the Super Bowl

Undeclared freshman Grace Bellone (left) and public relations plan II freshman Caroline Read (right) watch the final minutes of Super Bowl XLVIII at Tower Pizza Bistro on Sunday evening. Bellone was frustrated to see the Seattle Seahawks dominate the Denver Broncos with a final score of 43-8. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

For many TV viewers, the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night was a distraction from the real game going on — the ads.

At a yearly panel organized by the public affairs, advertising and public relations departments of the Moody College of Communication, seven advertising professors came together to discuss the Super Bowl’s ads via Twitter.

University professors and lecturers tweeted their opinions on the Super Bowl commercials under #SBAdJudge. University advertising and public relations students also tweeted under #AdGradBowl and #ADV378S.

Public relations junior Hugo Rojo said the Super Bowl is as much of an event for those interested in advertising as it is for football fans.

“It’s almost a national holiday for sports aficionados, so you can imagine what it’s like for us advertising and PR folk,” Rojo said.

Advertising professor Neal Burns said he thinks this year’s panel had a nice mix of perspectives, as each contributor focuses on different aspects of the ads.

“I’m interested in the brand,” Burns said. “And I’m interested in how well the spot supports the image I’ve got of the brand.”

Advertising assistant professor Carlos Hernandez said he looked for emotional appeals of the advertisements.

“It requires a lot of creativity and talent to create ads that can connect emotionally with their audience,” Hernandez said.

Advertisements with an emotional appeal dominated the airwaves this year. Advertising assistant professor Angeline Close said Coca-Cola’s “America Is Beautiful” ad was effective. 

“America as one is the theme behind the Coca-Cola spot. Superb use of music in advertising & multi-cultural branding. Pretty Ad.” Close tweeted.

The professors also commented on the strategies employed by the advertisements. Michael Mackert, an advertising and public relations associate professor, said he thought the RadioShack ad was especially clever. 

“Interesting from RadioShack, leaning into the idea that it’s old and outdated and needs to change. Loved that.” Mackert tweeted.

Burns said the Super Bowl commercials are important because they have the potential to not only reflect, but influence society.

“There’s a way in which advertising, on the one hand, reflects our culture, and other aspects where advertising helps create or articulate our culture,” Burns said.

While the audience numbers for Super Bowl XLVIII have not been released yet, last year’s event attracted about 108.7 million viewers. Becuase of the large audience size, a 30-second ad cost about $4 million.

Mackert said the ads would be a point of focus for him with or without an organized panel. 

“Since tweeting during the Super Bowl about ads is something I would have been doing anyway, it seemed like a fun way to engage with other faculty and students,” Mackert said.

Former Longhorn safety Earl Thomas will be suiting up for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday as they face off against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

When Super Bowl XLVIII concludes on Sunday, at least one former Longhorn defensive player will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. 

This year’s game features Seattle’s Earl Thomas against Denver’s Michael Huff and Quentin Jammer, continuing a tradition in which a former Longhorn has made it to the Super Bowl every year since 2007. 

Texas junior cornerback Quandre Diggs, who is Jammer’s younger brother, is excited for the matchup and to see the trio represent Texas as “Defensive Back University.”

“It means a lot just to know that pretty much every year for a long time there has been a DB in that game,” Diggs said. ”No matter who wins, we know a DB will get the Super Bowl.”

 

Earl Thomas, safety:

Thomas was drafted No. 14 overall by the Seahawks in the 2010 NFL draft, following a sensational redshirt sophomore season in which he was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist.

Thomas is regarded by many to be the best safety in the NFL and is a crucial piece in the Seahawks’ secondary. If the Seahawks are going to win, they will need their defense to step up, which means Thomas playing at a high level. Though it wouldn’t be a surprise if he makes a game-changing play, Thomas is focused on just doing the little things right.

“You see a lot of guys that aren’t tackling as well; they’re not doing as well as they started,” Thomas said. “That’s what it’s all about — sticking to your core beliefs, sticking to who you are and everything else will take care of itself.”

