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SUPER BOWL 42: FOOT AND MOUTH CONCERNS – Superbowl Handicapping Guide From CappersPicks.com
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It seems like foot and mouth disease has been the subject of a lot of focus for Super Bowl 42: The foot of QB Tom Brady and the big mouths of some of the Giants. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is always hush-hush about injuries, even minor ones. His thinking is not to let the opposition know anything, no matter how minute. He would rather force the other team to prepare for every player, rather than let the opponent know who’s in and who’s out. Yes, it’s a bit Nixonian in its secrecy, but Belichick is a guy who looks for every possible way to gain an edge on an opponent and the injury list is one.
As I see it, the problem with Brady’s foot is no problem at all. He was seen limping around outside his Boston home last week and videotaped wearing a protective boot. However, it was so minor he played the entire AFC Championship game with no mobility problems. It wasn’t until after the game that he wore the boot. This week Brady said, “It’s feeling good. I’ll be ready to go.”
There’s no reason to doubt him or, more importantly, to factor a Brady foot injury into your handicapping for the big game. Brady has admitted over the years that he’s a fast healer. He never misses games. Back in January of 2002 he was knocked out of the AFC Championship game with a high ankle sprain in the second quarter. QB Drew Bledsoe had to finish the game, leading New England to a 24-17 win at Pittsburgh.
That week there was all kinds of speculation as to who would quarterback the Pats. In fact, because of the terrorist attacks the previous September, that NFL season had only one week to prepare for the Super Bowl, not the usual two weeks like this one. Brady still was able to play and had no problems with his mobility, even winning MVP as the Pats upset the Rams 20-17. His ankle injury was far worse then and he only had one week to get ready between games. The bottom line: Brady should be fine for this game.
From foot to mouth, the trash talking that’s been going on has been even more interesting. Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora called out Patriots left tackle Matt Light for what he felt were questionable tactics in the Patriots’ 38-35 victory Dec. 29 in Week 17. “Now we are really going to go at it this time,” Umenyiora said.
Giants WR Plaxico Burress alleged the Patriots were delivering low blows, while Patriots safety Rodney Harrison fired back that Burress had targeted his knees. The smashmouth battle of words continues to get chippier. Pats DE Richard Seymour said there was only one way to deal with all the barking from the other team: “For us, we have to put our blinders on. We can’t control what anyone else says or does. The only thing we can do is control the way we handle the situation and look forward.”
Throw in the fact that Pats nose tackle Vince Wilfork stuck his finger in the eye of Bradon Jacobs, for which he was fined $15,000 for unsportsmanlike behavior, and it’s clear these teams don’t like each other. But talk is cheap, you have to get it done on the field. The Patriots know all about this.
Six years ago the some Steelers admitted they already had their bags packed for the Super Bowl when they met New England in the AFC Championship game. Three years ago Eagles’ WR Freddie Mitchell talked all week about how he was going to have a big game tearing up the Pats secondary. Mitchell was invisible, with one catch for 11 yards as the Eagles lost, 24-21.
Two months ago a Steeler defensive back guaranteed a win over the Patriots. Final score: New England 34, Pittsburgh 13. A few weeks ago San Diego defensive end Igor Olshansky said, “Who? New England? Seriously, I mean, they’re more worried than we are, I promise you. Believe me. They know what’s up.” Final score: New England 21, San Diego 12. Again, talk is cheap — and it can provide motivation not for the player’s team but the opponent!
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