What a game! I tell you one thing, the Super Bowl of the last 13 or so years have given us a lot of epic championship games. You can’t always have said that. Let’s just look at all the great games we have witnessed recently:
- 1999 – Super Bowl XXXIV – Rams 23 Titans 16 – Just one yard short.
- 2001 – Super Bowl XXXVI – Patriots 20 Rams 17 – Vinatieri for the win.
- 2003 – Super Bowl XXXVIII – Patriots 32 Panthers 29 – Back and forth all game long culminating in a Brady-led drive setting up the winning FG in the last seconds.
- 2007 – Super Bowl XLII – Giants 17 Patriots 14 – Manning to Tyree, greatest play ever, that led to game winning TD in last seconds.
- 2008 – Super Bowl XLIII – Steelers 27 Cardinals 23 – Cardinals win it in last minute…not so fast, Roethlisberger to Holmes with seconds left to win it.
- 2010 – Super Bowl XLV – Packers 31 Steelers 25 – Not really epic, but a very close game won in the last minutes.
- 2011 – Super Bowl XLVI – Giants 21 Patriots 17 – You just watched it!
Before those games you rarely got an epic game, let alone 7 in 13 years! As much as I have to gripe and complain about the NFL these days, this is not one of those instances. The Super Bowl has been the greatest one day sporting spectacle in the world for decades now. But, only recently has the game lived up to that hype and we are all the beneficiaries of that.
Eli Manning and the Giants came out with a bang. It was like they could do no wrong. The Giants owned the 1st quarter, leading 9-0. The Patriots did mount a drive early in the 2nd quarter but only got a field goal out of it. The Giants seemed to continue their domination of the 1st half, but could not muster any more points. I remember near the end of the 2nd quarter thinking “Wow, the Giants are dominating this game and only up 9-3, I wonder if this will be another Super Bowl XXI.” Well, right after that Brady got started. Tom Brady took the Patriots on a, Super Bowl record-tying, 96 yard drive which culminated in a Patriots touchdown giving them the halftime lead at 10-9 and what seemed like a huge momentum swing.
After M.I.A. flicked the whole world off, the Patriots went on another long drive, 79-yards to be exact, for a score and a commanding 17-9 lead. But, Eli would not let the Patriots run away with this one. While the Giants had just collapsed in back-to-back drives, Eli would then take the Giants offense on two drives ending in 2 field goals and cutting the Patriots lead to 17-15. It would stay this way for a while actually and it quickly became apparent that this was going to come down to the wire.
With 3:46 remaining in the game Eli Manning mounted an 88-yard touchdown drive that would give the Giants a 21-17 lead, after a failed 2-point conversion. But it was the 6-yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw that left everybody scratching their heads. The Patriots defense, in the most obvious way, allowed the Giants the touchdown. Bradshaw had been instructed to kneel down at the 1 to run as much time off the clock as possible. The only problem was he tried to kneel down but all of his weight, most of it in his gut, carried him over the goal line. This all resulting in what was the weirdest looking touchdown ever. Seriously, the man looked like someone had knocked him down with a Taser Gun. Just weird.
With Bradshaw’s goof, the Patriots and Tom Brady were left with 57 seconds left in the game. Time to mount another game-winning drive that has defined this quarterback and team. The only problem? Well, for the first few plays it was Brady’s receivers dropping every single ball like they were in Snoop’s music video. Brady was able to move the ball a little but not enough to make an impact. The last throw coming to a knock-down end. GAME OVER! The New York Football Giants won their 4th Super Bowl and 8th overall NFL Title. Tom Coughlin now securing his future in Canton and Eli Manning almost assuredly will be joining him. Which brings me to my last point.
Just two short months ago, every single Giant fan in the world was screaming for Tom Coughlin’s head. In fact, if it wasn’t for their run at the end of the season, the outcry would have been so loud and strong that Mara & Tisch, very conservative owners (when it comes to hiring/firing head coaches – I mean even Jim Fassel was given 7 years), would have probably had to fire Coughlin whether they wanted to or not just to settle the base down. So, it struck me odd that both Mara and Tisch would proudly spout superlatives about their fan base on the very stand they were handed the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Greatest fans ever! Most loyal fan base! Best fans in the world! Well, I would have to disagree…but even if I’m wrong on that point, what is right is that all of Giants Nation are lucky to have a head coach as good as Coughlin. In fact, they don’t deserve the success that he has brought their franchise. But, Giants fans should enjoy this one. They have now beaten the “best team of the decade” twice now, in the Super Bowl. That should count for something.