Of the three Longhorns in the game, Thomas has the most potential to decide the game with a decisive interception or pass breakup.

 

Michael Huff, safety:

Huff was drafted seventh overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2006 NFL draft, following the 2005 season, in which he became Texas’ first Thorpe Award winner while helping the Longhorns to their first national title in 35 years.

Huff’s best season was in 2010 when he recorded career-highs in tackles, sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions en route to being named a second-team All-Pro safety. He spent his first seven seasons in Oakland before being cut in March 2013, he was later picked up by the Ravens before being cut again mid-season. Now Huff is on the verge of winning the Super Bowl, having been picked up by the Broncos in November. With the humbling experience of losing in Oakland behind him, he realizes the need to seize the moment now.

“Those years in Oakland, getting cut by two teams this year,” Huff said. “To know nothing but winning in college, struggle for seven years and never even get to the playoffs, all of those losing seasons, just makes what I’m feeling right now extra special.”

 

Quentin Jammer, cornerback:

Jammer was drafted fifth overall in 2002 by the San Diego Chargers, after being named a unanimous All-American in 2001.

In 2009, Jammer was named to the Chargers’ 50th anniversary team as a cornerback. After 11 seasons with San Diego, the Broncos picked him up and he is now primarily cornerback Champ Bailey’s backup. Like Huff, Jammer probably won’t have much impact in the game, though he should see some important playing time.

“I am excited to be able to share it with him and go up there and be by his side through the rest of the weekend and hope they go out and get the win,” Diggs said.

For football fans, the week preceding the super bowl is the worst. The various media outlets are trying to force narratives, like how this week’s weather will effect next week’s game—here’s a hint, it probably won’t. Or the fact that the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is still apologizing for his post-game interview. Or it could just be as simple as the potential for one of the best Super Bowls of all time.

But no worries, the NFL is serving an underwhelming appetizer - the Pro Bowl.

Yes, the Pro Bowl, where the NFL’s best - except for the players that have declined to go, are injured or those who are in next week’s super bowl - take a trip to Hawaii and play a meaningless game.

The Pro Bowl is not known for producing a captivating game. The game is watered down with a lack of defense.

However, this year is supposed to be different. In an effort to make the game better, this year’s Pro Bowl is fantasy football style with un-conferenced team.

The NFL chose former superstars Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice to pick the teams. Will this year’s game be any better than previous games? Probably not but let’s compare offenses.

Quarterbacks

Team Rice: Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Alex Smith

Team Sanders: Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Nick Foles

Edge: Team Rice. Two of Team Rice’s quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers, rank in the top five in passing touchdowns and top ten in passing yards. While Team Sanders’ Nick Foles is the only quarterback on the squad in the top ten in passing touchdowns. Team Sanders doesn’t have a quarterback in the top ten in passing yards.

Running Backs

Team Rice: LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte

Team Sanders: Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris

Edge: Slight edge Team Rice. While McCoy and Forte led the league in rushing yards, Charles and Morris follow in third and fourth, respectively. However, Team Sanders’ running backs scored a combined 30 TDs, three more than Team Rice. The deciding factor was fumbles - Team Sanders out-fumbled Team Rice 10-5.

Wide Receivers

Team Rice: Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall

Team Sanders: Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, AJ Green and Desean Jackson

Edge: None. Both of these teams are equal at the wide receiver spot. Team Sanders’ receivers scored one more combined touchdown than Team Rice’s receivers, 41-40. Seven of the eight Pro Bowl receivers accumulated over a thousand yards receiving, Larry Fitzgerald was the only receiver without a thousand receiving yards.

Tight Ends

Team Rice: Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez

Team Sanders: Jordan Cameron and Jason Witten

Edge: Team Rice. Jimmy Graham alone scored sixteen touchdowns, Jordan Cameron and Jason Witten combined to score fifteen TDs this past season. Tony Gonzalez adds an additional eight touchdowns to Team Rice.

