Though the rest of the country may roll its collective eyes at the thought of another frenzy of New York-New England sports media hype, there's no doubt the Super Bowl XLII match-up between the Giants and Patriots will catch the eye of many football collectors. We're talking about two of the largest markets in the country, each with vast numbers of loyal fans.
It's also intriguing because of the mix of players involved, from bona fide hobby superstar Tom Brady to those who may be one championship away from climbing the ranks, like Eli Manning. And you never know which athlete could make the leap from commons bins to want lists because of a strong Super Bowl performance - just ask Adam Vinatieri.
The game's Arizona site is a long way from the Northeast base of the two teams, but the football card show at the NFL Experience will ensure collectors who make the trip won't leave disappointed. Read on for more on all of the football card aspects of Super Bowl XLII.
Collecting the 2007 New England Patriots
The hobby has been buzzing with activity on Patriots cards all season thanks to their undefeated regular season campaign. Quarterback Tom Brady has seen his cards become more popular than ever, and though his top rookie cards aren't cheap, he has others whose values could still grow if he captures another ring.
Record-setting receiver Randy Moss has found his way back into the football card spotlight after a career detour in Oakland, and he has plenty of affordable cards considering he's a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Running back Laurence Maroney rampaged his way through the AFC playoffs and could challenge Reggie Bush's status as the most collected runner from the Class of 2006 if he keeps it up.
One to watch: WR Wes Welker. The super quick slot man started his career in hobby anonymity as an undrafted rookie, but his stint in Miami proved he could play. He established himself as one of New England's most dangerous weapons during 2007, and he's as likely as anyone to have a star turn in Arizona. You can find his rookie cards in sets from the 2004 season.
Collecting the 2007 New York Giants
The defensive line rotation is probably the Giants' biggest strength, but since cards of ends and tackles rarely change hands - or are even made, for that matter - it will be someone on offense whose cards will benefit the most if they pull off the upset. Quarterback Eli Manning is the obvious candidate, as he appeared to come of age during the 2007 season.
Bruising running back Brandon Jacobs has the style to be a fan favorite and could easily rise above a fairly unimpressive group of runners from the NFL's Class of 2005. Even Plaxico Burress, who's been around a while but is playing at an impressive level while fighting through injuries, could find his way into more collections if he were to be named MVP.
One to watch: RB Ahmad Bradshaw. A seventh-round pick in 2007, Bradshaw saw little action until late in the season, when he looked like the "Lightning" to go with Jacobs' "Thunder." His speed gives New York's offense an extra dimension, and his rookie cards are inexpensive.
Topps Super Bowl XLII Card Show at The NFL Experience
Topps returns as the host and sponsor of the Super Bowl XLII Card Show taking place within The NFL Experience. Dealers selling all kinds of football cards and collectibles are a given, but 50 current and former NFL players will also be signing free autographs during the show.
Admission to the card show is included with a ticket to The NFL Experience, an interactive fan festival that costs $17.50 for adults and $12.50 for children under 12. Fans can get an updated list of player appearances and events by calling 1-888-NFL-CARD (635-2273).
The licensed NFL card manufacturers always have special redemptions and giveaways during the Super Bowl show, and that will be the case once again in Glendale.
Super Bowl participants Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress are all featured in a 16-card set that is limited to 1000 copies and will be found exclusively at dealer tables at the show. Rookies Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Bowe are also on the checklist.
More exclusives await at the Topps booth, where collectors who open three packs of 2007 Topps or Bowman football cards will receive one of four cards - Matt Leinart, Larry Fitzgerald, Kurt Warner or Anquan Boldin. The 2007 Topps Football complete factory set will also be on sale in special Super Bowl XLII packaging, and will come with a bonus six-card insert of top 2007 rookies: Peterson, Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Ted Ginn, JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn.
On top of that, anyone who buys the factory set will also receive a six-card Super Bowl XLII Gift Set, numbered to 1000 and featuring Brady (pictured above), Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Romo, Peterson and Moss. Pack Wars, giveaways and free sample cards are also planned for the Topps company booth.
Upper Deck has a pair of wrapper redemption programs on tap for the show. The first program is a four-card set of Arizona Cardinals players (Larry Fitzgerald, Edgerrin James, Adrian Wilson and Matt Leinart), while the second is a six-card set of NFL Record Breakers (Brady, Moss, Peterson, Brett Favre, Tony Gonzalez and Devin Hester) numbered to 700. Anyone who opens three packs of 2007 Upper Deck football products with an SRP of $2.99 or more at the company booth can redeem the wrappers from one card from either set.
Free giveaways at the booth include single cards from 2007 Artifacts, First Edition and SPx Football, key chains, All-Star Vinyl postcards and store catalogs. Upper Deck will also be holding raffles for a free NFL All-Star Vinyl figure each day of the show and operating its personalized trading card station that allows fans to create cards of themselves in minutes.
Finally, Upper Deck's new mascot Coach Cardman will debut at The NFL Experience. He'll be roaming the show with free cards and Upper Deck giveaways for kids.