It was another game for the ages as Eli Manning lead the Giants on a late fourth quarter drive to best the New England Patriots 21-17 in the Super Bowl. The game included yet another instant classic catch (unlike David Tyree's miracle catch from the 2008 Super Bowl, the last time these two teams played, this catch was amazing but the throw was even better) by Mario Manningham.
The game started in the most unusual way possible, with a safety. Deadspin reports that a law student named Benjamin Lyons bet a thousand dollars on 50/1 odds that the game would start this way, an insane bet that incredibly worked out. Meanwhile, on the field, the Giants defense played stoutly all game, with Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul having monster games for the G-men on the defensive line.
It was clear the Patriots were hurt by their Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowki's ankle injury. Although he played, he wasn't nearly as effective as he usually is, and in one crucial play, got out jumped for a ball by none other than Chase Blackburn, who was playing 50 yards down the field against one of the best receivers in the game. Gronkowski, at 6-foot-6, makes that catch, or keeps Blackburn from intercepting it, 99 times out of 100. Just not last night. Blackburn came down with the ball, changing the momentum of the game drastically and creating yet another Super Bowl classic play.
At the end of the day, however, it always comes down to the quarterback. Eli Manning has now made a serious case for himself as a Hall of Fame candidate, as did his 65-year old coach, Tom Coughlin. Eli's clutch performances have become routine for the Giants (he threw 15 4th quarter touchdowns this year, an NFL record), and his teammates could not have showered him with more love after the game. The comment that they kept saying was "trust"...they had total trust in him so long as he had the ball with a chance to win at the end of the game.
He's now won one more Super Bowl title, and MVP award, than his brother Peyton. He's only one Super Bowl title removed from the great Tom Brady. His aw-shucks personality and overall pleasant demeanor did not seem like a good fit initially when he was selected the Giants in the draft. His teammates back then, most audibly Tiki Barber, questioned his toughness and his ability to lead a team.
No one is questioning either of those attributes today. Eli Manning has once again made the New York Giants world champs.