In honor of Super Bowl LVII, the Voice presents a look into pat Super Bowl coverage by 2013 Sports Editor Julie Kendall.
The New York Giants took home the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, earning a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. They pulled off the upset with a fourth-quarter comeback that in many ways mirrored the last championship matchup between these two teams in Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants were led by Eli Manning, whose second Super Bowl ring and MVP award won against the Patriots solidifies his status as an elite quarterback. Before the start of the 2011 season, Manning said that he considered himself to be in the same class as New England quarterback Tom Brady. His comments sparked skepticism as to whether he could live up to the legacies of Brady and his older brother Peyton. Eli now owns twice as many Super Bowl rings as his brother, and only one fewer than Brady, who has made five appearances in the National Championship.
Despite Manning and the Giants’ victory over New England in Super Bowl XLII and again this year during the regular season, the Giants were considered underdogs of this year’s matchup. They finished the regular season with only a 9-7 regular-season record. In comparison, the Patriots went 13-3, and won 10 straight games since they last played the Giants in November.
The Giants dominated in many respects in the first half, capitalizing off of the Patriots’ early mistakes. They scored first on a safety when Brady committed an intentional grounding penalty in his own end zone. A fumble by New York on the next drive should have given the Patriots possession, but was negated when the Patriots’ defense was flagged for twelve men on the field, allowing another series that ended with a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. The Patriots recovered with two scoring drives in the second quarter, putting them in the lead 10-9 at halftime.
New England started off the second half with a touchdown drive, and was able to hold the Giants to just two field goals in the third quarter.
Down by two throughout most of the fourth quarter, Manning led his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season, driving his offense 88 yards downfield in less than three minutes. A highlight 38-yard sideline reception by Mario Manningham, in addition to key completions by Hakeem Nicks and rushes by Ahmad Bradshaw helped set the Giants up to score from within the 10-yard-line.
The game-winning touchdown resulted from a failed strategic gamble on the part of Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick. Reasoning that the Giants had planned on running out the clock and kicking a short field goal to win the game, he had his defense stand up and allow Bradshaw a rushing touchdown so that his team could get possession with less than a minute on the game clock.
The Patriots were unable to answer the score, and with a final Hail Mary pass falling just out of reach of tight end Rob Gronkowski in the end zone, the underdogs had once again defeated the big dogs.
Manning just barely topped Brady in the statistics, finishing 30-for-40 with 296 passing yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. Brady went 27-for-41 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Despite their effort and lead throughout much of the game, the Patriots’ late-game defensive risk combined with their failure to capitalize on offensive opportunities cost them the championship.
The Giants celebrated their victory in Indianapolis before heading back to New York on Tuesday where a parade was held in their honor. Both Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin plan to return to the team next season, in addition to many of the team’s starters still under contract. They will look again to be formidable contenders in the next season.