It took the Giants and Patriots quite a while to join the rugged fight to the NFL championship game known as the Super Bowl.
The Giants got there first on Jan. 25, 1987, pounding out a 39-20 win over the Denver Broncos at the Rose Bowl in Super Bowl XXI. Four years later, the Giants returned to the Super Bowl, where they beat the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, in a brutal, take-no-prisoners win in Super Bowl XXV on Jan. 27, 1991, at Tampa Stadium.
The Giants returned for their third Super appearance for a showdown against the Baltimore Ravens, who out-muscled them 34-7 at Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001. The Giants and super coach Tom Coughlin’s last appearance came on Feb. 3, 2008, beating the New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
So now, 3-1 in Super wins, the Giants will be seeking their fourth Super Bowl title at Lucas Oil Stadium at Indianapolis, Ind., against the Patriots, led by Bill Belichick, who will be making his fifth run to the Big Game, as will his quarterback, Tom Brady. The Pats’ first appearance was in 1997, losing 35-21 to the Packers at the New Orleans Super Dome in Super Bowl XXXI.
On Feb. 3, 2002, the Pats scored a 20-17 win over St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI. They nipped the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII, Feb. 1, 2004, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, then went back-to-back by whipping the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 on Feb. 6, 2005, at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., at Super Bowl XXXIX.
Now, the two well-coached teams will meet once again for NFL bragging rights on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis at Super Bowl XVLI.