While generally regarded as a solid quarterback, Manning had been unable to achieve the same level of success as fellow 2004 draftees Philip Rivers (for whom he was traded) and Ben Roethlisberger, the latter of whom had already won a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XL).

By the 2007 season, many sports writers were starting to question if Eli would ever live up to the expectations that accompanied being selected with the first overall pick in a draft.

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In subsequent years, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa was chosen as the site for Super Bowl XLIII and the West Side Stadium was briefly designated as the venue for Super Bowl XLIV. This was the first Super Bowl played on a retractable natural-grass field surface; the University of Phoenix Stadium's removable surface is unique among American sports venues.

However, this game was later moved to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, when it became clear that the new stadium in New York City would not be built in time for the February 2010 game. Super Bowl XLII was also the second Super Bowl played in a retractable-roof stadium (the first was played at Reliant Stadium in Houston for Super Bowl XXXVIII).

Quarterback Eli Manning, the younger brother of Super Bowl XLI MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, had struggled to find consistency.

In his three seasons as a starter, he had completed less than 54% of his passes with a career passer rating of 73.4.

During a February 6, 2007 ceremony with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, the NFL and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee unveiled the slogan "Who Wants It More?

" along with its mascot "Spike the Super Ball" (an anthropomorphized football with sunglasses and sneakers) and a large "Super Bowl XLII Countdown Clock" at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It features the shape of the state of Arizona in red and two horizontal white stripes in the middle to represent the vertical lines on University of Phoenix Stadium.The first time this was employed was in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium; the roof was open for pregame and halftime shows and closed during the game.Because there was rain in the forecast for Super Bowl XLII, the roof was closed for the entire day's activities.The New York Giants began the season with low expectations after star running back Tiki Barber retired.The Giants had lost in the NFC Wild Card round in each of the previous two seasons and had not won a playoff game in seven years.During the regular season, the home team decides 90 minutes before kickoff whether the roof will be open or closed, and an open roof must remain open unless weather conditions get worse.