Print Edition: February 8, 2012
Super Bowl XLVI was everything it was hyped up to be; a close game that came down to the wire, game changing plays and the birth of legacies. In a rematch of Super Bowl 42, the New England Patriots lead by quarterback Tom Brady faced off against Eli Manning and the New York Giants who ruined their perfect season in 2007. Brady, starting his 5th Super Bowl, was looking to earn his 4th Super Bowl title which would put him in a tie with the legendary Joe Montana for most championships. With the win, Brady would surpass Montana for most post-season victories with 17. On the other side, Eli Manning, dubbed as “Peyton’s little brother,” looked to win his second NFL Championship, which would surpass his older brother Peyton and would catapult him into the category of elite quarterbacks.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, it was a repeat of 2007. The Patriots scored right before halftime to go up 10-9 and scored on the opening drive of the second half to go up 17-9. It looked as though the Patriots could put the game out of reach, however, a few three-and-outs caused by the Giants defence allowed their offence to drive down the field and kick field goals to close the gap at 17-15. With less than two minutes to go and the Giants knocking on the Patriots goal line, the Patriots defence allowed the Giants to score which put them up by four and gave Brady and the Patriots offence the ball back with 57 seconds left. However, two drops by receivers Deon Branch and Aaron Hernandez took time off the clock as the Patriots remained on their own 20-yard line. Following a few key completions, including one on fourth and 16, the Patriots had one last chance: a hail-mary pass. Brady took the snap and scrambled around the pocket before launching the ball 50 yards into the end zone. The ball was tipped by the defenders and on its way down was kicked unintentionally upwards by the foot of a Giants defender. Unfortunately for the Patriots, the closest player to the ball, Rob Gronkowski, attempted diving for the ball and the ball kicked up right into his chest and he could not make the play.
It would be a lie to say either quarterback didn’t deserve to win. Brady was 27/41 for 276 yards and two touchdowns while Manning was 30/40 for 296 yards and a touchdown. Brady added to his never ending list of NFL records he holds by breaking two more on Sunday night. He first passed Kurt Warner for most passing yards in the post-season with 1156 yards. Secondly, he broke Joe Montana’s record of 13 straight completions by completing 16 straight passes.
For New England, a team who somehow overcame adversity and made it to the Super Bowl despite having the second worst defence in the league, the loss is more disappointing due to the fact they were playing for the late Myra Kraft, the wife of Patriots owner Bob Kraft. For the Giants, they won their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history and Eli Manning earned his second Super Bowl MVP award. Both teams provided a close, nail biting game, making for great entertainment for even non-football fans. In the end, the Giants outlasted the Patriots by a score of 21-17. At the end of the night, there are 30 other teams in the NFL who would have traded places with the Patriots in a heartbeat; to have a chance at winning the Lombardi trophy with under a minute left to play.