Indianapolis in winter is not fun. The snow piles up in drifts that covers cars in the time it takes to drink a few pints, and the icy roads make navigating home after said beers like a low speed version of Tokyo Drift. The weather does at least add a patina of interest to Indianapolis itself, which is one of the most quaintly flat places you’ve ever been. Like Ipswich on a gigantic scale. There’s the race track of course, a giant homunculus on the east side of town, that when not hosting the eponymous 500 looks like a disused WWII airfield, and a small, proud CBD whose purpose seems purely to guide one gently toward the freeways to Chicago, the great business magnet to the north. Indianapolans (Indiani?) are your classic warm, open-hearted MidWesterners: fond of bland food and even blander beer in truly gigantic quantities. If you’ve ever wanted to eat your weight in 6” onion rings that don’t taste of onion, this is the place (get it from the Mug’n’Bun below – famous for their homemade rootbeer!).
The other joy of Indianapolis are the Colts (no-one has mentioned the Pacers since @1994) whose newly built home Lucas Oil Stadium, hosts the 46th Superbowl. There is a long-standing curse that no team has ever played the Superbowl in its home stadium, and when this venue was announced 4 years ago you could only get short odds that the curse would end here. The Peyton Manning led Colts were in the midst of a great decade, and it looked like it would never end. Instead Peyton is being run out of town on his broken neck, and it will be the great Satan for Colts fans, the NE Patriots, and younger brother Eli Manning that play here on Sunday.
GUIDE TO THE GIANTS
Eli Manning has proved his toughness time and time again. He makes good decisions, and ended the Patriots perfect season in 2007, winning his first ring.
But most of the time he looks like an out of shape guy from Accounting at a bad Xmas party:
COACH: Tom Coughlin
A no humour old-fashioned coach that knows how to get the most out of his not particularly talented team. His teams just scrape into the playoffs, then go deep once they’re there, beating much ‘better’ teams. He’s the anti-Arsene Wenger.
Receiver Hakeem Nicks’ fingers. His hands are 10.5” long (26.6 cm). That’s about 2 inches longer than other 6 foot men. Um, that’s some BIG HANDS you got there guy. (Any and all women and gay men reading this suddenly way more interested in the NFL).
GUIDE TO THE PATRIOTS
The Gronk, Rob Gronkowski (you will hear his name approx. 867 times during the game)
The Patriots, and Tom Brady, are the gold standard of the NFL. 3 Superbowl wins in the last 11 years, an almost perfect season in 2007, and an incredible ability to turn complete idiots (this year Chad Ochocinco) into humble, useful players. That’s some serious alchemy. Vegas has them as favourites purely on rep. They haven’t been super this year, but still, they’re here and the others aren’t.
Their success is driven by their coach (see below) but the leadership comes from Brady, who despite being good looking, ridiculously successful and married to the world’s top supermodel, is still a hard-working SOB on the field. For other hard-ass egos being on the Patriots with Tom can’t be fun: he’s better looking than you, has the most SB visits of any current player (never mind the rings and titles), and oh, here’s my wife Gisele Bundchen:
COACH: Bill Belichick.
A football genius. Possibly the only American with a genuine grasp of irony. Would be the greatest straight man in comedy if he wanted. Will do anything to win. Failed miserably with the Cleveland Browns, which only shows he’s actually human. Along with Brady, an instant Hall of Famer.
Cheerleaders. The Patriots have them, the Giants don’t. That’s got to be worth 3 points.
The Gronk. He’s tall, fast and very hard to bring down. Has the most TDs in the 2011 season, not just for Tight Ends, but TOTAL. Also, turns out The Gronk’s brothers went to Ivy League schools. He’s secretly smart. That’s a good thing in a 6’ 5” guy who can sprint 35 metres in 4.5 seconds.
MY PICK: My heart says Patriots (revenge!) but my head says the Giants have the weapons and the gameplan.
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