The Super Bowl transcends football and is now entrenched in popular culture. The day is celebrated as if it were a national holiday (and in fact should be). People who have never seen Tom Brady throw a football can't help but know all about him, and even non-football fans know that he'll be squaring off against Eli Manning in Sunday's Super Bowl. The countdown to the game is on, and all that can be said and written about the New York Giants-New England Patriots matchup has pretty much been said and written. The absurdities of Media Day have been recorded. Everything -- from the important and the relevant to the fascinating and the informative, from the inane and the pointless to the banal and the useless -- has been covered, even the suits worn by Brady and Manning when they strolled off their respective planes in Indianapolis were compared and analyzed by one news outlet. But we're all football starved, so we'll take any news or information we can get. I mean, it's been almost two full weeks since the last NFL game was played, so we have to do something to keep us busy, and we're all probably starting to go through football withdrawal (and we know the horrible side effects of that affliction can include frightening behavior such as acting like Gary Busey, watching celebrities dance on TV and eating healthy foods and keeping reasonable hours).
So is there anything else to say about the upcoming battle? Is there any angle left uncovered? How about if we just start making stuff up? Who am I, the Queen of England? Am I too good and righteous to jump in the shallow pool of silly, senseless football coverage? So in that spirit, here's a little trivial something to keep us distracted as we count down the hours to the title game: Assorted members of the Giants and Patriots will be compared to famous movie characters to give us a glimpse into their real personality. It's not exactly a separated at birth thing, but at least one aspect of their psyche will be revealed as we peel back the onion of a few of the Super Bowl participants.
Eli Manning: At first, most thought of the Giant quarterback as the Fredo Corleone of the Manning clan, a little harmless and a little goofy. Peyton was Michael, Cooper was Sonny and Archie was, of course, the Don. But we're now discovering that Eli is really Michael, the kid brother who was underestimated but is in complete control of his surroundings and outsmarting his opponents, and Peyton is actually Sonny, which means poor Cooper was Fredo all along. And Peyton's neck injury may be the equivalent of the tollbooth where Sonny met his end. (Or in that same spirit, many viewed Eli as Verbal Kint from The Usual Suspects when he was in actuality Keyser Soze the whole time.)
Tom Brady: The Patriot quarterback is clearly the smug pretty boy of the NFL, the rich kid who has it all and knows it, which makes him Greg Marmalard from Animal House. Or Zack Lodge from Wedding Crashers. Or Stan Gable (Ted McGinley) from Revenge of the Nerds. Or James Spader from any 1980s teen movie. You get the idea.
Victor Cruz: He came out of nowhere, from humble Paterson, N.J., a down-on-his-luck practice-squader who gets his shot at the title. That makes the Giant wide receiver the football version of the Cinderella Man, James Braddock. And there's no doubt that Cruz would selflessly give his only slice of fried bologna to his daughter just as the boxer once did.
Wes Welker: He slips in and out of secondaries unnoticed. He escapes time after time, much to the frustration of his opponents. And that means he's just like Dr. Richard Kimble, better known as The Fugitive. Defensive backs can search every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse, but the wily receiver remains just out of their grasp.
Jason Pierre-Paul: The Giants' rising star is relentless on the field, terrorizing quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from sideline to sideline. Who does that sound like? How about Jack Torrence from The Shining? Heeeere's Jason! Of course, we'll assume that Pierre-Paul won't freeze to death in a maze of hedges at the end of the Super Bowl. But Tom Brady may suffer the same fate as Scatman Crothers.
Vince Wilfork: The big defensive tackle is, well . . . big. He's a giant really. But he's athletic with cat-like quickness. There's only one movie character who shares those traits, and that is of course Weensie from Old School. Weensie's balance-beam vault was a majestic feat of beauty, and Wilfork can perform the same type of magic on the football field despite his impressive girth.
Brandon Jacobs: He's loud, he can be obnoxious, he's always talking big, he's often full of hot air -- Champ Kind from Anchorman, anyone? Jacobs put down Giants fans this season the way Champ insults women. Whaaaaammmmy!
Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez: The duo are ruthless, merciless and unsparing on the football field, forming a productive tight end tandem not often seen in the NFL. They will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to try and stop them from reaching the end zone. They're clearly Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction.
Antrel Rolle: The Giant safety has taken it upon himself to keep his teammates in line, to lay down the law, to bust heads when necessary, all while occasionally playing by his own rules. Sounds a lot like Shaft. Who is the man that would risk his neck for his brother man? Who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about? They say this 'Trel is a bad mother . . . shut your mouth.
Chad Ochocinco: He hasn't been very useful lately but he rarely stops talking and chattering (though he has been somewhat uncharacteristically quiet), and some may of wanted him to go away during his nonproductive season with New England. He's the Morrie Kessler (Goodfellas) of the Patriots.
Lawrence Tynes: He may be a little shaky here and there during the games, and look a little nerdy, but the kicker always comes through at the end, just like Andy did in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Tynes let the sunshine in when he booted the Giants to the Super Bowl twice in the last five seasons.
Matt Light/Osi Umenyiora: The big lug of the Patriots' offensive line and the crafty, cunning Giants pass rusher have a nice little feud going, which brings to mind the battle between Mongo and Sheriff Bart from Blazing Saddles -- before they befriended each other and teamed up to defeat Hedley Lamarr, of course. Whichever team wins the Super Bowl will be presented with a laurel and hearty handshake.
Chris Snee/Tom Coughlin: The son-in-law and the father-in-law. There's no place to hide for Snee, who will never be able to get one over on Coughlin, who's always watching. The pair are the Greg Focker and Jack Byrnes of football. "I will be watching you, and if I find that you are trying to corrupt my first-born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown. Now get back in the huddle."
Bill Belichick: Yes, the coach of the Patriots is a genius and wildly successful, but he's also a notorious sore loser and has been caught cheating. And who does that sound like? Judge Smails from Caddyshack, of course. Belichick has even been known to offer Danny Woodhead a Fresca on occasion.