PHILADELPHIA, February 3, 2012 – Over the last week and a half, there have been innumerable ways presented for slicing and dicing and prognosticating the myriad scenarios for accurately picking the eventual Super Bowl champion.
Wins versus losses. Xs and Os. Player matchups. Quarterback ratings. New England Clam Chowder versus Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Presented here for your enjoyment, not to mention your Vegas bet, is yet another way to look at the final two teams in the 2011-12 NFL season: through their respective regional beer profiles.
It would be prudent, though, to begin with some cold, hard facts as background.
The Super Bowl History
The Pittsburgh Steelers have both appeared in and won the most Super Bowls in the 45 that have been played; they have a record of 6-2. The Cowboys have also played in eight Super Bowls with a record of 5-3.
Not too far behind, though, are this year’s contenders: the New York Giants at 3-1; and the New England Patriots at 3-3.
This year the game is being held for the first time in Indianapolis, Indiana where most thought the home team would be vying for the championship. The last Super Bowl to be played in a cold weather city was in 2006 at Detroit where Pittsburgh beat Seattle for their fifth – “the one for the thumb” – their sixth would come three years later.
The last three out of four Super Bowl winners have come from the NFC and only four current teams have never appeared in a Super Bowl: Cleveland; Detroit; Houston; and Jacksonville. None of these would exactly land near the top of our lists of food and beer.
Historical edge: slight edge to the Giants and their better winning percentage in the big game.
The New England Patriots play outside of Boston, just a bit closer to Providence than Boston, and under the banner of New England’s team. For the younger football fans, the team has always been a successful one. They last won the big game at Super Bowl 39 in 2005 against Philadelphia. However, their longer legacy consists mostly of a great logo and many losing seasons. The most recognizable former players to the average fan are probably Steve Grogan, Bruce Armstrong, Andre Tippett, and John Hannah.
Their current quarterback, Tom Brady, is a resilient one, missing only one season due to a foot and knee injury. He cemented his superstar status after emerging from the shadows cast from Drew Bledsoe. The team’s lifetime winning percentage is 53.6% and postseason winning percentage is 59.5%.
The New York Giants have a rich legacy as well at a regrettable stadium in the northern New Jersey swamplands. It must not have mattered too much as Phil Simms, Harry Carson, and Lawrence Taylor had stellar careers there including Super Bowl XXII after the 1986 season. They also have their last Super Bowl victory, XLII in 2008, featuring the Eli Manning-David Tyree game-saving third down play which secured the first-ever NFC wild card Super Bowl winning team. The team’s lifetime winning percentage is 54.1% and postseason winning percentage is 50.0%.
Legacy edge: slight edge to the Patriots and their significantly better postseason record.
The Regular Season
These two teams call the northeast home. This will not do much to satisfy middle America and drive TV ratings in the heartland, but with the Rams at 2-14 this year, the Vikings at 3-13, and the Colts at 2-14, there has not been much hope there. As an interesting, yet snide, side note, does the Colts dismal record make the injured Peyton Manning this year’s league MVP?
However, as for the last two teams vying for the Lombardi trophy, here is how they fared in their respective 2011-12 regular seasons.
New England Patriots: 13-3 in regular season; finished 5-0 in last five games; ranked 2nd in total offense and 31st in total defense; outscored their opponents by 171 points; and went 3-1 against NFC.
New York Giants: 9-7 in regular season; finished 3-2 in last five games; ranked 8th in total offense and 27th in total defense; their opponents outscored them by 6 points; and went 4-0 against AFC.
Regular season edge: Patriots.
New England had it easy by Tebow-ing the Denver Broncos after a first round bye, but then eeking out a win by avoiding overtime with the Ravens. In the playoffs, they have ranked 2nd in total offense and 4th in total defense.
New York was a wild-card team, first beating easily beating the Atlanta Falcons and then handing the overwhelming favorite - the Green Bay Packers - a big defeat. They snuck back against the 49ers in heroic fashion to win in overtime on their way to ranking 4th in total offense and 2nd in total defense.
Playoffs edge: slight edge to the Giants and the more convincing roll they seem to be on. Plus, the old adage that defense wins games.
