By Kali Terry
This year's Super Bowl was completely jaw-dropping - captivating football of heroic proportions down to the very last kneel-down by underdog quarterback Eli Manning that sealed a 17-14 New York Giants victory over the not-so-perfect New England Patriots, in one of the most thrilling upsets in Super Bowl history. This year's Super Bowl was completely jaw-dropping – captivating football of heroic proportions down to the very last kneel-down by underdog quarterback Eli Manning that sealed a 17-14 New York Giants victory over the not-so-perfect New England Patriots, in one of the most thrilling upsets in Super Bowl history.
Photo: Giants celebrate
The competitive chase to become Super Bowl XLII champions between New England's Tom Brady and New York Giants' Eli Manning was similar to the big budget Coca-Cola commercial aired during the game, where the giant inflated baby Stewie and the dog Brian from Family Guy float through New York city in a desperate attempt to catch an over-blown bottle of Coke.
After all the scrambling from the two animated characters in the commercial, it was the unlikely cartoon icon Charlie Brown who seized the bottle of Coke in the end. Like Brown, it was the Giants' wide-receiver David Tyree who emerged miraculously from a pool of patriot defenders with a remarkable helmet catch off a broken scramble pass from Manning that continued the Giants' winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
The play was not only a timeless highlight that I'm sure will we see played back in slow motion to the sound of "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by The Verve for generations to come, but it was a third-down conversion that gave the Giants a fresh set of downs from the Pats' 25-yard-line with a chance to retain the lead with 59 ticks left in the game.
"That play," said defensive end Michael Strahan, "Took a few years off my life."
"I thought the ball fell out," said Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who practically body slammed Tyree to the turf trying to extricate the ball from his helmet lock. "It was a crazy play."
"Crazy" is an adjective better suited to Eli Manning's getaway from a collapsing pocket of Patriots linebackers who had him by the numbers — literally. "Crazy" is a quarterback who is as mobile as a house cat, shaking and scrambling out of duress and heaving a 32-yard floater on the run.
"Superhumanly sensational" more accurately describes the vertical hand-to-helmet catch from Tyree, whose spine looked to have dislodged after being joisted over the knee of Harrison on the ground.
Three plays later, Manning, faced with another third-and-long, executes a 12-yard pass to rookie receiver Steve Smith up the middle, which led to the 13-yard winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left.
The tenacious Giants defense, led by Strahan, defensive end Jason Tuck (5 tackles, 2 sacks) and linebacker Osi Umenyiora, made the Patriots Pro Bowl front line look like second-string 12-cub players. They penetrated, pressured, attacked and abused New England's offensive line to the extent that Tom Brady, sitting on his butt after being knocked down, yelled to the defense to "slow down a little bit."
Slow down they did not. Continue bruising and bombarding Brady, they certainly did.
5 sacks, 10 knockdowns and the lowest amount of points scored all season (14) was the compromise the Giants defenders offered the record-breaking QB and the most potent offense in NFL history.
Brady wasn't the only target.
Running back Laurence Moroney, former Gopher, was held to 36 pitiful yards on 14 carries. Before meeting the Giants, Moroney rushed for nearly 500 yards in the last five games.
Randy Moss was equally contained to a quiet 5 catches for 62-yards, much to the credit of first-year cornerback Corey Webster, who expanded on his already solid season. Remember that Webster is as much responsible as anybody for the G