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After weeks of hype and hours of analysis, they will play the game

Apparently there will be football played on Sunday, at least intermittently between breaks for high-concept commercials and lip-synching by a singer better known at this point for cosmetic surgery.
For those who think the previous statement is exaggerated, this quote comes from a Jan. 15, 2010, piece on wsj.com:
“According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.”
So after the two weeks of relentless hype about the Super Bowl; studio analysis of whether the fact the Patriots have an edge because their punter is left-footed or whether the Giants can prevail because they will again apply Superglue to their helmets and get away with a half-dozen holding penalties on a game-winning drive; endless speculation on whether Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski will be slowed by his ankle sprain; a six-hour pre-game show; a survey on whether female fans would rather date Eli Manning or Tom Brady (Eli outpolled Gisele’s significant other in an upset); super-slow-mo replays from five angles of incomplete flat passes, three-yard off-tackle plays, and Bill Belichick pulling the red challenge flag out of his sock; and the roughly 1.25 billion chicken wings and the beyond-estimation cans of Bud Light Americans will consume on Sunday, it will all boil down to this:
A total of about 11 minutes of elapsed time from when the ball is hiked to begin all the plays until the whistle blows to end them. Don’t blink.
I mean, anyone can and should make as much fun as possible of wimpy European football — oh, ok — soccer players acting like they have had their livers removed with a rusty spoon when they are tripped up, but most at least get 11 minutes of exercise in just 15 or 20 minutes of a typical game.
Of course, most soccer players aren’t built like, say, Vince Wilfork (the defensive lineman is listed as 6-2 and 325 pounds on the Patriots’ website). Asking him or other NFL linemen to run and push people around for more than 11 minutes out of three-and-a-half hours might be unreasonable.
See, this is why betting, replays and beer go so well with football: All help pass the time while waiting for something to happen.
Ok, I kid, at least to an extent. I’m an American football fan, especially of the Patriots, even if I would rather watch Spain vs. Brazil in the World Cup.
And, as a sports writer, I am contractually and morally obligated to make predictions about the Big Game.
So: two concussions, one sprained ankle, a major knee injury, three shots of Bob Kraft in his owner’s box, a moving tribute to his late wife Myra, at least one reference to Spygate, a replay of David Tyree’s helmet catch in the pre-game montage, a symbolic shot of Eli Manning moving out from behind Peyton’s shadow, a sappy feature on Bill Parcells because both Belichick and Tom Coughlin assisted him in New York, universal groans about a halftime show that features “surprise” guest Brittany Spears, and, amid all the corporate gloss and overblown patriotism, a competitive football game that could go either way.
My best guess? Giants, 24-20, because Gronk won’t be at full speed.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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