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Super Bowl XLVI: Six talking points as Giants give Patriots a case of déjà vu

New York Giants 21 New England Patriots 17

There was something of a sense of déjà vu about last night’s Super Bowl XLVI, as the underdog New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the NFL’s championship game, just as they had four years previously. As in Super Bowl XLII, Eli Manning led the Giants downfield to the winning score inside the final minute of the game.

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Super Bowl XLVI in numbers

New York Giants 21 New England Patrioits 17

Here is a quick summary of last night’s Super Bowl XLVI, which saw the New York Giants repeat their victory of four years ago over the New England Patriots, again thanks to a touchdown scored inside the final minute of the game.

46 – This was the 46th Super Bowl, but the first to be held in Indianapolis.

4 – The New York Giants won their fourth Super Bowl in five attempts. (They also won Super Bowls XXI, XXV and XLII, and lost XXXV.)

3 – Three of the past six Super Bowls have been won by a team led by a quarterback named Manning. The Giants’ Eli also won Super Bowl XLII, the year after his brother Peyton led the Indianapolis Colts to victory.

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49ers beaten at own game as Giants road trip reaches Super Bowl

NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 49ers 17 New York Giants 20 (OT)

There was to be no ‘Har-Bowl’ and no fairy-tale ending for the San Francisco 49ers and Alex Smith. A year after they finished a lowly 6-10 and the former number one overall pick was drummed out of town, Jim Harbaugh‘s revitalised team fell one step short of their first Super Bowl appearance in 17 years.

The New York Giants won on the road again, shutting down the 49ers’ offense for long periods and riding the boot of Lawrence Tynes to prevail 20-17 in overtime on a cold, wet evening at Candlestick Park. They will now play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis in a fortnight’s time, a repeat of the title game from four years ago, when the underdog Giants denied the Patriots what would have been only the second ‘perfect’ Super Bowl winning season.

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Penn’s Paterno puts ‘Poppy-gate’ into proportion

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

46 years as head coach. 409 wins, more than any other at the highest level of college football. Five undefeated seasons. Two national championships. Joe Paterno will always be remembered as the record-setting coach of Penn State University‘s football team. Sadly, his name will now also be forever linked to the child abuse scandal which led to his summary dismissal last night, bringing an abrupt and undignified end to one of the most storied careers in any sport.

It is a scandal which puts the England football team’s ‘Poppy-gate’ dispute into its proper context. Only yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron put his political weight behind this cause célèbre, launching into bombastic, jingoistic rhetoric in protest against FIFA’s somewhat petty but not unreasonable refusal to allow England’s football team to wear poppies on their shirts in commemoration of Remembrance Sunday.

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Forté steamrollers Tampa as Bears ground Bucs’ aerial attack

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18 Chicago Bears 24

Despite a spirited fourth quarter fight-back by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium, the Chicago Bears‘ defense came through in the clutch as D J Moore snuffed out a last-ditch Bucs drive with a fourth interception of Josh Freeman with 37 seconds remaining. In an error-strewn game, the two teams combined for six turnovers, 15 penalties and a safety. Running back Matt Forté was the difference-maker for Chicago, rushing for 145 yards as the Bears joined Tampa on a record of 4-3 as both teams move into their bye week.

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