Eli by his older, more-famous brother’s off-field drama, by the championship résumé of his counterpart Tom Brady, a quarterback even Joe Montana called the greatest of all time.
- Mike Wise
Super Bowl 2012: Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin survive a tumultuous year to come out on top again
And Coughlin by two men named Bill — Bill Belichick, coaching in his fifth Super Bowl with New England and Bill Parcells, whose colorful New York years included two Lombardi trophies.
But for the second time in five seasons, both remembered that they didn’t have to win five championships or be called the best in their profession; they just needed to win one more football game at the end of another uneven season in which they barely qualified for a playoff berth.
Thirty minutes after the trophy presentation — after Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” morphed strangely into Sinatra’s “New York, New York” from the Lucas Oil Stadium speakers, after the Giants’ stunning defeat of the Patriots for the second time in a Super Bowl — and the odd couple were still standing arm in arm.
Peyton’s kid brother and the oldest coach to win it all — upset champions again.
New York and A Quarterback and Coach It Should Malign No More, 21. New England and The Same Old Crestfallen Pair From Four Years Ago, 17.
“What I was interested in was this team was making history for themselves,” Coughlin said afterward. “I didn’t want to be compared to 2007-2008, but there were a lot of new guys on this team. I thought for these guys to carve their own was important.”
That the Giants did, just as Manning and Coughlin made their own case for Hall of Fame candidacy someday — at the expense of two people already going there.
“I heard, ‘fired,’ or ‘burned at the stake’ a couple of times, but I didn’t pay much attention to it,” said Coughlin, breaking up the postgame news conference with laughter.
Manning, who became the fifth player in the game’s history to win multiple MVP awards after completing all but 10 of his pass attempts and leading another game-winning drive in the final minutes, was overwhelmed his team had pulled it off again.
Super Bowl XLVI, like the Giants’ victory four years ago, even featured a tremendous throw and catch on the final Giants’ drive. No, Mario Manningham pulling the ball in along the left sideline for a 38-yard completion was not David Tyree’s incredible, hold-the-ball-against-his-helmet grab from 2008. But it did the same damage, kick-starting a drive that ended with Ahmad Bradshaw falling into the end zone with less than a minute to go.
Beyond their late-game drops, penalties and missed defensive assignments, this was the worst kind of déjà vu for Brady, Belichick and the Patriots, the absolutely worst, most wrenching way to see your season die. A few minutes left, Manning with the ball and a field of green in front of him.
This was the ending the Patriots had tried to prevent by turning over most of their roster, a late-game loss that furthered the notion that as long as a team makes the playoffs in the NFL it has a chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy.