Kickoff is nearly at hand for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. The New York Giants and New England Patriots will meet in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII and a Week 9 game this season, both wins by the Giants.
This game has been analyzed and discussed non-stop for two weeks, but here are 10 things you might not have heard:
• Let’s start with the coin toss. The past 29 times the Patriots have won the pregame coin toss they have elected to defer the choice until the second half. The last (and only) time they chose to receive since that option was started in 2006, was Week 1 of the 2008 season against the Kansas City Chiefs – the day Tom Brady’s season ended with an injury.
• On the other hand, from Week 1 in 2008 to Dec. 4, 2011, the Giants chose to receive on every opening coin toss they won, a streak of 30 regular-season and playoff games where they chose to receive. But then in Week 17 this season against the Dallas Cowboys, with their season on the line, they chose to defer.
• This marks the fourth time the Giants have met a team in the Super Bowl that they had defeated in the same regular season. They are 3-0 in those past rematches.
• Since 2006 the Patriots have played 25 games against NFC opponents, including postseason. They are 21-1 against NFC teams OTHER than Giants, but 1-2 against the Giants. The only other NFC team to beat the Patriots in that time is the New Orleans Saints in 2009.
• At 65, Tom Coughlin could become the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl. Bill Belichick, 59, would be the fourth-oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl.
Manning• Seven different head coaches have won the last seven Super Bowls: Belichick, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Coughlin, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy. It’s the first time that seven different head coaches have won seven successive Super Bowls. But that streak will end tonight.
• Tonight’s game will mark the first Super Bowl matching two starting quarterbacks who were both former Super Bowl MVPs. Tom Brady won it twice, while Eli Manning won it against the Patriots four years ago.
• Manning and Brady will be the third set of starting quarterbacks to meet in multiple Super Bowls. In the previous repeats (Troy Aikman vs. Jim Kelly, Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach), the QB who won the first game also won the second.
Brady• Tom Brady has thrown only one interception in 156 career passes in the Super Bowl. He was picked off by Panthers cornerback Reggie Howard in Super Bowl XXXVIII. That gives Brady the second-lowest career interception rate among the 15 QBs with at least 50 Super Bowl passes, behind Joe Montana, who was never intercepted in 122 pass attempts.
• The Giants have gained a first down on six of 12 plays on third down with 10+ yards to go during this postseason. The league average in that category this season was 19.7 percent, just about the rate at which the Giants converted during the regular season (19.6).