By Peter Schwartz
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The Patriots and Giants went through their final practices on Friday as they get set for Super Bowl XLVI Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium here in Indianapolis.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to be the biggest story on either side as he continues to recover from a sprained left ankle. He was limited in practice on Thursday and moved without a limp during Friday’s walkthrough. According to the pool reporter, the Patriots didn’t do more than jog through their offensive plays.
“(Gronkowski) practiced yesterday,” said head coach Bill Belichick. “He didn’t do anything today. We’ll see where he’s at on Sunday, but hopefully (he’ll play). I saw no setbacks. He’s still making progress.”
I’d be stunned if Gronkowski didn’t play. Many of his teammates were convinced during the week that the outstanding tight end would play. The only question will be how effective he is. He is officially listed as questionable.
CATCHING UP WITH A FORMER GIANTS CHAMPION
Giants alumni have been arriving in Indianapolis all week. On Friday, I caught up with former guard Bill Ard from the Super Bowl XXI championship team.
Listen to the interview here…
Bill is also in town as part of the Taste of the NFL event on Saturday night, a party that raises money to help fight hunger.
A SUPER FOOTBALL BENEFITS A SUPER CAUSE
For Giants fans that are looking for a great keepsake from Super Bowl XLVI, here is something pretty cool and you can help out a charity in the process. Nikco Sports has produced 5,000 limited edition Giants NFC Championship footballs and a portion of the $99 cost will go to the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in New York.
The ball has the Super Bowl XLVI logo on it as well as a photo of Eli Manning and the Giants 2011 schedule and results. In years past, Nikco Sports has raised almost $1.7 million for children’s charities around the country from the sales of limited-edition sports memorabilia. To order the ball, call `1-800-345-2868 or go to www.nikcosports.com.
When I arrived here in Indianapolis on Sunday, I was firm in my prediction of Giants 35 Patriots 20. After being around the Pats this week and sinking my teeth into this match-up a little bit more. I’ve decided to change the score.
Giants 35 Patriots 27
I just find it hard to see the Giants winning this game by two scores. The Patriots defense is shaky so I don’t see how they can shut down Eli Manning and his trio of outstanding wide receivers. The Patriots will do some damage against the Giants defense, but the Big Blue defense will force a couple of turnovers and that will be the difference in the game.
INDY SCORED A TOUCHDOWN
I’ve mentioned this throughout the week, but it’s worth repeating of how well the city of Indianapolis did in hosting their first Super Bowl. Congratulations to the host committee, local officials, and the residents of this community for making this a very special week.
I can’t speak for everyone who traveled here to Indianapolis this week, but I’ll say that, for me, it was an awesome experience. You can tell how much passion there was from the local community even though the Colts weren’t involved. The streets were packed everyday the hospitality was off the charts.
A lot of people were quick to lament the fact that Indianapolis was hosting the Super Bowl, but I haven’t heard one person complain about it this week. In fact, everyone that I talked to had nothing but great things to say.
Memo to the New York/New Jersey Host Committee for 2014: You have two years to prepare for the first ever outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl. Here’s hoping that you took plenty of notes this week!
I hope you enjoyed my coverage of Super Bowl XLVI all week. The Giants and Patriots provide an intriguing match-up for Sunday’s contest. Enjoy the game!