Pick: Team Rice 56 Team Sanders 52

Joe Flacco has last laugh after vindicating Super Bowl victory

When Joe Flacco said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL in a radio interview last April, most people thought he was crazy.

I know I did.

It was like saying Crocs had the most swag in the market when they came out.

Eli Manning went through the same type of scrutiny when he claimed that he was one of the quarterback "elites" in 2011, and he had to win the Super Bowl just to prove that claim. Surely, Flacco knew better than to make an assertion that exceeded a two-time Super Bowl champion.

But throughout the season I watched, as did others who doubted, as Flacco outperformed his opponents, defeating supposed superiors throughout the postseason and amid the purple and white confetti it was he who held the Lombardi Trophy, smiling as if to say, “I told you so.”

After throwing for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions throughout the playoffs and earning Super Bowl MVP honors, Flacco proved his claim with the best postseason performance by any quarterback since Joe Montana in 1989.

Here's that list of quarterbacks who I thought were better than Flacco, and how Flacco proved me wrong. In short, the five-year quarterback out of the University of Delaware went mad scientist on everybody, and it was he who had the last laugh.

Quarterbacks better than Flacco (as of last April)

1. Aaron Rodgers
Why:
For one, I don’t see Flacco saving anyone money on their auto insurance. Secondly, he needs to earn MVP status before he passes Rodgers. With 45 touchdowns and six interceptions on the year, Rodgers put up video game-like numbers, leading the Packers to a 15-1 season. One of the few flaws to his season came in the Divisional Playoffs, being outplayed by Eli Manning, another quarterback seeking elite status.
Why Not:
As reigning Super Bowl MVP, Flacco earned the status I said was necessary. In contrast to Rodgers, his video game-like numbers came in the postseason with 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games; the best playoffs performance by a quarterback since Joe Montana in 1989. There are three quarterbacks in NFL history who everyone wants to be compared to: Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, and John Elway. Flacco’s got one. But unlike Rodgers, he won’t be saving anyone money with the contract he will be receiving.

2. Drew Brees
Why:
After breaking Dan Marino’s single-season passing record that had stood for 27 years, I thought Brees was on his way to being named league MVP. Like Rodgers, Brees has proved essential to the team’s success, bringing it from the bottom of the NFC South to Super Bowl champions only two years ago. With 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns on the season, Brees has stated a better case for being named “the best” along with his leadership role with his teammates.
Why Not:
Brees had almost the same success in the 2012 season as he had in the year prior, and his team missed the playoffs. Although they were without Sean Payton for the year, I still believe that disproves my theory of Brees’ vitality to the team’s success, or at least diminishes it. However, Brees just may be the closest argument to Flacco’s claim. Brees threw the ball almost 140 more times than Flacco, and without the consistent running game and defense that Baltimore possesses, New Orleans was in more of a position to pass the ball more frequently. There are many arguments that can be made for Brees’ case against Flacco, but Flacco can always play the “I’m the Super Bowl MVP” trump card. We are talking about the present, anyway.

3. Tom Brady
Why:
Although Flacco outperformed Brady in the AFC Championship (2011), one cannot argue against the consistency that Brady has had. Throughout the season (2011), Tom Brady’s performance in the AFC Championship was the only game in which he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns. Although Brady is in a more pass-oriented system that has given him 70 more attempts than Flacco, he has completed around 10 percent more of his passes and threw the same number of interceptions.
Why Not:
Flacco has not only once again outplayed Tom Brady in the postseason, but improved his completion percentage, pulling within three points of Brady. Flacco also showed maturity throughout the postseason, completing deep passes that he normally would have thrown inaccurately, such as the 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones that sent the Ravens into overtime with the Denver Broncos.

