As the home of the Indianapolis 500 and a perennial setting for March Madness, Indianapolis has played host for many great sports moments over the years. On February 5, the Racing Capitol of the World will be a part of history once more as the New England Patriots and New York Giants battle inside Lucas Oil Stadium to determine the champion of this year’s Super Bowl.
In many ways, the Super Bowl and the Indianapolis 500 can’t be any more opposite. But in the most important way, these two mega-events are alike: It takes an elite team of people performing at a high level to win them.
As great as Tom Brady and Eli Manning are, their coaches and teammates must rise to the occasion as well. The same principle applies to IZOD IndyCar Series drivers: They are the “quarterbacks,” but they still need good calls from their crew chiefs and fast stops from their people in the pits in order to position themselves for victory.
That said, each event has its own heroes and traditions. Check out the tale of the tape and see how they both stack up.
Super Bowl: XLVI (that’s 46 for you non-Roman types).
Indianapolis 500: 100, going on 101
Super Bowl: The merger between the American Football League and National Football League
Indianapolis 500: Carl Fisher, Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler and James Allison
Indianapolis 500: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing
Super Bowl: A 120-yard, marked field of grass or synthetic turf with two goalposts
Indianapolis 500: A rectangular, diamond-ground 2.5-mile asphalt oval with one yard of bricks
Super Bowl: 60,000 to 100,000+, depending on venue (Lucas Oil Stadium is around 70,000)
Indianapolis 500: Without infield -- 257,000+; with infield – around 400,000
Super Bowl: Assorted helmets, jerseys, shoulder/leg pads, cleats, gloves, and one leather-covered oblong spheroid
Indianapolis 500: Assorted helmets, fire suits, heat-resistant undergarments/shoes, and 33 carbon-fiber Dallara DW12s (each with one turbo-charged engine and four Firestone Firehawks)
Super Bowl: Tom Brady, Eli and Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Adam Vinateri
Indianapolis 500: Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, the late Dan Wheldon
Super Bowl: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw
Indianapolis 500: A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, the Unser family, Rick Mears
Super Bowl: Pittsburgh Steelers – Six
Indianapolis 500: Penske Racing – 15
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY
Super Bowl: XXIV (1990) – San Francisco over Denver, 55-10
Indianapolis 500: 1913 -- Jules Goux over Spencer Wishart by 13 minutes, 8.4 seconds
CLOSEST MARGIN OF VICTORY
Super Bowl: XXV (1991) – New York Giants over Buffalo, 20-19
Indianapolis 500: 1992 – Al Unser, Jr. over Scott Goodyear by .043 of a second
Super Bowl: A sound game plan, perfect spiral passes, “sticky” hands, a kicker with ice water in his veins, and the ability to knock people into next week
Indianapolis 500: A sound game plan, quick reflexes, physical conditioning for the Indiana heat, fuel conservation skills in critical situations, and a heavy right foot
Super Bowl: A grand halftime extravaganza with confetti, fireworks and seemingly random combinations of past and present musical stars
Indianapolis 500: “God Bless America” with Florence Henderson, “Back Home Again in Indiana” with Jim Nabors, and a rock concert on Carb Day that punishes those without beer, water and/or suntan lotion
Super Bowl: Adorable little puppies – I mean, “adowable, widdle, puppy-wuppies”
Indianapolis 500: A really long stock car race in North Carolina
Super Bowl: Shenanigans on Media Day and hilarious/horrible TV commercials
Indianapolis 500: Carb Night Burger Bash and the IPL 500 Festival Parade