INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – Can you say Deja-vu?
The script for Super Bowl XLVI was eerily similar to the one that played out four years ago in Arizona as Eli Manning did it to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick once again.
The New York Giants pulled off another last minute victory over the New England Patriots to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy with a thrilling 21-17 victory Sunday in Indianapolis.
Mario Manningham channeled his inner David Tyree and made a sensational sideline catch to keep the Giants final drive alive as Manning led the Giants on another game-winning march down the field.
Four years ago, the Giants shocked the world as they ended the Patriots bid for perfection.
This time around – a shock?
Not so much.
But it certainly equaled the drama.
Instead of feeling like a hero, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw appeared riddled with guilt for scoring the potential game winning touchdown with :57 left.
He tried to stop himself from crossing the goal line but gravity and momentum carried him over.
It was the greatest oops that a player could ever dream of – it won the game.
Tom Coughlin wanted the Giants to run off as much time as possible before attempting a go-ahead field goal but Belichick gambled and had his defense make a hole for Bradshaw to run through.
Instead of 3, Coughlin got 6 and the Patriots got the ball back one last time.
Bradshaw appeared to commit the ultimate sin for not going down at the one-yard line because he gave Brady one last shot. He and his teammates held their breath until Brady’s final Hail Mary heave landed on the turf and the clock hit :00.
When the confetti settled all was forgiven and the party was on.
Not that it needed to be.
Coughlin went from almost run out of town – again – to winning his second Super Bowl in four years.
The Giants were dismissed in December at 7-7.
They are now World Champions and the kings of the football universe. From rags to riches in the span of two months.
What a story.
Just like 2007 they proved that anything is possible.
It’s what makes sports so great.
Manning, who completed 30-of-40 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown, passed his older brother Peyton – in his house too – by winning his second ring.
It was also his second Super Bowl MVP which ties him with Brady, Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr. He trails only Joe Montana who has three Super Sunday MVP’s.
Manning is now 8-1 in his last 9 postseason games and 7-1 in postseason games away from home – including 2-0 in the Super Bowl.
Sunday’s win was also the sixth come-from-behind victory for Manning this season.
Brady set a Super Bowl record by completing 16 consecutive passes, which spanned the end of the first half and the start of the third quarter but it wasn’t enough.
It appeared that New England had taken command of the game after erasing a 9-0 first half deficit right before halftime and eventually taking a 17-9 lead in the third quarter.
The Patriots controlled their own destiny late into the fourth quarter until Wes Welker dropped a pass with under 4:30 to play. A reception would have put Brady and the Patriots in field goal range and allowed them to continue to chew clock.
The drop led to a punt.
Then came Manningham’s catch, Manning’s march down field and Bradshaw’s accidental game-winning touchdown.
By the way, who had a safety on an intentional grounding in the end zone for the games first points?
Brady finished 27-of-41 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in dropping his second straight Super Bowl after winning in his first three appearances.
A tip of the cap to the older Manning – Peyton – for staying out of his younger brother’s spotlight. He stole enough headlines with the help of Jim Irsay during the week and no doubt will dominate them this offseason.
As for the other ancillary stuff that surrounded the game – NBC’s production was solid but the halftime show was a dud as were the commercials.
The soundtrack and choreography were great but Madonna was awful.
The lip synching was a train wreck – and blatantly obvious.
M.I.A. flipping the bird during the show will likely make next years halftime show even lamer.
It will be interesting to see what old pop or rock curmudgeons the NFL resurrects in an effort to prevent a repeat a-la what has followed since Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.
Maybe they should scrap the halftime concert all together.
The commercials were a huge disappointment.
They lacked the creativity and comedy of years past – much to the chagrin of the advertisers that shelled out major jack for the time. They also took a back seat to the game.
But then again, isn’t that the way it should be?
As the Giants now prepare for another trip through the Canyon of Heroes, the reality sets in as another football season comes to a close.
All 32 teams are back to square one, undefeated and will now begin the journey all over again to achieve the impossible.
Including the Browns.