The New England Patriots came into Super Bowl 42 with a chance to do something special, attempting to be only the second team in NFL history to finish a season undefeated. The New York Giants would go on to make their own history that night winning 17-14 and denying the Patriots of their historic moment.
In 2011 Tom Brady and the Patriots would finally get their chance at redemption. But one Eli Manning stood in their way once again.
“Your gonna hear me say this 1000 times, finish, finish, finish”– Tom Coughlin
From early on in August of 2011, the message from Tom Coughlin to his team was simple “Finish”. That’s something the 2010 Giants learned first hand losing 2 of their last 3, and painfully missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. The 2011 New York Giants regular season will forever be known for two things:
Eli Manning stated his claim to being an “Elite” quarterback, on and off the field when asked in a radio interview.
“I consider myself in that class. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, he’s a great player and what you’ve seen with him is he’s gotten better every year. He started off winning championships and I think he’s a better quarterback now than what he was, in all honesty, when he was winning those championships.”– Eli Manning (August 2011)
They will also be remembered for a late-season push, that helped them slip into the playoffs at 9-7. As far as the regular season went, the Giants did indeed “Finish”. New York would make quick and easy work of Atlanta in the Wild Card game 24-2.
Thanks to a Manning “Hail Mary” to Hakeem Nicks right before the end of the first half, The Giants beat the Packers to set up an NFC Championship showdown with the 49ers.
In what can only be described as one of the guttiest performances by a playoff quarterback ever, Eli Manning and the Giants came out on top in Overtime 20-17. Their second super bowl appearance in 4 years was now secured. And a familiar foe would be waiting for them in Indianapolis.
Super Bowl 46:
Super Bowl 46 was a rematch of the New York Giants and New England Patriots. But unlike the 2007 matchup, New York was not a major underdog this time around. The Patriots were still a juggernaut though, finishing the regular season 13-3 while winning 10 of their last 11 games to close the season. The Giants jumped to a 9–0 lead in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI before the Patriots scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17–9 lead in the third quarter.
The Giants prevented the Patriots from scoring again, and with two consecutive New York field goals chipped away New England’s lead, 17–15, late in the third quarter. The Giants capped off an 88-yard drive with running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s 6-yard game-winning touchdown with 57 seconds left in the game.
The highlight of the drive, and maybe the game came on 2nd and 11 from their own 12-yard line when Eli Manning lofted a perfectly thrown ball to the left sideline over two defenders where only Manningham could make a fingertip catch. That 38-yard connection completely swung the momentum of the game and would lead the Giants to their 4th Lombardi trophy. Eli Manning who completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his career.
In the end, an ELI-te QB would go on to top the “Goat” Tom Brady for the 2nd time in 4 years on the sport’s biggest stage.