Beer: The X-factor
New York: New York is, well, New York. It is hardly necessary to describe what makes New York City and its five boroughs one of the world’s greatest cities. And, even though the Giants still play in the unfortunate lands of The Meadowlands (or MetLife Sports Complex, if you please) just outside Newark, New Jersey, the place to look for the beer scene is just across the river in New York City. I’ll pass up the chance to any further ridicule the Giants as New Jersey’s team.
As recently as five years ago, it would barely have been a discussion to have about the merits of New York’s beer scene against that of New England’s. But, Brooklyn and Manhattan have quickly caught up. Queens is surging with a better scene and even the Bronx is staking out some of its own territory in good beer. Staten Island? Well, it might still be a bit more of a challenge to find decent beer brewed and served on that other island.
With the astronomical price of real estate, not much beer is brewed within the five boroughs – not much, given the population. On Manhattan, Heartland Brewery dominates with six locations. Chelsea Brewing Company rounds out the brewing scene on Manhattan. Across the East River in Brooklyn, Sixpoint Craft Ales, Greenpoint, Kelso, and Brooklyn Brewery all pump out a good deal of good beer and can be found readily around the booming borough and its better beer bars.
The list of noteworthy beer bars around NYC is nearly endless, but many a wandering beer geek’s travel list will include ones in Manhattan (Blind Tiger Ale House, BXL, Cafe D’Alsace, d.b.a, David Copperfield’s, George Keely’s, Ginger Man, Hop Devil, Jimmy’s No. 43, Pony Bar, Rattle ‘n’ Hum, Spring Lounge, Vol de Nuit, and Zum Schneider), Brooklyn (Barcade, Bar Great Harry, Beer Table, Brazen Head, Mugs Ale House, Pacific Standard, Radegast, Spuyten Duyvil, The Gate, and Waterfront Ale House), and even Queens (Bohemian Hall, Sunswick 35/35, and WunderBar).
Retailers (Bierkraft, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods) are in on the action as well, many serving up growlers of fresh-tapped beer to take home. Perfect for the Big Game.
For all of the establishments listed here for NYC, the BeerAdvocate.com ratings and forum juggernaut has an average 4.00 rating.
New England: Calling Boston-proper home to two big breweries (Boston Brewing Company - aka, Samuel Adams - and Harpoon) and a brewpub “chain” called Beer Works (with five locations around the metro region), the brewing scene also extends solidly into neighboring communities like Cambridge (Pretty Things, John Harvard’s Brew House and Cambridge Brewing Company).
Boston shines especially in its pub scene. One need not step foot in the place where everyone knows your name with fine establishments around town like Brasserie Jo, Bukowski’s, Deep Ellum, Sunset Cantina, and The Kinsale. And, just across the city border, pubs like Cape Ann’s, RedBones BBQ, Squealing Pig, The Publick House, and Union Brew House are sure to please the most discerning beer palates.
With the Patriots serving as New England’s team, the wealth of beer that extends across the region would be nearly impossible to list out across this already crowded page. Technically, where the Patriots play their home games in Foxborough is closer to Providence, Rhode Island, which itself boasts a credible beer scene.
For all of the establishments listed here in the Boston area, BeerAdvocate.com has an average 3.97 rating.
Beer edge: a slight edge to the Giants if only for the access to a higher volume of credible breweries and beer bars within the city.
Finally, the outcome. After all of this analysis, what conclusions can finally be drawn?
Boiling this all down to a simple answer is unfortunately not as simple as if the matchup was, say, San Francisco against Baltimore or New England.
The wealth of craft beer in New York City area supports it. The craft beer analysis supports the conclusion, as does the number-crunching, and even the conventional wisdom of deductive reasoning.
The Giants will win, by a couple of beers. But, by how many?
The closest game ever, won by 1 point, was after the 1990-91 season when the Giants took home the championship after beating the Bills 20-19. On the other hand, the largest margin of victory ever was 45 points, with the 49ers winning over the Broncos 55-10 in 1989-90 season. And, finally, the average winning margin in Super Bowls 16-30 was 20 points, Super Bowls 30-35 was 14 points, Super Bowls 35-40 was 9 points, and most recently Super Bowls 40-45 was 8 points. Fifteen games in total have been won by a touchdown or less.
All signs point to a New York Giants win over New England in Super Bowl XLVI. The final score will be 26-24.
After all, it’s a matter of taste.
—Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at The Washington Times
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.