4. Peyton Manning
Why:
Even with three neck surgeries in a span of 19 months hanging a veil of uncertainty over his future, Peyton Manning is higher up the ladder than Flacco. Manning is almost his own offense. He is crazy smart and picks defenses apart. Earlier I discussed how essential Brees was to the Saints. The Colts went 2-14 without Manning. Now that Denver has claimed him, it will be interesting to see how the No. 1 rushing offense will adapt with Manning. He might be at the tail end of his career, but his name is about to go right alongside Unitas, Montana, and Elway when it comes to greatness, and I think even at his lowest point he will outperform Flacco.
Why Not:
This argument will sound much like the case against Brady. Manning gets the credit for being able to bounce back after a season-ending injury like he had. I don’t know what exactly they did over in Europe (perhaps moose antler spray), but Peyton was certainly back up to speed. In fact, he threw for more yards, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than he did when he took the Colts to the Super Bowl in 2009. So why is Flacco better? For some reason I keep likening these comparisons to a schoolyard fight. You’ve got the big kid versus the average kid, and all day before recess everybody makes their predictions based on what they can see. Well in this case, Manning’s the big kid and Flacco’s the average kid. Manning has the better statistics and he’s beaten up all the other kids that have come through the fourth grade as he’s been held back (metaphorically speaking). But head-to-head, in the midst of the fight, Flacco outperforms. He makes the big plays, he throws for more yardage, more touchdowns and a higher completion percentage in their Divisional Playoff matchup. In that sense, I consider him the better quarterback. But I guess it depends on what you value. By the most current sense of the word, Flacco is better than Peyton Manning.

5. Eli Manning
Why:
I decided to put Eli up here because I feel this leads up well to the point I’m trying to make: You have to earn your spot to be listed up here. Eli went out on a limb and said he was "elite," then played elite, beating most of the quarterbacks on this list along the way. So Flacco… Your turn.
Why Not:
Flacco certainly followed up with his turn, beginning his case ironically against the Giants in Week 16 when he threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-14 win that gave the initial nudge that was the falling out of New York’s season. From then on he would not throw another interception, outperforming Eli and the rest of those on this list in backing up his claim.

Flacco and the Ravens organization will now enter the offseason, writing up what many expect to be a very sizable contract. But who knows if Flacco will accept the
offer? He might think he’s worth more. He is mad after all.

NEW ORLEANS — Who turned out the lights?

The day after the 34-minute blackout at the Super Bowl, the exact cause was unclear, although a couple of potential culprits had been ruled out.

It wasn’t Beyoncé’s electrifying halftime performance, said Doug Thornton, manager of the state-owned Superdome, since the singer had her own generator. And it apparently wasn’t a case of too much demand for power.

Determining the cause will probably take days, according to Dennis Dawsey, a vice president for distribution and transmission for Entergy. He said the makers of some of the switching gear have been brought in to help figure out what happened.

Beyonce performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, in New Orleans.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The New Orleans Superdome was not ready for Beyonce’s jelly. Literally, the power went out. And the Ravens and 49ers should have taken it as a sign. Nothing, even winning the Super Bowl, could top Beyonce’s performance last night.

Super Bowl XLVII, to forever be known as the Beyonce Bowl, could very easily go down as the greatest half-time show in history.  

Half-time history is pretty bleak. There are many more infamous performances than well-regarded ones. And after several years of various rock and roll grandpas making appearances, news of Beyonce performing  was welcomed with much excitement. I mean if anyone can do half-time right, it’s Beyonce. 

And boy did she do it right. I had chills from the moment her super-sized silhouette was surrounded with flames. 

Beyonce began with “Crazy in Love” and included “End of Time” and “Baby Boy.” She donned a leather body suit that the New York Times reported was made with strips of python and iguana. 

There was no shortage of fire or digitally reproduced Beyonces, which fulfilled all my dreams of multiple Beyonces existing on earth, thus increasing my chances of meeting her. 

