INDIANAPOLIS -- Super Bowl XLVI has a familiar ring to it.
The logos on the side of the helmets are the same. The coaches are the same. The quarterbacks are the same. The paths they traveled are almost the same.
But the New York Giants and the New England Patriots both insist this isn't February 2008 all over again.
"It's the same teams, but a lot of new players," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. "We have 16 guys, and New England has only seven guys who were on that team. A lot of guys who are going to be key factors in this game did not play in that last Super Bowl. We have the mindset that this is a new game. It's the same teams, but a lot of different makeup. What happened in the last Super Bowl doesn't matter. What happened in the last game of the season doesn't matter. It's about what we do on Sunday."
Some of the stars from Super Bowl XLII are long gone. Plaxico Burress has served time in prison since then. Michael Strahan, Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison now are television analysts. David Tyree's amazing 32-yard catch, which he pinned against his helmet to help the Giants to a 17-14 upset, was his last in the NFL.
Yet, the Patriots and Giants meet again.
They both have turned over their rosters, with only 23 of 106 players back for the sequel, but here they are nonetheless. The constants have been the head coaches and the franchise quarterbacks.
The more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same.
In the past four seasons, neither team has had a losing record. The Giants are 42-26, including the playoffs; the Patriots are 50-18.
"I am proud of that," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "That's something that we strive for around here. I look at the other successful franchises in this league -- the Patriots, the Steelers, Green Bay, Baltimore -- that's what they have. They have stability. They don't make big changes every year. You try to get the right people in place, and you try to let them do their jobs. There's enough turnover in this league as it is, and if you can keep your key people in place and have some confidence to let them do their jobs and ride out the ups and downs, then I think you have a chance to be successful. If you start making impulsive changes, I think that's recipe for disaster. We've tried to avoid that."
The Patriots were 12-point favorites last time. They are three-point favorites this time.
Four years ago, New England was on the verge of history. It was 18-0, a win from the NFL's second perfect season. Then, Tyree happened, and the Giants had one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history.
"For a long time I carried a bitter taste in my mouth after having such a tough defeat," said Harrison, now an NBC pregame analyst. "But after months and months of really carrying the burden of such a heck of a play by David Tyree, I've been able to recently release that. But it hurt me. I got a chance to watch it a couple times, and every time I see it, it still hurts."
Harrison said he believes New England should be playing the revenge card, but most of the current Patriots' only memories of Super Bowl XLII come from television. Besides, a win today won't change history.
"You know, 2007 [season] was 2007," Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. "Now, we're in 2012. Both teams are different. I don't think we're looking for revenge. We've got two football teams who are trying to play the best they can, so they can win."
Indeed, victory is a dish best enjoyed in the Super Bowl.
"When you win, you still probably get an hour of sleep, but that feeling doesn't go away for a long time," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "The winning, the things that go along with winning, those are really special memories that you have with a lot of close friends. It's a great feeling."
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760