An injury prevented Peyton Manning from playing this season and having a chance to be part of a Super Bowl on the very turf that his Indianapolis Colts call home.
That doesn't mean there won't be a Manning on the field on Sunday, however, as Peyton's little brother Eli led his New York Giants to the championship game.
Eli will definitely have his hands full.
It's almost guarenteed that New England will be gunning for the younger of the Manning brothers after his heroic performance against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Four years ago, Eli connected with Plaxico Burress for a 13-yard touchdown with 35-seconds left in the game as the Giants rallied fo a 17-14 win..
And, of course, everyone remembers heck, I remember and I'm not even a Giants or Patriots fan the unbelievable catch the Giants' David Tyree made in the fourth quarter.
If it weren't for the catch Tyree made behind his helmet in mid-air, who know what may have happened. But, thanks to the Giants receiver pulling down that desperation 32-yard pass from Manning on a third-and-five play, the Giants kept the drive alive that eventually produced the game-winning TD.
While I'm sure Manning will be under attack the entire game, I'm not going to be shocked to see his favorite targets in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz pulling down extraordinary catches of their own. We can't count out the Patriots' signal caller in Tom Brady however, who already has three Super Bowl titles and two MVP honors.
While there are some talented running backs on both teams, it should turn out to be an "air show" with Brady relying on Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and Deion Branch.
Giants fans probably will bring up the fact they have an edge since that 24-20 of a regular season stunner over the Patriots. But that's going to simply add more fuel to the Patriots fire as they try to avenge the week nine loss.
Super Bowl history states this is the 13th time that two teams have met in the regular season and then have gone on to face one other again in the Super Bowl.
In the previous 12, the team that lost the regular season game went on to win seven times. So, can the Patriots make it eight????
Sorry Giants fan ... yes, that includes co-worker Ed Hedes and friends Lea, Jeff and JJ, ... I think revenge is going to be sweet and the Patriots are going to be the one bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to the AFC.
My prediction is it's definitely going to be a close one and Welker will get his grasp on MVP honors with his last big catch of the night ... Patriots 34, Giants 31.
Here are some other predictions from member sof our sports department:
ROD HECKMAN - Of all the matchups of playoff teams, this is the one I didn't want to see. On the plus side, one of the teams will lose. On the negative side, one will win. I really believe the revenge factor will come into play from four years ago and that the Patriots' offense is just too good not to put up points. I would have given the Giants a better chance if there wasn't a bye week. Brady will throw for three touchdowns and 278 yards and win his third Super Bowl MVP ... Patriots 31, Giants 21.
EMMETT McCALL - The fact that I was cheering for the 49ers and Ravens in the conference championship games tells you how I feel about this matchup. Not a Patriots fan and even less of a Giants fan. I'm just texting this pick in ... I think u will c lots of pts, but in the end Pats take NY to skool. OMG, Brady huggin MVP trophy. Still hate the Giants, lol ... Patriots 38, Giants 24.
ED HEDES - This is a real tough one since I've been bleeding Giants Blue since they played their home games in Yankee Stadium. Some call it the "House That Ruth Built." Sorry, I call it the "House that Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Y.A Tittle, Alex Webster, Sam Huff and Andy Robustelli Built." The Giants defense had toughened up a bit since it became healthy and know that Tom Brady doesn't like pressure up the middle. And Eli Manning has been playing on a mission since the Giants took care of the Jets, Cowboys, Falcons, Packers and 49ers. GO BIG BLUE!!! ... Giants 27, Patriots 21.
SHAWN McFARLAND - Both QBs concussed after the first quarter. Game becomes FG battle ... Patriots 15, Giants 9.
JASON BORIS - Patriots or Giants? Giants or Patriots? On one hand, I could root for New England, but rooting for the Patriots just feels like rooting for the Empire in Star Wars! On the other hand, I could root for the Giants, but does New York really need another thing to be cocky about? While I don't support either team, I will support my fantasy players. Since I drafted five Giants (Manning, Cruz, Ballard, Tynes and New York's defense) and only one Patriot (Ridley), I'll go ... Giants 29, Patriots 27.
ANDREW STEINMETZ - I don't care who wins. I just hope to see a good game while relaxing on a couch somewhere. If New York wins, they bring a Super Bowl title back to the NFC East, but STILL, I do not care ... Patriots 34, Giants 23.
MIKE FEIFEL - Defense wins championships and the Giant defense is playing out-of-their minds. They disrupted Brady before and they'll do it again. Game tied 17-17. Three overtime fieldgoals under the new rules with the Giants topping the Pats again ... Giants 23, Patriots 20 (OT).
LOU RUSNOCK - Gronk has morphed into my favorite NFL player and I can't stand hearing the New York fans again ... Patriots 100, Giants 0.