If you didn’t get emotional when Kelly and Michelle jumped on stage, then you must not remember how divine the trio was emerging from the ocean in the “Survivor” video. The reunited Destiny’s Child sang “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women” and “Single Ladies.” Beyonce to close the show solo with “Halo.”  

The stakes were high for Beyonce. She is the closest we have to royalty here in America, our own Kate Middleton. And with the lip-syncing drama surrounding her performance at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, skeptics couldn’t help but wonder, would she or wouldn’t she? 

Beyonce answered the question during the Super Bowl press conference. “I am well-rehearsed,” she said. “This is what I was born to do.” As far as I could tell, there was not a lip-synced moment during Queen B’s show. 

I am anxiously awaiting BuzzFeed’s collection of “Best of Beyonce’s Half-Time Faces” or “Greatest Hair Flips during Super Bowl XLVII,” because there were many. When Beyonce thanked the crowd, all I could think was we should be thanking her. 

This half-time show is just the beginning of what seems, so far, to be the year of Beyonce. Her self-directed documentary will appear on HBO on Feb. 16. The singer has also confirmed a new solo album to be released later this year.

If this Super Bowl performance is any clue as to what we can expect for the rest of 2013, it will be a year of fabulous hair flips, leather body suits and pop music perfection.

Published on February 4, 2013 as "Beyonce wows crowd before electric outage".

Baggers Lexi Neely (center) and Drew FInn (right) prepare one of the many orders that Plucker’s on West Campus received on Super Bowl Sunday, one of the busiest business days of the year for the wing bar.

Photo Credit: Jorge Corona | Daily Texan Staff

On any other day Pluckers is buzzing, but on Sunday, the doors opened and hoards of fans swarmed through the entrance. Every year before the Super Bowl begins the team says a few words in an attempt to stay calm as they prepare to head to war. They have to get their heads in the game. There can be no mistakes or second chances. It’s Super Bowl Sunday at Pluckers, and the stakes have never been higher. 

“The time during the Super Bowl is definitely the craziest time of the year. During those five or so hours, Pluckers does more business than any other day of the year,“ Raven Chastain, a server for a year and a half and a fifth-year nutritional science student at UT, explained. 

Preparing to serve hundreds of people in the span of a mere five hours, Pluckers braces itself for the tide of game-day fanatics by making subtle changes. Super Bowl Sunday is the only day of the year where Pluckers allows for five-dollar reservations. There is another cashier set up for the massive influx of to-go orders and pick-ups. Braving the masses, the cashier becomes in charge of handling business with anyone and everyone craving chicken. This position takes a special type of mental fortitude and preparation.

“We’re ready to go and we are just waiting. You know it’s going to happen, but you don’t know exactly when,” Munson Stodder, the general manager for Pluckers on Rio Grande Street, explained. “It’s just going to turn on. The doors are going to get blown off and you have to go. At that point in time everyone knows their job and they know what they have to do.”

The team warms up to take the floor anxiously awaiting the swarm of overly invested fans. Like he does on every other day, Munson will remind the team to stay focused and keep calm during Super Bowl festivities. 

Munson planned a few choice words to keep his employees motivated. “Just be ready to have a good time. Be ready for the butt-kicking. You’re going to love it, but it’s going to be a big one,” Munson said. “The people who work the hardest jobs actually request to work that day because it’s a test to see if they can still do it. There’s no busier day for the number of hours.”

With televisions blaring score updates, customers demanding more ranch and rivalries heating up, the Pluckers team has to remain in control. 

“A lot of different fans will jaw at each other. You just have to make sure it stays good-hearted joking and nothing serious. It’s very easy to walk up to someone and tell them to clam down. They calm down pretty quickly when I do it,” Munson said. 

The workday begins early at around eight, but the mental strain can be felt days before.  Team members are advised to stay hydrated, eat well and come rested.  

“On big games, we have been known to have a tunnel on the outside. Everyone’s lined up and we do the tunnel. People have to run through the tunnel,” Munson said. “I have a spirit sign, a slap sign like college teams use when they leave the locker room. The sign I have says ‘Care. Work hard. Have fun.’”

