The Patriots have had a lot of success with a lot of white guys on their team. More specifically, they let white players play positions most commonly handled by black players: running back (Danny Woodhead), defensive back / kickoff returner (Julian Edelman), receiver / punt returner (Wes Welker). They're almost the Duke of the NFL.
Those three played at obscure to formerly obscure college programs: Div. II Chadron St., Kent St., and Texas Tech. And they're all under six feet tall, too. They look more like Mark Wahlberg starring in an inspirational sports movie than real life Super Bowl players.
On the other hand Rob Gronkowski, the Patriot's 6'-6" 265 lb. superstar tight end who was hobbled with a sprained ankle, looks like the college football player in a 1940s joke:
Professor of Philosophy [peeved at the intelligence of scholar athletes recruited by the college's football coach]: "Mr. Gronkowski, can you tell us who is the author of The Critique of Pure Reason?"
Big Dumb Football Player [sweating, clueless, and apologetic]: "Professor, I can't ..."
Professor [surprised]: "Correct!"
The Giants, on the other hand, are a prototypical team with black players in black roles (RB, WR, D line) and white players in white roles (line, special teams, QB). They also have pretty good call and response chemistry:
The racial angle wasn't played up because Eli is white, but the Giants have far superior athletic talent. If you gave a Martian a book about the last 20-30 years of American sport, especially football and basketball, and then showed him the roster of each team, he'd have no choice but to assume the Giants are 2 or 3 touchdown favorites.
The Patriots came close, but it will be interesting to see which approach wins out over time.