Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
The stage is set. It’ll be the New York Giants against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl that will be played for the first time in Indianapolis.
It means former Terre Haute North and Illinois athlete Steve Weatherford, who is the punter for the Giants, will be coming back to his home state to play in his first Super Bowl.
His team needed overtime to sideline the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in the NFC Championship Game, with the Giants taking advantage of a muffed punt return to kick a field goal and earn the right to meet the Patriots in a rematch of their 2008 Super Bowl game, when the Giants won and handed New England its only setback.
Weatherford got kudos for his work in the game from the Fox TV commentators. He averaged 46.4 yards on 12 punts and it was his punt, of course, that the 49ers fumbled to set up the game-winner.
And he was the holder on the field goal, getting a low snap in good position for the kick.
New England nearly needed overtime to get by Baltimore 23-20 but prevailed when Billy Cundiff failed to convert a 32-yard field goal in the final seconds.
We feel sorry for Cundiff and for Kyle Williams, who muffed the punt return and also had another fumble earlier in the game.
But we are happy for Steve Weatherford, who will be on the Big Stage in February.
We picked the Giants and Patriots to win last week. We’ll have our Super Pick next week.
• Tom-Cattin’ It — Meyers Leonard of Robinson continues to play great basketball for Illinois, which has dropped two close games. He has six double-doubles.
• The Indiana Pacers are off to an 11-4 start after beating the Los Angeles Lakers in LA on Sunday, giving them a 2-1 mark on their West Coast trip. They are at home against Orlando tonight.
• In the USA Today national prep girls basketball poll last week, Hamilton Southeastern was 16th and third in the Midwest Region. No Indiana team was in the top 25 for boys; Hamilton Southeastern was seventh in the Midwest Region.
• Eric Gordon, former Indianapolis North Central and IU standout now in the pros, has made the 20-player list of players to be considered for the U.S. men’s basketball team. Pacer Danny Granger did not make the cut.
• In case you missed it, Gunner Kiel changed his mind again in deciding where to go to college and play football. The Columbus East quarterback first said it was IU, then said it was LSU, but has ended up at Notre Dame.
• It’s good to see Chad Collins back on the course in PGA Tour action. He had a great first round last week in California.
• South Bend Washington wide receiver Gehrig Dieter has made the Parade Magazine All-America prep football team.
• Former Duke All-American and pro Christian Laettner has joined the staff of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, an NBA Developmental League team.
• Ads have been placed for a new play to open in New York in March. It’s Magic/Bird and, of course, is about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.