The New York Giants did it again beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time in the last four years. Like the other Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, this was a game to remember. From Chase Blackburn's interception to Wes Welker's drop to Mario Manningham's catch to Ahmad Bradshaw's accidental touchdown, there's a lot to remember from this game.
But we'll stick to 10 things of note ...
Reassessing Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin's place in history. Two Super Bowl victories for the QB-coach combo which means I think we may have ourselves a pair of Hall of Famers. Manning is only 31 so he should have several more years of playing at a high level and Coughlin is one of the oldest coaches in the league but no signs of retirement. Most of the quarterbacks who start multiple Super Bowls, let alone win 'em both and win the MVP in both, are in the Hall of Fame. It may not come for another decade or more, but we'll be seeing Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin inducted into the Canton one day.
Reassessing the Patriots place in history. They are now 3-2 in Super Bowls in the last 10 years, instead of improving to 4-1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are still going to the Hall of Fame one day. This is still one of the greatest dynasties of all-time. But I think you have wonder reassess where exactly on that list of great dynasties they fit. Are they No. 1 after simply making five Super Bowl appearances? Do you know them down a peg for losing two title games? We're not quite ready to figure out their place in history because they very well could be back next year. This isn't a dynasty that's about to fall apart. The Patriots will keep winning and Belichick and Brady may very well have a chance at a fourth Super Bowl. It's a tough loss but it doesn't make us forget that this team is on one of the all-time great runs in the last 11 seasons.
Eli Manning joins the exclusive two-time Super Bowl MVP club. Your members are Joe Montana (three times), Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and now Eli Manning. We're talking about two of the greatest quarterbacks in the last three decades in Montana and Brady. And Manning seems to have that presence about him late in the game that makes quarterbacks special. Whatever "it" is, Eli has it when the clock is ticking late in the game.
Eli Manning takes another MVP from Justin Tuck. Quarterbacks get all the blame when their team loses yet they also get all the praise when their team wins. So Eli Manning as the Super Bowl XLVI MVP isn't a big surprise. But for the second time, Manning overshadowed a terrific performance by Justin Tuck. Four years ago Tuck had two sacks in the Super Bowl and was instrumental in holding the Patriots to just two touchdowns. And in the most recent Super Bowl, Tuck once again had two sacks. Tuck's though process late in the game: "Eli's going to steal my MVP again." Joking, of course.
Were the Giants really the best team? They won the Super Bowl so obviously they're the NFL champions but were they really the best team this year? Pregame.com says if the Patriots and Giants played again, New England would be a 2.5 point favorite. Both the Packers and Saints would be a 3.5 point favorite over the Giants, so Vegas still doesn't think they're the best team.
When the Patriots lost the game. Talk about Brady's performance at the end. Talk about the Patriots defense giving up an 88-yard drive late in the game. But the Giants may never have been in position to win the game if Wes Welker hadn't dropped a pass on 2nd-and-11. With just over four minutes remaining, Brady found Welker streaking into a hole in the Giants defense. The ball was thrown just over Welker's shoulder and it looked like he turned the wrong way to try and make the catch. As you can see in this video, he had his hands on the ball but it slipped out. Incomplete. The Patriots eventually had to punt but, if Welker had caught that ball, we may very well be sitting here talking about Tom Brady's legacy as a four-time Super Bowl champion. It's very unfortunate because the Pats may not even be in the Super Bowl without Welker but that drop will follow him for the rest of his life.
When the Giants won the game. The Mario Manningham catch. We'll remember this one for a while. On the first play of the Giants comeback drive, Manning went deep to Manningham putting the ball in the perfect spot as Manningham was able to haul it in over his shoulder with a defender directly behind and in front of him. The replays make you appreciate how improbable it was that he A.) made the catch and B.) dragged his feet in bounds. All the while he had a safety streaking right in front of him. That 38-yard pass set the Giants up at mid-field and you know what happened after that. If you haven't seen the video, don't worry -- they'll be playing it over and over again.
Eli Manning knows how to make a Patriots game entertaining. All three were victories and all three included Giant comebacks in the final minute. Players develop reputations in Super Bowls and Eli's is one of a clutch player. It helps that he just looks cool, calm and collected out there when the pressure should be at its highest.
And the Patriots know how to make a Super Bowl exciting. This four-point margin was the largest point margin in any Super Bowl the Patriots have played in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. The first three Super Bowls were all three-point victories. The 2008 Super Bowl was a three-point loss. And now this one, four points, another loss. Say what you want about the Patriots but they have provided us with some of the most exciting Super Bowls in history.
Tom Coughlin has Bill Belichick's number. After Super Bowl XLVI, Coughlin is now 5-1 against Belichick and 2-0 in Super Bowls. Is he a better coach? Maybe head-to-head but Belichick gets my overall vote based on his entire body of work.