Teams owned by two of the key figures in solving the 4 ½-month lockout of the players last year. New England's Robert Kraft shuttled back and forth from the meetings to his dying wife's bedside late in the negotiating process. Myra Kraft passed away days before the lockout was resolved.
His players wore a patch with her initials MHK on the left side of their jerseys this season.
"The fact that she was so dear to me and all of our players are wearing her initials above their heart is an endearing thing," Kraft said. "What she represented is important and I hope that special sense of spirit comes through."
Giants owner John Mara played an equally important role in the labor negotiations, and when both teams reached the Super Bowl, Kraft mentioned "a certain karma" about the matchup.
"I'm not necessarily happy to be playing Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, I'll tell you that," Mara joked. "But yeah, I'm very happy for Bob because he put his heart and soul into those negotiations during a very difficult time for him and his family, so I think the success they've had is well-deserved."
When they finally kick off Sunday, the two biggest stars will be Brady and Manning — yes, Eli. Not halftime performer Madonna, but the quarterbacks on whose arms, wits and leadership this Super Bowl will turn.
"They are both leaders on the field," Wilfork said. "I think that position you have to be smart, you have to be intelligent. I think you have to understand what's going on around you. I think both those guys have that."
On Sunday, we'll see which one adds to his championship legacy with another Super Bowl ring.
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