Visitors are flooding into Lucas Oil Stadium for Super Bowl XLVI, greeted by a soundtrack of Midwest favorites, like Michael Jackson’s Back to Indiana and John Cougar Mellencamp’s Small Town. Years of preparation for the city of Indianapolis have lead to this day.
Canada’s own Barenaked Ladies are taking the stage at the Bud Light Hotel inside the Super Bowl Village, and the streets and bars are jammed with fans debating today’s hottest topics. Tom Brady or Eli Manning? Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin? Patriots or Giants?
The minute-by-minute buzz around Indianapolis all week has been better known as Gronk Watch. The Patriots tight end, who has been the rock star of Super Bowl week, will play today, according to the latest reports. He has been limited in practice this week after he suffered a severe high-ankle sprain in the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens. He was seen without a walking boot this week, and some reports say he’ll have a special shoe on today. Gronkowski broke the NFL's single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end, hauling in 17 this season.
The Patriots are out to avenge a dramatic upset in the 2008 Super Bowl, when the Giants upset them and spoiled their perfect season. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will try to duplicate his effort of 2008, out-maneuvering Pats boss Bill Belichick. The two shared time as assistants under Bill Parcells with the Giants in the 80s. But neither was willing to share warm fuzzies about the other all week.
If Pats quarterback Tom Brady wins today, he may well be considered the greatest quarterback of all time. He would join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks in history to win four Super Bowls. Belichick may well do the same today, cementing a legacy as the best NFL coach of all time.
Eli Manning, long in the shadow of his successful older brother Peyton Manning, could do much to move out of that shadow, picking up his second Super Bowl victory. Along the way, fans are hoping for a touchdown pass to Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who would respond by performing his salsa celebration dance.
One of the game’s most compelling storylines is the Patriots’ quest to win for Myra Kraft, wife of owner Robert Kraft. They have dedicated the season to her, wearing her initials on their jerseys.