Patriots and Giants to Meet in Super Bowl

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Undefeated New England will face New York in February's Super Bowl. The Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers Sunday to take what seemed to be their inevitable spot in the Super Bowl. The Giants won in overtime by a three-point field goal over the Green Bay Packers. ESPN football analyst Bill Curry talks with Steve Inskeep about the games.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The undefeated New England Patriots will face the New York Giants in this year's Super Bowl. Both teams come to the championship at their freezing playoff games yesterday. In New England, the Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 21 to 12. The Giants went into overtime in Green Bay to beat the Packers 23 to 20 in temperatures that were below zero.

We're joined now by Bill Curry, an ESPN football analyst and regular guest in this program.

Good morning, Bill.

Mr. BILL CURRY (Football Analyst, ESPN): Good morning, Steve. How are you?

INSKEEP: I'm doing great. So I was watching the kicker Lawrence Tynes who had a chance to go ahead and miss, had a chance to win the game at the end and missed, and then made the kick in overtime. But I understand, you were watching somebody else during that season?

Mr. CURRY: Yeah. There was a fascinating story. Zak DeOssie, the rookie long-snapper. Imagine, you're a rookie from the Ivy League, Brown University, and you've a made a poor snap on the previous attempt, and you got to run out there and be defined for the rest of your life on how well you do. And the young man pulled it off.

INSKEEP: And is that a pretty tough position to be in?

Mr. CURRY: Well, in 1965, I was in the same position, except that I was the Green Bay Packers' rookie, offensive center. And - on the same field, a little muddier, not quite as cold - and had to do the same kind of thing. So, yes, it's incredibly demanding. And he'll always remember getting that ball back there well.

INSKEEP: You know, there's a moment that you saw on television that hints of the pressure on Lawrence Tynes, the kicker. He missed that first kick in the fourth quarter, and you see him going to the sideline and he's facing his coach Tom Coughlin. And Coughlin's face is all red, the guy's obviously frozen. I mean, he's just screaming at him. It sounds - it looked like he was just screaming, come on, come on, at this guy who just missed a kick.

Mr. CURRY: No. Actually what Tom was saying is, nice try, son.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CURRY: Coaches are notorious. And Tom is a very intense guy. But here's what matters. Lawrence Tynes, I looked up his record. He was eight for eight beyond 40 yards this year on the season. So kickers like that do have confidence. And he knew if he got the snap and the hold properly, he would get it through. And I sat there with my wife and I said, he's going to make this one. And it was longer than the previous one. So everybody in concern did a great job.

INSKEEP: Now, let's talk about the New England Patriots who have won yet another game even though their quarterback Tom Brady was intercepted three times.

Mr. CURRY: Tom Brady showed us all that he was human, so the Patriots said, ho-hum, we'll do it another way. They lined up with two and three tight ends, ran the ball for 221 yards, 6.3 yards per carry and just rammed it down the throat of the opponents and kept it 21 minutes and 38 seconds of the second half, that's just unbelievable. That's what great teams do.

INSKEEP: Essentially saying passing game isn't working, we'll just win it the other way.

Mr. CURRY: Yeah. We'll beat you anyway you want to play. It's just - it really is amazing.

INSKEEP: So what do you think of this match up between a team that has won 18 in a row, they're 18 and 0 - the Patriots - and the Giants who have won 10 games in a row on the road.

Mr. CURRY: Well, the one question is, are they playing at the Giants home field?

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: (unintelligible).

Mr. CURRY: If they're playing at the Giants' home, then the Patriots have a chance. Otherwise, these guys have won 10 in a row on the road, nobody's ever done that, so I think it's going to be a fascinating match-up.

INSKEEP: Are you saying you think the Giants have a shot to knock off the Patriots here at the end of their otherwise perfect season?

Mr. CURRY: I think they have a marvelous shot. They almost did it in the last league game. The score of that game was 38 to 35. Eli Manning has zero turnovers since the start of these playoffs. He has been absolutely stunning in his comeback using Plaxico Burress and all his weapons without a single mistake throughout the playoffs to turn the ball over. That's just unheard of.

INSKEEP: And it's referring to Eli Manning, the Giants quarterback.

Bill Curry, thanks very much.

Mr. CURRY: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: He's an ESPN football analyst and former professional football player. And he's talking with us on this morning that we now know the Super Bowl will pit the Patriots against the New York Giants.

You are listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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