#1) The 2007 New York Giants-Road Warriors
The 2006 New York Giants started the season 6-2 but saw all hopes of a postseason dashed as they stumbled toward an 8-8 record to close the season. This led to several lingering questions surrounding the 2007 team.
- Is Eli Manning a Franchise Quarterback?
- Is Tom Coughlin’s coaching style too tough on the team? Should he be fired?
- Will Micheal Strahan come back for one more season?
Hitting the Road
Strahan did indeed come back for one last rodeo, but the Giants started 0-2 after losses to Dallas, and Green Bay. The Giants weren’t in those 2 teams League just… yet. A great 4th quarter comeback against Washington in week 3, sparked a 6-game winning streak for New York. This win would also give birth to the soon-to-be nickname “Road Warriors” as it would be the first of a remarkable 11 consecutive road wins. The Giants were 10-5 Heading into the final game of the regular season, with a Wild Card playoff spot already locked up. Their final regular-season opponent was the 16-0 New England Patriots. Most observers assumed the Giants would sit their starters to avoid injury in a “meaningless” game.
But Tom Coughlin had other ideas. The Giants would go toe to toe with the almighty Patriots, almost ending their perfect regular season, before a late Randy Moss touchdown sealed a 38-35 victory for Brady and Company. But leaving Giants Stadium that Saturday night, New York proved two important things, The Patriots were beatable if you can pressure Tom Brady, and Eli Manning and the Giants were the real deal.
Wild Card Game
The Giants would play the Tampa Bay in the Wild Card game and it would come with plenty of bulletin board material.
“Sometimes Eli just throws some bad balls, I don’t know the reason is for that. He can be had, we know that.”– Ronde Barber – Tampa Bay All Pro Cornerback
Manning would go 20-27 for 185, and 2 Touchdowns in a 24-14 win over the Buccaneers.
How about those Cowboys
Next up was the 13-3 Cowboys in Dallas. Jerry Jones placed NFC Championship tickets in each Cowboys locker before the game. More bulletin board material for an already fired-up Giants team. With 1:51 left in the game, Dallas took over down 21-17. After a few first downs, Romo heaved a desperation pass into the back of the end zone, into double coverage, which was intercepted by Giants cornerback R.W. McQuarters, effectively ending the game, 21–17 Giants.
Plax Owns Harris
The NFC Championship game would take place in a frigid Lambeau field against Brett Favre and a 12-4 Green Bay team. Giants Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress and Eli Manning owned the Packers’ All-Pro Cornerback for most of the game with Plaxico crushing 11 receptions for a 154-yards. In the record-breaking cold, the Giants would pick off Favre twice, including his first pass in overtime, which would set up the Game-Winning 47-yard Field Goal by Kicker Lawerence Tynes. The Giants were now headed to their 2nd Super Bowl in 7 years.
In a rematch from their Regular season finale, the Giants would take on a now 18-0 juggernaut Patriots team. New York headed into the game as one of the biggest underdogs in Super Bowl history. It seemed as if no one believed the “Road Warriors” could win one last game to cap off their unbelievable run. The Giants struck first with a Super Bowl record 10-minute drive that resulted in a field goal. The Patriots would outscore the Giants 14-7 over the next 2 quarters. In the fourth quarter, down 14–10, the Giants started their game-winning drive on their 17-yard line with 2:39 left.
In the drive’s most memorable play, David Tyree would make one of the most remarkable plays in NFL history. On 3rd down Eli Manning miraculously escaped a crumbling pocket to toss a Hail Mary type pass to Tyree, who made a leaping one-handed catch pinning the football with his right hand to the crown of his helmet for a 32-yard first down conversion. After a second first-down conversion by Steve Smith on 3rd and 11, wide receiver Plaxico Burress scored the winning touchdown on a 13-yard reception with 35 seconds remaining. A last-second deep pass from Tom Brady fell to the turf, and history was officially made, by the New York Giants knocking off a team no one thought would lose a game the entire season.
The Road Warriors were now Champions of the World.
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