There are plenty of people talking about the Super Bowl today. I won’t spend much time on it. Congratulations to New York Giants. Once again, they proved that it doesn’t really matter how you start the season. Instead, it matters how you play at the end of the season and through the playoffs. Several weeks ago, the Giants’ season was basically over in Dallas. Dallas had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and Tony Romo was able to hook up with Miles Austin, so the game looked over. They survived, though, which is probably a testament to this team and the New York Giants coaching staff. Somehow, they survived. Their defensive strength has been their defensive line. Yet, down the stretch, I was more impressed with their secondary. Their secondary seemed to make plays all over the field. This is exactly what happened on Sunday. For the most part, the New England Patriots receivers were not running free to the Giants’ secondary.
The ferocious pass rush of the New York Giants was basically neutralized for most of the game. Tom Brady did have time to find receivers. The problem was that his receivers were not open. This is the first time that I really noticed that the New England Patriots truly needed a deep threat, which they didn’t have. They needed Randy Moss. They needed Dante Stallworth. They were unable to stretch the field. For most of this year they were able to produce big plays with their All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately, he was just a shadow of himself with a high ankle sprain. Deion Branch isn’t the player that he was four or five years ago.
There’s going to be a lot of discussion about a pass thrown to Wes Welker late in the fourth quarter which could’ve iced the game. Welker tried to make a spinning catch, but the ball careened off his fingers. The ball appeared to be high and thrown too far to Welker’s outside shoulder. Catchable, but tough. Yet the New England Patriots had several other opportunities that seemed to slip through their fingers. Bradshaw fumbled the ball deep in Giant territory and nobody could jump on the ball. Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez both dropped balls. We can’t forget Brady’s safety at the beginning of the game. What was that? Mayo appeared to have inside leverage on Victor Cruz, but somehow got turned around so that Eli Manning’s missile to Cruz (man, that ball was zipped into a very tight window) almost hit him in the helmet. Had Mayo been watching the quarterback and Cruz, that could have been a pic-6, like James Harrison from a couple of years ago. But that’s the whole deal about these games. There are all of those what-ifs. As a Cowboy fan, I know what ifs up close and personal. The bottom line is the New England Patriots were missing something all year. They seemed to need more offense and a more Raven/Texans-like defense. It seems that Brady needed just a little more help. They needed more running. They needed more something.
Finally, I have watched Eli Manning for his whole career. This year, he showed more patience than I’ve ever seen. Usually, throughout a game, Eli would throw up one or two balls for grabs. Not this year. Not during this playoff run. One of the big knocks on Eli Manning was that he was not that accurate. He threw the ball with great velocity and accuracy on Sunday night. Eli Manning was the reason that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Congratulations to the New York Giants and Super Bowl, MVP, Eli Manning.
Update: I agree with Ron (see the comment section) that the Giants receivers made plays and the Patriot receivers did not. Manningham, Nixon and Cruz when they are on, are great. Remember in the middle of the season there were tons of problems with dropping balls. Somehow they fixed the problem.