Monday, January 21, 2008

Giants' Request: Move Super Bowl To Foxborough

The matchup for Super Bowl XLII is set, as the underdog New York Giants will attempt to knock off the undefeated New England Patriots. The showdown is scheduled for February 3 in Glendale, Arizona, but the NFC champions reportedly want a change of venue. According to a source close to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the Giants have requested that the game be moved to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

On that site yesterday, the Patriots moved one step closer to history with a 21-12 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game. The Giants punched their ticket by winning a 23-20 overtime classic in Green Bay. The NFC matchup was most notable for the frigid conditions at Lambeau Field, reminiscent of the Ice Bowl in 1967. Or as it would be known today, the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Bowl Presented by Frigidaire.

The triumph was New York’s third straight on an opponent’s home field in these playoffs. The Giants seem to thrive in front of the hostile opposing fans, much more than they do before the hostile home fans. Overall, the Giants have not lost a road game since the season opener at Dallas on September 9. For these New Yorkers in 2007, everything changed after 9/11. Therefore, during his presidential campaign, Rudy Giuliani is taking credit for the Giants’ road success.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin remarked that New York is entitled to another game on an opponent’s home field. He pointed out that the Giants’ “road” game against Miami was actually at a neutral site in London. Therefore, playing the “neutral site” Super Bowl on the Pats’ home field would only be fair. Coughlin added, “This neutral site thing doesn’t work for us. We beat a 1-15 team by a measly three points. So what hope do we have against an 18-0 team on a neutral site? Let us go to their place, where we have a chance!”

The Patriots, of course, are perfect at Gillette Stadium this season. However, New York General Manager Jerry Reese enthusiastically echoed his coach’s comments, saying, “They’re undefeated – they deserve a home game!” Reese also pointed out, “Boston just hosted the World Series, and it will probably host the NBA Finals. So no matter what sport, Boston fans feel entitled to host the championship round. Why should we get in the way of that?”

Despite their arguments, the Giants’ request is unlikely to be granted. While the Super Bowl crowns the NFL champions, the event’s reach goes well beyond football. Huge numbers of parties and corporate events have already been scheduled for Arizona. Reese countered, “The Super Bowl is supposed to be for football fans, not big corporations.” At that point, even he doubled over in laughter at the absurdity of his statement.

Besides the logistical nightmare of a last-minute rescheduling, the other huge stumbling block to a Foxborough Super Bowl would be the weather concerns. Early February in Massachusetts, in an outdoor stadium, could bring a blizzard for the showcase game. Coughlin pointed out, “Well, what about last year? They had it in Miami, and it rained like hell!” Inclement weather could even the playing field against the Patriots, but Coughlin has another reason to wish this year’s Super Bowl were like last year. He has a Manning on his side, but the opposing quarterback is definitely not Rex Grossman.

As it stands, the Giants will likely have to endure the huge disadvantage of a neutral field, instead of the comforts of the hostile crowd in Foxborough. However, they can still find reason for hope, thanks to their narrow defeat to New England in the regular season finale. As Michael Strahan proclaimed, “We almost beat them before. And this time, we won’t have to play them at our place!”