The increasingly ferocious rivalry between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich will stretch beyond politics today and seep into one of the greatest American sports traditions: the Super Bowl.
Romney said he’s rooting for the New England Patriots, a hometown pick for the former Massachusetts governor.
But Gingrich is going for the New York Giants, saying Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he has shares of Green Bay Packers stock and therefore has an “obligation … to honor the team that beat us, painful though it was.”
The Giants pulled an upset win over the Packers in the NFL playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl.
Romney and Gingrich are the only two GOP presidential candidates who have taken sides in Super Bowl XLVI. While Ron Paul declined to make a pick, his campaign manager Jesse Benton said the Texas congressman “always roots for the underdog.”
Paul plans to watch the game at his Texas home eating homemade chili with his kids and grandkids, Benton said.
Rick Santorum, who as a former Pennsylvania senator said he’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, said he’s staying out of the Giants vs. Patriots fight this Super Bowl Sunday.
“I’m from Pittsburgh; I’m a Steelers fan, sorry. So I don’t really care,” Santorum said at a church outside Minneapolis.
“I do find it hard to root for Tom Brady, that’s all I have to say,” Santorum added.
While Romney and Gingrich are facing off in their Super Bowl picks this year, it would have been a Santorum vs. Gingrich battle last year when Santorum’s Steelers faced off against Gingrich’s Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
The Packers emerged victorious in 2011. In a few short hours we’ll see if Gingrich has picked a winner again this year.
ABC’s Jason Volack and Emily Friedman contributed to this report.