Choosing favorites and keeping score, the staff has their own bets and predictions. Keeping a scorecard in the back, team members enjoy their own Super Bowl Sunday. But with hundreds of rowdy chicken-hungry fans demanding instant wings, there has to be a game plan. Planning days in advance the team strategizes on how best to tackle the sheer quantity of chicken needed. 

“On a typical day like this we will go through well over a ton of chicken wings plus another thousand pounds of our boneless wings. We’ll go through a couple hundred gallons of sauce on a day like this,” Munson said. “Those numbers add up to two or three thousand pounds of chicken.”

When it comes to cooking a ton of chicken, the key is speed. There can be no hesitation. No fear. 

“That day, it was really just a speed component. It’s a never-ending cycle. It’s constantly building the speed as the day goes on. The Super Bowl kicks off and it just gets crazier and crazier,” Dick Clark, a cook for over a year, explained. “It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a really tough day.” 

The happiness of the anxious fans in the front of the house is largely dependent on the efficiency of the kitchen. If things begin to slow down, it could cost Pluckers the advantage. Staff must constantly stay at the top of their game. 

“The thing we always say is, ‘It’s wings and beer,’” Munson said. “It always puts them back in the right mood, and they realize they were freaking out about something that wasn’t necessary. It’s just wings and beer.”

Published on February 4, 2013 as "Pluckers prepares for big game". 

NFC Championship Game a Matchup of Youth, Inexperience

When the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons face off in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, there are bound to be some players with wide-eyed expressions on their faces.  That’s because neither team boasts many players with much playoff experience, as both Matt Ryan and Colin Kaepernick earned their first playoff victories last week.  With so much at stake, how these teams handle this unfamiliar territory will determine who moves on to the Super Bowl.  With that, here are a few storylines to keep in mind heading into Atlanta on Sunday:

1) Can the Falcons’ Offense Fly High?

Boasting a fearsome duo at the wide receiver position in Julio Jones and Roddy White, Atlanta posses some serious talent at its skill positions on offense.  Oh, and they also have Tony Gonzalez, who’s still playing at a hall of fame level despite his age.  However, the 49ers defense, lead by linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Aldon Smith, is a physical unit that is capable of pressuring opposing quarterbacks at will.  How Matt Ryan handles San Francisco’s blitzes will play a huge role in this game.

2) Slowing Down Kaepernick

If the Falcons want to stand a chance, it’s imperative that they slow down 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who amassed more than 400 total yards of offense against Green Bay last week, rushing for two touchdowns and passing for two more scores.  What makes Kaepernick most dangerous is his ability to get out of the pocket and throw on the run.  In order for Atlanta to be successful, they need to keep Kaepernick stationary and contain him when he runs the read-option.

3) Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice….

The 49ers were that close to earning a Super Bowl appearance last year, when they lost at home to the eventual champion New York Giants in overtime, 20-17.  Here they are a year later in the same position, only this time they’re heading into the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons went 7-1 during the regular season.  Having gotten back to within one game of the Super Bowl for the second straight year, will San Francisco get over the hump, or will Matt Ryan earn his second straight playoff victory having none before 2012?  Either will be a hot topic come Monday morning.

Prediction:

Although the Falcons have been basically unbeatable in the Georgia dome over the past several years, history has shown that teams can challenge them there in the playoffs, as they lost to Green Bay in 2011 and narrowly escaping against the Seahawks last week.  Despite Colin Kaepernick’s inexperience, he will turn in a good enough performance to go along with a strong outing by the San Francisco defense, and the 49ers will be on their way to New Orleans for a long-awaited Super Bowl appearance.

