There are plenty of fan-friendly opportunities during Super Bowl week, but any Patriots fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the team at practice will be disappointed.
New England will practice at the Colts' headquarters, located on West 56th Street, which is north and west of the city and outside the 465 loop. The facility is in a beautiful area, on the edge of the Eagle Creek Reservoir and Park — the city's largest park and one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
The Giants will practice at the University of Indianapolis, which is a few minutes south of Downtown and in theory accessible to the public hoping to catch a glimpse of the team coming and going. Fans will have no such luck at the Colts' facility, which sits at the end of a long driveway with a security presence guarding the drive at all times.
Both team's headquarters in Indy have indoor practice facilities, and practices are not open to the public, although the NFL will have pool reporters cover the practices.
Deion Branch (USPresswire)
( click on image for Photo Galley)
Sunday, either Eli Manning or Tom Brady will walk off the Lucas Oil Stadium field as a winning quarterback for the first time. Neither QB has had a successful outing there, although each has played just one game in the Colts' stadium, which opened during the 2008 season.
Brady missed that 2008 game — and the majority of the season — with a knee injury. The Patriots and Matt Cassel lost a close one, 18-15, that year.
Brady's one previous game at "the Luke" was a monster. He had three TDs and 375 yards on 29-of-42 passing in a 2009 contest with the Colts, but needed one more passing yard. The now-infamous decision to go for a fourth-and-two came up just short, and Peyton Manning drove the Colts on a short field for a 35-34 victory.
Eli Manning was also sent home a loser by his brother's team in his one previous trip to Indianapolis. The Colts took a 38-14 win over the Giants in 2010. Manning had 161 yards on 13-of-24 passing, with two TDs and an interception.
Brady is 3-2 all time in Indiana. He guided the Patriots to wins at the RCA Dome in 2001, 2003 and 2007. He lost the 2009 game at Lucas Oil Stadium, and also the 2006 AFC Championship at the RCA Dome. Brady has a quarterback rating of 102 in his five games in Indianapolis. Manning's is 85.5.
Brady Plays It Safe on Media Day:
Tom Brady appeared relaxed and cheerful in his Media Day interview Tuesday, but declined make any predictions about the outcome of the game.
Brady famously put his foot in his mouth the last time the Patriots played the Giants in the Super Bowl, responding to a prognostication made by then-Giant Plaxico Burress.
"We're only going to score 17 points? Ha ha ha ... OK," Brady said in response to Burress' comments.
The Patriots, of course, only scored 14 as the Giants prevailed, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII.
Brady did make one prediction for Sunday's game, though.
"I'm going to make sure I don't throw any interceptions," he said, no doubt recalling his two-interception performance two weeks ago vs. Baltimore in the AFC Championship.
is the game that I wanted ... I like the pay back factor."
"As a Giants fan, I'm glad there are two weeks off. I think my team has some very sore players."
It's been four years since the Patriots and Giants played in Super Bowl XLII, and the rosters have undergone roster turnover that is typical in the NFL over that time. But perhaps no position has undergone more change than the receiving corps for both teams.
Tom Brady and Eli Manning are both back at quarterback for their respective teams, of course, and that may be the biggest piece. But the men catching passes are quite different.
Of the players that caught passes in XLII, only the Patriots' Wes Welker (a game-high 11 catches for 103 yards), Kevin Faulk (seven catches, 52 yards) and the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw (one catch, three yards) return for this game.
The Giants' Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, David Tyree, Plaxico Burress and Madison Hedgecock all caught passes from Manning in XLII. This time, he'll be throwing to Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, Henry Hynoski, Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard.
For the Patriots, Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Lawrence Maroney, and Kyle Brady are gone, replaced by Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Chad Ochocinco.
Sights and Sounds from Indy
Eric Hartz is a lifelong Hoosier and former editor and publisher of ColtPower.com, Scout.com's Colts site. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org