Eli Manning and Giants Pull Off Super Shock

Style News Wire | 2/7/2008, 3:41 p.m.
Maybe you can’t win ‘em all. Maybe a perfect 19-0 season will never be beseeched upon in the NFL.

Maybe a perfect 19-0 season will never be beseeched upon in the NFL.

The New England Patriots came into Super Bowl Sunday against the New York Giants boasting the league’s MVP (QB Tom Brady, who threw for a league record 50 TDs in 2007), the best wide receiver (Randy Moss, who caught a league record 23 TDs), the Coach of the Year (3-time Super Bowl champion Bill Bellichek), the league’s highest scoring offense in its history, an 18-0 perfect record, and the weight of the world on their shoulders.

By the end of Super Bowl XLII, Brady and the Pats felt every bit of the weight of the Giants defensive line.

New York’s defense kept the dynamic Patriots offense to only 14 points (about 20 short of its season-average), which gave Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense enough wiggle room to put up 17 points to pull off the huge upset.

Manning captured the game’s MVP trophy (throwing for 255 yards on 19-34 passing and two touchdown passes) only one year after older brother Peyton defeated the Chicago Bears and was named Super Bowl XLI MVP.

But it was the way Manning won the game (and how his defense beat up Brady) that was the super story of Super Sunday. Eli calmly led long drives, including the game-winning drive, and rarely made mistakes. His lone interception came after a ball bounced off the hands of rookie Steve Smith, not really Eli’s fault.

His first touchdown pass came on a five-yard strike to wide receiver David Tyree to put the Giants up 10-7 in the third quarter after they had struggled to put points up after a field goal in the game’s opening possession. That score put a lot of pressure on New England’s struggling offense, but not close to as much pressure as the New York defense put on the all-world Brady.

All season long, Tom Brady has stood behind his All-Pro offensive line and picked apart defenses. If they blitzed, he killed them softly. If they didn’t blitz, he killed them quickly. All defenses, just like every team as a whole, faced the same result: a loss.

But the Giants got to Brady on almost every play on Sunday, more so than what they did in the two teams’ last meeting in week 17. The Giants registered five sacks against Brady, and hit him even when he got the ball out, forcing the MVP to force throws he would normally hit with amazing accuracy.

So, as it stands the New York Giants are the best team in football, which no one would have predicted, what with an up-and-down quarterback and team chemistry that didn’t exactly scream “harmony”.

And the New England Patriots stand as the greatest team not to win a Super Bowl, and heartbroken over their missed opportunity. But what must hurt most is once again having their season ended by a Manning.