In these two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl you’re hearing a lot of analysis. Who will win the game? How will they win it? Is Rob Gronkowski going to be healthy? But there’s another story line to look at. What will happen after the game is over?

Well, there are two options, each with their pros and cons:


What will people say about the coaching abilities of Bill Belichick after Super Bowl XLVI? (FILE:Icon/SMI)

1. New England Patriots Win the Super Bowl: If the Patriots win Super Bowl XLVI it will be the fourth title in franchise history. The legacies of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will be all but locked up. There will be no more questions about the Patriots struggling secondary and several formerly unknown players (James Ihedigbo and Sterling Moore to name a few) will get their first rings. Belichick may never be questioned about his defensive prowess again. He cleared out the secondary before the season began and brought in a bunch of new guys who immediately had to step into big shoes. He also had to deal with Devin McCourty having a bit of a sophomore slump. But he made adjustments and he created a defense that would bend, but not break. They were second to last in total defense this season, but middle of the pack (15) in points allowed. But the biggest victory will be overcoming a tough New York Giants team that has given the Patriots more than a few headaches in the past. Should the Patriots win the Super Bowl they will put to rest the 2007 Super Bowl and finally overcome the Eli Manning/Tom Coughlin tandem.

2. New York Giants Win the Super Bowl: Eli Manning will have two Super Bowl rings and he’ll deserve a spot among the elite in the game if he can win Super Bowl XLVI. He will be one of the few quarterbacks who will have taken down Tom Brady. He would have proven it twice in the Super Bowl and once during the regular season this year. The Giants would also show that you need a defense to win a championship. Their pass rush is intense and has not been a friend of Brady’s. Tom Coughlin will have to be thrown into the conversation as one of the best coaches because he’ll have two championships under his belt. If the Giants win the Super Bowl, you can expect that the postseason chatter will be surrounding their rise to elite status. Belichick on the other hand, might take a bit more scrutiny for trying to run a team and a defense. To the critics, he might not look like such a defensive minded coach anymore.

What happens after the Super Bowl is a mystery at this point. All we know now is it’s a chance for the Patriots to get some redemption and there’s no room for error.