Score: 38-24, San Francisco

Super Bowl: A Closer Look at the Numbers

This is the first time that the Super Bowl is a rematch of a regular season game since the 2007 season, in which these same Giants and Patriots played each other in the regular season finale, with the Patriots finishing their perfect regular season. In the 45 year history of the Super Bowl, there have only been 12 rematches of regular season games. It’s difficult to beat an NFL team twice in a season, as is evident by the results of those games, in which the loser of the regular season matchup came back to win the Super Bowl seven times, including three of the last four.

The Patriots had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL this season, averaging 32 points per game this season, good for third in the league. They have been held under 30 points five times this season, and were held under 20 points in one game against the Steelers. In the Patriots losses and lowest offensive outputs, New England was done in by turnovers. The Patriots turned the ball over 15 times, with Brady throwing 8 interceptions. Against the Giants, Brady threw for over 330 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and fumbled, which the Giants turned into 10 points.

This will be the third rematch in this postseason for New York. After the Giants beat the Patriots in week nine, they lost four consecutive games. Two of those losses came to San Francisco, and Green Bay. The Giants exacted revenge against the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs by dismantling them at home to the tune of a 17 point win. The Giants followed that win up by beating the 49er’s in a rematch game in the NFC Championship game. That trend carried the Giants this far, but may aid the Patriots more considering that they lost to the Giants at home in the middle of the season.

The New York Giants have the best scoring defense this postseason, allowing only 13 points per game , including shutting out the Atlanta offense (the Falcons defense forced a safety against the Giants). New England, has the second best scoring offense in the playoffs, scoring 34 points per game, with a demolishing of Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs. It would be obvious to say that this game comes down to the New England offense against the New York defense, but the Patriot defense allowed 21 points per game in the regular season, while the Giants allowed 25. While the New England offense was expected to be explosive, the New York offense was also top ten in scoring this season, scoring 24 points per game in the regular season. And those stats are right, the Giants are the statistical quirk of this Super Bowl, having scored 394 points in the regular season, while giving up 400 points.

A number that will be shoved down our throats leading up to the Super Bowl is that the Giants got 48 sacks this season. The maligned Patriots defense wasn’t far behind, registering 40 in the regular season. Even into the postseason, the Giants have nine sacks in three games, while the Patriots registered eight in just two. New York has the more celebrated pass rush, which will be a major factor in the game, but the more important one may be the Patriots pressure on Manning, which won’t be a major headline anywhere you look.

There were two 99 yard touchdowns this season. The first came in week one, where Brady hit Wes Welker for a 99 yard touchdown against the Dolphins. The other came in week 16 where Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 99 yard score against the Jets. Welker had the number one statistical season in 2011, somewhat forgotten behind the tight end play. Cruz was the fifth best receiver during the regular season. Cruz was also second in the league in 40+ yard catches with nine during the regular season. Despite splitting catches, Cruz and teammate Hakeem Nicks are the top two receivers this postseason, with six 20+ yard catches, and two 40+ yard catches from Nicks.

NEW YORK — With the Super Bowl days away, federal authorities announced a crackdown Thursday on websites that stream unauthorized broadcasts of sports events just hours after New England quarterback Tom Brady told reporters gathered in Indianapolis that he watched last year’s game on an illegal site.

Investigators seized 16 sites and brought criminal charges against a Michigan man who controlled nine of them.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned sports fans in a release that piracy costs sports leagues and broadcasters millions of dollars, forcing increases in ticket prices and other costs to consumers.
His message came soon after Brady casually mentioned his own use of illegal websites during a news conference staged in preparation for the Super Bowl on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

“Last year I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica, watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl website. And now I’m actually playing in the game. So, it’s pretty cool,” Brady said.

Web operator Yonjo Quiroa, of Comstock Park, Mich., was charged Wednesday with copyright infringement. Prosecutors said he distributed football, basketball and hockey games and wrestling matches.

Quiroa appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday. He was held without bail while his immigration status was under review. Larry Phelan, his lawyer, declined to comment.

Authorities said the prosecution was part of a continuing federal effort to target counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet.