country see this Sunday's Super Bowl between the Patriots and Giants:
- Jim McCabe, Boston Globe: Patriots. “Assuming Michael Strahan has stopped talking and spectators have mustered the courage to walk into what appears to be a monstrous spaceship dropped amid desert and cacti . . . firm in their belief that Miss Nevada and the Playboy 'Bartender of the Year' have met their obligations and left the premises to purchase clothing that they desperately were in need of . . . figuring that fans have by now determined that it requires an overnight stay to get from Phoenix to Scottsdale . . . convinced that the 11,571 former NFL players sent via FedEx to satisfy the demands of talk-radio shows from 245 cities and 62 countries are returned safely . . . happy that all 1,593 transcribed interviews that required the death of 9,361 trees have been digested by media members from Tempe to Tobago . . . and satisfied that all coaches and players understand that it's all about the advertising spots and clever commercials and not about the touchdowns and tackles, NFL officials will give their blessing to the playing of a football game, one that will end as 18 previous ones have, with the Patriots winning.”
- Globe staff: All 12 pick the Patriots.
- Cold, Hard, Football Facts: Patriots 34, Giants 17. "All things considered, mighty Vegas is probably giving New York too much credit for the postseason with its 11.5 PPG spread. As we noted, this is literally the greatest statistical mismatch in championship game history. We wouldn't be surprised by an easy Patriot win, but then we wouldn't be totally shocked by a close one, either."
- Dr. Z, Sports Illustrated: Giants 24, Patriots 20. “Oh no, it'll be far from easy for the Giants, but they have some weapons of their own, you know, and not only among their highly touted pass rushers.”
- Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 34, Giants 27. "The Patriots put up 38 points on the Giants when they met a month ago, and New England has three big offensive weapons back from minor injuries that night -- right guard Steven Neal, right tackle Nick Kaczur and blocking tight end Kyle Brady. Tom Brady was uber-accurate with no errors and suffered just one sack last time. Folks, this is going to be Brady's day."
- Tom Curran, NBC Sports.com: Patriots 48, Giants 17. "Aside from the fact New England has the edge in every physical matchup except against wide receiver Plaxico Burress, the Patriots have also been here before. Several times. This is a whole new ballgame for the Giants. And it’s going to be a whole different ballgame from the one played December 29."
- USA Today staff: 7-1, Patriots.
- Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today: Patriots 35, Giants 24. “Because the Patriots have so much to gain and so much to lose and because the Patriots have been the best team all season, there's ample evidence to conclude the Patriots will make more plays than the Giants. As long as New England quarterback Tom Brady's ankle doesn't slow him down significantly.”
- Newsday staff picks: Tom Rock: Patriots 34, Giants 24. “Asante Samuel has two interceptions, one for a touchdown, and is named MVP.”
- Ed McNamara: Patriots, 28, Giants 20. “I don't think the Giants (13-6 ATS) will win, but I don't expect a blowout. They'll move the ball, especially between the 20s, but like last time, they won't stop the Patriots' brilliant, multi-dimensional offense.”
- Bob Glauber: Patriots, 27, Giants 20. “Giants make a game of it early, but Pats pull it out behind Tom Brady's late-game heroics.”
- Hondo, New York Post: Giants 38, Patriots 35. “How can you get behind a team with the Coach/Cheater of the Year, a gimpy QB, an underachieving WR, a dirty, late-hitting safety and other assorted villains, especially when they're giving an overly generous 12-point spot against America's beloved Giants? And how do you not back the Big Blue Magic Bus, which is fuel-injected by the 3Ms of Manning, moxie and mojo, and has been mowing down all in its path since a narrow loss to New England in the regular-season finale?”
- Brooklyn Decker, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model: Giants 31, Patriots 28. “"Let's not be so quick to underestimate the hot-right-now Giants. I'm excited to see another Manning in the big game, and the Patriots have the perfect season on the line. The Giants have nothing to lose-- especially if Eli plays like a rockstar.”
- Marisa Miller, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model: Patriots 31, Giants 24. "I think the Patriots will win. The Patriots being undefeated is incredible and it would be insane victory to go the whole season without losing a game. But I wouldn't be bummed if the Giants won. I love New York and it's fun rooting for the underdog. Honestly, I just want to watch a good game. A fight to the death! Just kidding."
- Jared, Subway geek: Giants 31, Patriots 24. "My man Strahan is going to be the difference maker."
- Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders.com: Patriots. “Most likely, the Giants won’t pull a shocking upset like the 2001 Patriots, and they won’t get blown off the field like the 1985 Patriots. (They certainly won’t be pulling Eli Manning for Anthony Wright, the way the Patriots pulled Eason for Steve Grogan.) Instead, they’ll end up like a third team from New England’s Super Bowl past: the 1996 Patriots, a good team outclassed by a great team.”
- Cris Carter, Yahoo sports: Patriots. “This game will be closer than a lot of people expect, but New England will complete its ‘Pursuit of Perfection.’”
- Plaxico Burress, Giants wide receiver: Giants 23, Patriots 17. "I don't understand what the fuss is about. I just made a prediction. We're in the entertainment business. I'm trying to have some fun. What's so wrong with that?''
- Sluggerrr, Kansas City Royals mascot: Patriots 45, Giants 14. “There is only one Manning who can beat New England, and he is already on vacation.”
- Jay Novacek, MSNBC.com: Patriots. “The Giants will get a couple of big plays in the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead, but the Pats will answer quickly for a 24-21 lead. Then New England will pull away in the fourth.”
- Princess the Camel: Giants.
- Gunther the cat: Patriots.
- Amber the Orangutan: Patriots.
- Vegas Vic, Philadelphia Daily News: Patriots 31, Giants 24. “Despite what Plaxico Burress said, the Pats should score more than 17 points (that could be a first-quarter total) and should dance off the field with their fourth Super Bowl title in the last 7 years.”
- Wright Thompson, ESPN.com: Giants 35, Patriots 3. "Ole Miss finally gets revenge on Michigan. The ghost of Greg Skrepenak is exorcised."
- Gregg Easterbrook, ESPN.com: Giants 20, Patriots 19. "This was the score 17 years ago when the Giants staged the most recent major Super Bowl upset over the heavily favored Bills, who had a record-setting offense."
- John Clayton, ESPN.com: Patriots 38, Giants 24. "Belichick needs to squeeze one more game and one more win out of this talented group. No team in football is better at finishing games -- and now the Pats will apply that mindset to finishing their perfect season."
- ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board (Sean Salisbury, Merrill Hoge, and Mark Schlereth yet to pick).
- Tiki Barber, Former Giants running back: Giants 21, Patriots 20. “For the last couple of weeks, they have defied expectation.”
- Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York: Giants 24, Patriots 21. “Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and the whole team seems to be hot at the right time. Plus, we know perfection will not be achieved in this life and is reserved for the next one.”
- Our pick: Patriots 54, Giants 17. The Pats score early and often. The Giants keep up in the first half, but are forced to go for it too many times in the second half, putting the ball in prime scoring position for Brady and Co., who lay it on thick and complete their 19-0 season.