Really Important Football Game Coming

The New England Patriots will face the New York Giants in Sunday's Super Bowl. Deadspin editor Will Leitch is in Glendale, Ariz., for the game. He says he'd rather watch the action in a bar.

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BILL WOLFF, host:

Sunday marks the secular national holiday on which much of this country takes the day off from being outdoors, eating healthy and watching "60 Minutes" in order to celebrate two American pastimes, violent competition and television commercials.

Yes, it's the 42nd Super Bowl Sunday, Super Bowl 42 or XLII as it was in ancient Rome, where professional football began, I'm led to believe. The combatants: the favorite New England Patriots, who haven't lost in a year, and the New York Giants, who looked unfit to compete for the title as recently as about six weeks ago.

For the pitifully football obsessed, the pre-game preparation really began in April in the NFL draft, and it's gone on every single day since then. But here at THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT, we're going to boil down the months of anticipation into about six minutes in the first Annual BPP Super Bowl pre-game segment. Joining us now…

ALISON STEWART, host:

Wahoo.

WOLFF: …from the - yeah, excited, are you?

STEWART: Wahoo.

WOLFF: get your guacamole out.

Joining us from the Phoenix metro area side of the game is Will Leitch, whose Web site, Deadspin.com is among the sports world's hourly must-reads and whose book, "God Save the Fan," is on sale now.

Hello, Will.

Mr. WILL LEITCH (Editor, Deadspin.com): Good morning. Thanks for having me guys.

WOLFF: Hey, congratulations on the Chris Berman video today. Tremendous.

Mr. LEITCH: Oh, it's mesmerizing, isn't it?

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Utterly fantastic. That's all the tease I'll give. So you're in Arizona to cover the game. How is it for our many non-sports fans to be among the approximately 5,000 people, literally, looking for a story?

Mr. LEITCH: You know, it's funny. This is my first Super Bowl, and I have to tell you it's not actually very fun at all.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LEITCH: I think - I definitely think it's a probable lack of joy among the people that are here. I went to media day on Tuesday. I think the main story that came out on media day was the woman in the wedding dress…

WOLFF: Yeah.

Mr. LEITCH: …that asked Tom Brady to marry her. Every media day had those sort of wacky little things that happen and the thing is is they're not actually wacky, and they're not actually funny.

WOLFF: No, they're…

Mr. LEITCH: That's quite the problem. I would love to have, like, something wacky and crazy afternoon to Super Bowl. If - nothing happens at all. It's actually - I think that joke is actually recycled from, like, four media days ago.

WOLFF: Yeah.

Mr. LEITCH: And…

WOLFF: It's the most corporate event in the history of corporate events.

Mr. LEITCH: Yeah. And when it's all media days, the circus - it's crazy. And - the circus is entertaining.

WOLFF: Yes.

Mr. LEITCH: And I think that's the general thing I sense from most people here having covered this for the first time. There's really no story here at all, like, at all, but I think it does give an early excuse to relax and stay out late for a week that they usually don't get to do so during the year.

WOLFF: I once went to media - I used to work for ESPN and I went to media day with Downtown Julie Brown.

STEWART: Downtown Julie Brown.

WOLFF: It's right, love.

STEWART: Put the stand over here.

WOLFF: It's right, love.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Anyway, she wore a metallic silver skin-tight body suit that zipped up the front from, you know, way down low to about her midriff. And the only entertaining thing at media day was watching the hoards of pasty, you know…

STEWART: Journalists.

WOLFF: …overweight journalists watch her get all the big interviews because she was dressed like, you know, what I'm saying.

Mr. LEITCH: Yeah. And, now, it becomes a mainstream that that's exactly what Bill Belichick was wearing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LEITCH: So I go, like, what once groundbreaking has now become (unintelligible).

WOLFF: Yes. Now, where are you going to watch the game? You got a ticket? You got a press pass? Where are you watching the game?

Mr. LEITCH: I was offered a press pass. I generally don't like the press box. I find it - it takes a lot of the joy out of watching the game. So I'm basically going to find a place that a very, like, kind of lousy, ugly sports bar just around the corner from where the game is. So I think I'm willing to go there.

WOLFF: Oh, perfect.

Mr. LEITCH: That's actually more of my ally. I tend to enjoy watching games with people that aren't professionals and (unintelligible) to drink. I think that's a lot more true fan experience I think in a lot of way.

WOLFF: No question about it.

Let's go from the least important to the most important questions, as we prepare for the Pats and Giants. First of all, leaving your heart out of it and going with your mind. Who's going to win the game?

Mr. LEITCH: You know, it's funny. Now, you have the two weeks that was excruciating for sports fan to have it. It's similar to college football when at the end of the regular season in pro-football, like, but this is really, really exciting. Let's all take a month off.

WOLFF: Yes. Six weeks.

