When football and motorsports collide: Super Bowl XLVI meets Indy

Super Bowl XLVI is the latest event to show how
racing and football can overlap. Credit: Stock.xchng
The 46th Super Bowl will be hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday. It’s the home of the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400, as well as the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts.

You can bet your favorite NASCAR driver will be watching the game at home or at the stadium, for most have expressed their love for football numerous times.

As a special tribute to the NFL, the IZOD IndyCar Series painted and displayed Dallara IndyCars in the colors and team logos of all 32 teams.

This year the New England fans look at this game as a big deal: the Patriots will face off against the New York Giants. There is a long history of rivalry between the Boston and New York City teams. Most know of the Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry, and some know about the Jets rivalry with the Patriots. But some may not know how the New York Giants came out of nowhere to overturn the 2008 Super Bowl and win that game 17 -14, snapping an undefeated Patriots season from the palm of their hands. This Sunday night is considered a re-match game for many of the New England fans.

Patriots have been to the Super Bowl six times already: five of those times were with quarterback Tom Brady and his coach Bill Belichick, and they stand at 3 and 3. New England has created a dynasty in the NFL - they have won three Super Bowls in a four-year time frame, and Brady has brought the team to a place no other quarterback has ever brought the Patriots before. They won the 2002, 2004 and 2005 Lombardi Trophies, and they also had undefeated 2005 and 2007 seasons.

The Giants have won three Super Bowls out of the four they have played in. They actually have seven titles, claiming four in the pre-Super Bowl era, which ranks them third in titles among all NFL franchises. Quarterback Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin led the team to its 2008 Super Bowl victory and will try for another ring Sunday night.

Johnson vs. Brady

Jimmie Johnson has created a dynasty of his own in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, having won five consecutive championships. Johnson has scored a plethora of fans, yet he’s also scored a lot of haters, just like Brady, for anyone living outside of the "Boston bubble” pretty much dislikes the quarterback.

Johnson has yet to respond to my tweets questioning if he will cheer on the Patriots this Sunday night. But in a Hendrick Motorsports video, Johnson says that based on both teams' performance during the championship playoffs, "it'll be close."

"I don't know if I'd put all that much weight on the Patriots' side. If Eli protects the ball and plays smart, I think that team is strong enough that they can do it. But if Tom Brady gets hot - man, it's going to be tough to beat that," Johnson said.  

Johnson has expressed his interest in Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback, as have numerous other NASCAR drivers. Tebow and the Broncos faced off with the Patriots in an effort to make it to the AFC game for the final division title and a chance at the Super Bowl, before being ultimately crushed by the Patriots.

Hendrick vs. the Patriots

Although the sports are very different, Patriots team owner Robert Kraft and coach Belichick have similar styles to creating a championship team as Rick Hendrick has for Hendrick Motorsports. Both teams have a history of consecutive championships, and star-studded players/racers. Both teams believe in showing up for practice with their game face on and having strong work ethics and self-motivation. Through the years, they have expressed in their own words that you can coach a player/driver how to play/drive, but you can’t coach work ethics or motivation.

Joe Gibbs, owner of the successful race team Joe Gibbs Racing, is a NASCAR championship-winning team owner and Super Bowl-winning coach. Gibbs was a long-time NFL coach to the Washington Redskins in his prior career. He led the Redskins to all three of their Super Bowl victories (1982, 1987 and 1991). This matches the number of Sprint Cup titles that Joe Gibbs Racing has won: 2000 with Bobby Labonte, and 2002 and 2005 with Tony Stewart.

Gibbs displays a similar coaching style as the above-mentioned men and also has a strong religious belief that he isn't shy to express in public.

TV spots

Like NASCAR, the Super Bowl is known for hosting comical commercials. Drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. have starred in some of these commercials, but no other athlete or celebrity has starred in more ads than upcoming stockcar superstar Danica Patrick. To date, she has 10 ads, all of them for GoDaddy.com.

Patrick was at the Whisky River in Charlotte last weekend and told press that she does like to watch the Super Bowl at home, but she usually does wait until air time to see the final cut of her commercials. This year, she admitted to having seen the final cuts, but declined to comment on any of them.

Who's rooting for who?

For fans interested in rooting for the same team their favorite drivers are rooting for, here is a quick rundown from information that I did find from drivers and those in the NASCAR industry based on preferences stated on Twitter and in television interviews. Some of our writers at Skirts and Scuffs also weigh in on which team they'll be cheering on Sunday night.

Austin Dillon, Steve Letarte (Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief), Mike Davis (Dale Earnhardt Jr. representative at JR Motorsports), Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Dave Rogers (Kyle Busch's crew chief), Joey Logano, Genevieve (that's me), Kyle Rickey (broadcaster and producer of Motor Racing Network).

Tony Stewart (it’s safe to believe so considering he is a big Peyton Manning fan, and Peyton’s brother is the New York Giants quarterback), Denny Hamlin and new crew chief Darian Grubb, Jason Ratliff (Logano’s new crew chief), Skirts and Scuffs writers Amy McHargue, Amanda Ebersole and Lacy Keyser.

Which side will come out victorious? Tune into the Super Bowl - or the Daytona 500 of football, for those in the racing mindset - Sunday night.

Genevieve is a single 30something year-old living on Lake Norman in the Charlotte, NC area. She grew up in New England, lived in Boston, and has traveled to many places. She's a proud New England fan, and encourages everyone to visit Boston sometime in your lifetime! When not writing about NASCAR, she's either reading, exercising, spending time with friends, and her niece.  
When football and motorsports collide: Super Bowl XLVI meets Indy When football and motorsports collide: Super Bowl XLVI meets Indy Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, February 04, 2012 Rating: 5