Super Bowl hype is about to intensify. Thankfully, we've all been through it before, so we're eminently qualified to withstand the ordeal. And yes, I know this one pits Tom Brady and the New England Patriots against Eli Manning and the New York Giants, so the possibility of mass hysteria exists. But remember, there is nothing we can't accomplish if we all pull together.
The good news: This one will be worth it.
Yes, it's a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, and many wonder how this can live up to that 17-14 thriller. It can do more than that - it can be better.
First off, when you get to this point in the process, all the excess fat has been trimmed. There are no fluky Tim Tebow-led Broncos or upstart Lions present who somehow finagled a way past the velvet ropes. The Patriots and Giants are the raw, organic cream of the crop. They survived Herculean tests in their conference championship games. Both executed down the stretch when extraordinary poise under pressure was required.
These clubs are better prepared than an egghead before the SATs.
Then you have the two quarterbacks. Yes, I know, if you're not one of those people who has tattooed a body part with either the Patriots or Giants logo, you're probably already sick of hearing about Tom and Eli.
I can sympathize. But consider that among savvy gridiron gunslingers, there probably isn't a better possible AFC-NFC quarterback matchup. Have some perspective. Were you yearning for Joe Flacco vs. Alex Smith? Did you pine for a T.J. Yates-Matt Ryan duel? If the answer to either is yes, you shouldn't be looking at football, you should be looking at a Rorschach test.
Yes, either Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would have been fun to watch against Brady, too. Two things about that: a) They didn't get it done, and b) Eli is playing better than either of them.
There are many other personalities on the Patriots and Giants who figure to provide entertainment satisfaction.
Victor Cruz is one. The Giants' receiver is no secret to those who have followed his 2011 season and watched him make clutch catch after clutch catch. But he is one of those players who will cause casual fans like Fred the mailman, Eleanor the human resources lady or Beth the accountant to exclaim, "Who is that guy!?" And let me tell you, Eleanor rarely gets excited about personnel.
Rob Gronkowski will be scrutinized mightily in the coming days because he has a left ankle injury and his incredible skills as a tight end are desperately needed by the Patriots' offense. More importantly though, he met up with porn star Bibi Jones earlier this season in order to siphon off some of her Twitter followers. Tell me that won't be a topic of conversation over the hummus bowl.
In all these heavily hyped games, somebody emerges out of relative obscurity and becomes a star. In Super Bowl XLII in 2008, which also matched these teams, it was David Tyree of the Giants, who made a crucial catch in the final minutes by re-enacting the old "HeadOn" commercial - "apply directly to the forehead."
This time, who knows? The Giants might be able to run the ball against the Patriots defense - which they weren't too successful at in San Francisco (85 rushing yards) - so either Ahmad Bradshaw or Brandon Jacobs could wind up with the "I'm going to Disney World!" gig. Or the name on everyone's lips after the Super Bowl could be Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, although folks probably will have to write that down to remember it.
Somebody on either defense might sparkle. It could be defensive ends Justin Tuck or Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants. It could be safety Patrick Chung or nose tackle Vince Wilfork of the Patriots. It could be someone nondescript who strips a ball, recovers a fumble, makes a key tackle or discovers that an enemy pass has inexplicably landed in his hands.
Super hype sometimes also creates a mega-goat, a member of that unfortunate species branded as an incompetent for making a major mistake. That will result in criticism, derision, repeated airings of said gaffe on highlights in perpetuity, and occasionally even death threats from cretinous subhumans who live in their mothers' basements.
The New England-New York matchup also offers up a stark contrast in coaches. Bill Belichick is inscrutable and never smiles. Tom Coughlin is poker-faced and never smiles. All right, so they're not much different. Actually, it's their similarities that will make this a superb game: They both know how to prepare and motivate players to win big games.
The NFC championship game between the Giants and 49ers attracted about 50 million viewers. When you consider that New York is involved in this Super Bowl; that New York has a long-standing rivalry with Boston that extends well beyond Yankees-Red Sox and into areas like pizza quality and expletive-flinging; and that this is a rematch of a Super Bowl played just four years ago, it then appears that unrelenting publicity between now and kickoff might actually be insufficient to do this game justice, as the audience figures to swell to a sizeable hunk of all humanity, with record ratings.
Do what you must to cope with the onslaught on the airwaves. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that it'll be worth it. And keep in mind that, because you burn more calories jumping up and down with excitement than you do slumped on the sofa in a catatonic state, during this Super Bowl I feel confident you'll be able to enjoy that second calzone without guilt.
Michael Ventre is a regular contributor to NBCSports.com. Follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelVentre44/