Mr. LEITCH: Yeah. I think you've seen that with the two weeks between the championship games of the NFL. Everyone essentially spends those two weeks, in my opinion, trying to talk themselves in, to, oh, wow, you know what, the upset really could happen. Here's what's going to happen, here's what's going to happen, here's what's going to happen. Okay, I actually think the Patriots are going to blow them away. That's no offense to the Giants. I think the Giants have made a great run, but I don't know.

Certainly, the Patriots, the kinds of the (unintelligible) - the team that waited them this year, it seems like they'll pull it together from one of those big exclamation points on the end of the season. They kind of have that general kind of feel to it. But, you know, we (unintelligible) until we try to talk or something to it. But, I don't know. I don't see it happening.

WOLFF: So, I think you may have answered this question with your first answer, but I'll ask anyway. Last I saw, the point spread was - it had started at about 13.5 points in favor of the Patriots, might be down to 12.5. How would you bet the game if that were the point spread? Not that betting is legal or that you'd ever do it.

Mr. LEITCH: Yes. I would bet on the laws of justice, first of.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LEITCH: And - but also, I would bet on the Patriots accompanying that. I really - I think, you know, the Giants are a lot better team than people realize, I think, in a lot of ways. But the moment I realize the Patriots were - it's funny because, you know, the Patriots and Giants, of course, play each other in the last game a year and probably the most exciting Patriots game.

WOLFF: Yes.

Mr. LEITCH: And there was this definitive stake that the Giants play very, very tough. And at the end of the game, when the Giants looked like they had a chance, Tom Brady, through the long pass to Randy Moss - it was after Moss had dropped (unintelligible) before. He threw the long pass to get a touchdown. So, at a certain level, you got to feel for, like, you know what? They can actually do whatever they want to…

WOLFF: Yes.

Mr. LEITCH: …whenever they want to.

WOLFF: As soon as they…

Mr. LEITCH: I can see that happening.

WOLFF: Yup. As soon as they're engaged, they just put you out.

Mr. LEITCH: Yeah. And I can see them pretty engaged this Sunday.

WOLFF: Is there a storyline in the game that you think - give us a guide, somebody who's just diving to football, they haven't watched all year.

STEWART: Yeah. (Unintelligible) I'm watching it - all my friends stay at his house and I want to sound like I know what I'm talking about. Is there one thing I should be looking for? Is there one person I should be looking at through this whole game?

Mr. LEITCH: I tend to enjoy - a good fan favorite this Sunday will definitely be Wes Welker, who is the other wide receiver other than Randy Moss in the Patriots. And, frankly, I think most people listening to the show are as tall, if not taller, than Wes Welker.

WOLFF: Yup.

STEWART: Oh, really?

Mr. LEITCH: And so, yeah. And that's good. I think that's - people like to root for guys like that. And he had…

STEWART: Who's Wes Welker, Bill?

Mr. LEITCH: Yeah. So, and…

WOLFF: He's a wide - go ahead, Will.

Mr. LEITCH: You're supposed to read his name to Wes Welker.

WOLFF: Wes Welker. And he's a wide receiver that they acquired this year, just like Randy Moss, to much less fanfare. But he is the guy to whom Tom Brady often throws when Randy Moss isn't open, and he catches everything. Wes Welker is excellent.

STEWART: Velcro hands.

WOLFF: Oh, well, he's really outstanding. Here is the real question I wanted to ask you, Will. This is the - I thought - I literally went to bed thinking about this. You have the over-dog, the ultimate over-dog, New England. They got a personality-free coach and fans. In my view, New England fans spoiled rotten, but the Patriots, the Red Sox, the Celtics - and they're playing New York, who, in my view, is the auto-enemy of everything good. You have to root against all New York teams, in my opinion, or you're un-American. So, for - it's just my view - for - I'm editorializing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I've heard this before.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Woman. So, Will, for whom do you root? Underdog New York, which is a paradox, or over-dog New England?

Mr. LEITCH: I think it comes down to what anyone really roots for from any Super Bowl, which is just a mercifully close game. And I think we all missed out on a real great rooting opportunity, which would have been the Packers versus the Patriots. I think that would have been the laws of good versus the laws of evil. And nothing against the Giants - you know, I think the Giants would be a lot more like (unintelligible) if they weren't from New York. I can understand why you're saying that.

WOLFF: Yes, exactly.

Mr. LEITCH: And - but, certainly, I just wanted them because it's not just - the Giants are the scrappiest underdog. I think in a certain level, you almost kind of have to appreciate the history of everything. And the Patriots weren't actually when that someone that we've never seen before, and you know, frankly, I mean, it may not see again. So, I think, there's going to be - sort of actually appreciating almost a perfect circle of that kind of achievement.

WOLFF: Will, it's an excellent answer. I've one thing, if you have a pencil, our producer Matt Martinez is from Phoenix. He says go to Los Olivos on 2nd Avenue in Scottsdale. Los Olivos, the best Mexican food in Phoenix.

Will Leitch is the man at Deadspin.com, the author of "God Save the Fan," the pride of Mattoon, Illinois.

Will, thanks so much. And enjoy the game. We really appreciate it.

Mr. LEITCH: Of course. Thanks for having me, guys.

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