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Lynne Firmin

Super Bowl XLVI had all of the qualities that NFL fans hope forin a season finale: Two high-profile quarterbacks competing for thechampionship title for the second time in four years, a persistentunderdog playing with all of its might against an intimidating No.1 seed and a game-deciding final play in a 21-17 Giants win.

The New York Giants stunned everyone in the playoffs when theybeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NFC, the Packers and the49ers, respectively, on their home turf. A team that was 7-7 inDecember had never seen such success in the playoffs. QuarterbackEli Manning entered the big game familiar with Bill Belichick andTom Brady’s game plan.

The quarterbacks were the stars of the show. Both Brady andManning had won an MVP title in the past, and, in this game,neither had lost their touch. Each had a chance to break a SuperBowl record. Manning completed nine consecutive passes to open thegame, which was a first for the Super Bowl. The Giants’ strongstart didn’t stop Brady from breaking two more. The New Orleansnative completed 16 passes in a row, breaking Joe Montana’sprevious record of 13, before he surpassed Kurt Warner’s record formost career passing yards.

Brady and the Patriots’ record-breaking habits did not stop theGiants’ persistent efforts. Perhaps playing on his brother PeytonManning’s home turf brought good luck to Manning, who finished with296 yards and a touchdown. His impressive performance channeledmemories of the Pats’ perfect season that was halted by the Giantsin 2008, but Manning humbly refused to take all the credit.

“This isn’t about one person,” Manning said to the AssociatedPress.

This is about a team coming together.”

The game was a match that consisted of back-and-forth action,with the final result uncertain until the last play of the game.When Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw eased his way into the endzone with just under one minute to go, he intended to stop justshort of the end zone to leave as little time on the clock aspossible for the Patriots. The time that Brady was given was stillnot enough time to pull off a score, though.

“Certainly, it wasn’t one play that was the reason we lost,”Brady said. “Everybody feels they could do a little more.”

The Pats made some critical mistakes throughout the game. Theteam only had possession for one play of the game’s first 12minutes, a play that ended in failure for Brady and two points forthe Giants. Later, the Patriots committed a 12-men-on-the-fieldpenalty, allowing the Giants to turn what would have been a fumbleinto a first down and another three points, which made the score9-0.

The second and third quarters, on the other hand, spotlightedBrady’s ability. He finished the half flawlessly, completing 10 of10 passes on a drive that ended with a touchdown and a lead change.Brady set two records before his 79-yard touchdown pass toHernandez.

Momentum shifted the Giants’ way, however, after another leadchange came from two consecutive New York field goals and a ChaseBlackburn interception. Manning made plays when it mattered, andBrady failed to save his team on the last play of the game, leavingLucas Oil Stadium with its second Super Bowl loss to theGiants.


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