For two weeks nobody could figure out why the New York Giants were underdogs to the New England Patriots heading into Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI. Despite Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s valiant effort at proving the oddsmakers right, they just didn’t have it in them to stop Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin from capturing their second NFL Championship.
Manning, for his part, put an end to all the talk about whether or not he was an elite quarterback when he led his Giants to a 21-17 win over the AFC Champion Patriots in triumphant, memorable fashion. Much like he did against this very same New England team four years ago, the less acclaimed Manning brother put together a clutch, much-needed 88-yard drive to give his team the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.
That score, coupled with his impressive 30-of-40, 296-yard and one touchdown individual showing was good enough to earn him a second career MVP.
For those keeping track of Super Bowl championship and MVP trophies – Eli: 2 Peyton: 1.
As Manning soaked in the glory of leading his team to yet another chip with the clock reading all zeros, Brady hung his head and postponed his chase for a fourth ring yet again. He had fought fearlessly for most of the game and looked poised to lead his team to one of their signature comeback victories with less than one minute remaining, but ultimately his receivers just weren’t up for the pressure of the moment. In the final minute of the game, Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch and Rob Gronkowski all missed opportunities to go down in Super Bowl lore with what have been truly memorable game-winning receptions.
Just two months ago, the Giants floundered in the NFC East with an unimpressive 7-7 mark looking completely dead in the water. Talk about whether or not Manning was truly the right for the team and whether or not Coughlin needed to get fired was prevalent all over New York talk radio and print media.
Now they’re Super Bowl champions for the second time.
What a different two months makes.