NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (18-0) vs NEW YORK GIANTS (13-6)
*Sunday, February 3, 2008 - 6:00 p.m. EST
University of Phoenix Stadium (70,500) *
The Patriots will seek their fourth Super Bowl title in seven years when they face off against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3. New England is making its sixth Super Bowl appearance in the last quarter-century, marking the highest total by any NFL team over that span.
The Patriots have won 18 games in 2007, tying the NFL's all-time record for most overall victories in a season. New England joins the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears as the NFL's only 18-game winners. The Patriots have become the first franchise in NFL history to have at least three seasons of 17 or more overall wins, with this season's squad joining the 2003 and 2004 Patriots, who both won 17 total games. The San Francisco 49ers are the only other NFL team to have achieved the feat more than once.
PATRIOTS TIED FOR MOST PLAYOFF WINS IN A DECADE
The Patriots have won 14 playoff games this decade, tying the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys for the most playoff victories by any NFL team in either the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s or 2000s. Pittsburgh and Dallas both won 14 playoff contests between 1970 and 1979, while New England has won 14 postseason games from 2000 to the present.
The Patriots will play in their sixth Super Bowl, joining three other teams as six-time Super Bowl participants. New England is 3-2 in its previous five Super Bowls.
SERIES HISTORYThe Patriots and Giants will meet for the ninth time since their series was inaugurated in 1970. The Patriots claim a 5-3 edge in regular-season play and have won four straight regular-season games against New York since 1996, including a victory in the 2007 regular-season finale on Dec. 29. The series dates back to 1970, the year of the AFL-NFL merger and includes some memorable games despite the relative infrequency of the matchups. In 1996, the Patriots stole a 23-22 win to clinch a playoff berth after trailing 22-3 in the fourth quarter. The first preseason game between the teams was the first NFL game played in Foxborough, as the Patriots opened Schaefer Stadium with a 20-14 win. The clubs have been frequent preseason opponents recently, squaring off in the preseason opener for three straight years from 2001-03 and in preseason finales for three straight seasons from 2005-07. The teams faced each other in the 2007 preseason finale at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 30, with the Patriots claiming a 27-20 victory.
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM
Super Bowl XLII will mark the third time that the Patriots and Giants have met this season (at the third different venue). The teams met in the final preseason game and in the final regular season game of the season and will now meet in their final playoff game. The Patriots defeated the Giants 27-20 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. in the 2007 preseason finale on Aug. 30, and also beat New York 38-35 at Giants Stadium in E. Rutherford, N.J. in the 2007 regular-season finale on Dec. 29.
NEW ENGLAND TIES
In the decades leading up to the founding of the American Football League in 1960, many football fans in New England followed the Giants, a franchise founded in 1925. New Englandbased NFL outfits such as the Providence Steam Roller (1925- 31), the Boston Redskins (1932-36) and the Boston Yanks (1944-48) folded or moved away, leaving the Giants as the closest NFL team to New England until the Patriots franchise inaugurated play in the 1960 season.
MEMORABLE PATRIOTS-GIANTS MATCHUPS
Aug. 15, 1971— The Patriots defeated the Giants 20-14 in the opening preseason game at the old Foxboro Stadium.
Dec. 21, 1996— The Patriots rallied from a 22-3 fourth-quarter deficit to clinch a first-round playoff bye with a 23-22 win at Giants Stadium.
Aug. 10, 2001— New England began its first Super Bowl championship season with a 14-0 preseason shutout of the defending NFC champion Giants.
Dec. 29, 2007— The Patriots defeat the Giants by a thrilling 38-35 score to cap off a 16-0 regular season.
TELEVISION: The game will be broadcast by Fox and can be seen in Boston on WFXT-TV Channel 25. Joe Buck will handle play-by-play duties with Troy Aikman providing analysis.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 31st season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 24th season as a tandem.
NATIONAL RADIO: The game will be broadcast to a national radio audience by Westwood One. Marv Albert will handle play-by-play and Boomer Esiason will provide analysis. John Dockery and Kevin Kiley will report from the sidelines.
The Patriots and Giants have met just eight times in regularseason play. The Patriots' eight games against New York are tied for the second fewest against any team that entered the league prior to the most recent era of expansion, which began with the entry of the Jaguars and Panthers to the NFL in 1995.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent 12 seasons on the Giants' coaching staff, and was the team's defensive coordinator for their victories in Super Bowls XXI and XXV. Belichick joined the Giants as the special teams coach on Ray Perkins' staff in 1979, and during his tenure coached special teams (1979-82), linebackers (1980-84) and the secondary (1989-90), while also holding defensive coordinator responsibilities (1985-90).
- Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson was originally drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He won two Super Bowls and twice earned Pro Bowl honors during his career with New York, which spanned from 1986-92.
- Patriots tight ends coach Pete Mangurian was the Giants' offensive line coach from 1993-96.
- Patriots linebackers coach Matt Patricia was born in Sherrill, N.Y.
- Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin was the head coach at Boston College from 1991-93 and also served as the quarterbacks coach at the Heights (1981-83). Coughlin was the wide receivers coach on the Giants' coaching staff while Bill Belichick was also on New York's staff (1988-90).
- Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is a native of New Haven, Conn. and holds a degree in physical education from Southern Connecticut State, where he also played quarterback and tight end and later served as head coach (1980-84). His second coaching appointment was as the linebackers coach at Tufts University from 1976-77.
- Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was born in Whitinsville, Mass. He holds a bachelor's degree from Springfield College, where he was a two-year starter at wide receiver, and a master's from the University of Massachusetts. Spagnuolo began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UMass from 1982-83. He later served as defensive coordinator/defensive backs at Connecticut (1987-91) and defensive coordinator/DBs/LBs at Maine (1993-94).
- Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn was the defensive coordinator at Boston University in 1995.
- Giants tight ends coach Michael Pope coached running backs and tight ends for the Patriots from 1994-96. Pope was an assistant coach for the Giants from 1983-1991, including eight years while Bill Belichick was on the staff (1983-90).
- Giants assistant offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has been an assistant at three New England colleges: Boston College (1991-92), Boston University (1993-96) and Connecticut (1997-98). He is originally from Cambridge, Mass.
- Giants running backs coach Jerald Ingram held the same position at Boston College (1991-93).
- Giants secondary coach/cornerbacks Peter Giunta is a native of Salem, Mass. and played four years at Northeastern. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Swampscott High School (1978-80), then returned to New England to coach tight ends/wide receivers at Brown from 1984-85. From 1986-87, Giunta served as Brown's offensive coordinator.
- Giants quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer began his coaching career at Connecticut, where he led the defensive line and wide receivers (1972-74). He later served as head coach at Boston University from 1988-89 and spent four years with the Patriots - first as a wide receivers coach (1993-95), then as a quarterbacks coach (1996).
- Giants strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri was the director of strength and conditioning at Boston College from 1993-94.
- Giants assistant strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul held the same position at New England from 2000-2004, where he worked with Mike Woicik and earned three Super Bowl rings.
- Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress were teammates on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2000 season.
- Giants linebacker Zak DeOssie is a native of North Andover, Mass., and attended Phillips Academy in Andover before continuing on to Brown University. Zak is the son of Steve DeOssie, who finished his NFL playing career as a linebacker and long snapper with the Patriots in 1994 and 1995.
- Giants guard Grey Ruegamer played in 33 games for the Patriots over three seasons from 2000-02. He was signed by New England on Nov. 16, 2000 and played in the squad's Super Bowl XXXVI victory over St. Louis.
- Giants cornerback Sam Madison was teammates on the Miami Dolphins with five current Patriots players: wide receiver Wes Welker (2004-05) fullback Heath Evans (2005), linebacker Larry Izzo (1997-2000), linebacker Junior Seau (2003-05) and offensive lineman Billy Yates (2003).
- Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss and Giants defensive tackle Fred Robbins were teammates on the Minnesota Vikings from 2000-2003.
- Giants guard Chris Snee attended Boston College and was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2004 draft.
- Patriots cornerback Randall Gay, linebacker Eric Alexander and Giants cornerback Corey Webster were teammates at Louisiana State University from 2001-03.
- Patriots defensive lineman Rashad Moore, wide receivers Donte' Stallworth and Kelley Washington and Giants safety Gibril Wilson were all teammates at the University of Tennessee in 2001.
- Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara is an alumnus of Boston College, where he received a B.S. in marketing in 1976.
- Giants treasurer Jonathan Tisch once worked as a cinematographer/producer at WBZ-TV in Boston, for which he received two local Emmy nominations. He is a graduate of Tufts University.
- Giants vice president of player evaluation Chris Mara began his collegiate career at Springfield College before transferring to Boston College.
- Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli is originally from Washingtonville, N.Y.
- Giants director of pro personnel Dave Gettleman is a native of Boston, Mass., and earned a bachelor's degree from Springfield College, where he was an offensive tackle. He holds a master's degree from Southern Connecticut State.
- Giants assistant director of pro scouting Ken Sternfeld spent 21 seasons with New England in a variety of capacities, primarily in scouting.
- Giants punter Jeff Feagles, a 20-year NFL veteran, was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Patriots on May 1, 1988. He was waived on May 24, 1990. Since he entered the league with New England, Feagles has not missed a single game, seeing action in a league-record 320 consecutive contests.
- Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas and Giants defensive end Justin Tuck are cousins.
- Patriots defensive back Eugene Wilson and Giants tackle David Diehl were four-year teammates at Illinois.
- Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, Giants wide receiver Steve Smith and Giants defensive tackle Manny Wright played at Southern California.
- Patriots running back Heath Evans and Giants linebacker Reggie Torbor were teammates at Auburn.
PATRIOTS PAY TRIBUTE TO MARQUISE HILL
The Patriots are wearing decals on their helmets this season in honor of fallen teammate Marquise Hill, who passed away on May 27, 2007. The decals depict the number 91, which Hill wore over three seasons with New England from 2004-06. Hill was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft and was a member of New England's Super Bowl XXXIX championship team.