He had to win one game as he did four years ago, coming from behind in the final minutes. He had to be as resourceful, calm and clutch, as he was four years ago on his team’s final possession.
And in a season of bolstered quarterback legacies, of obliterated passing records, of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees and Brady, the one standing last on the podium with the confetti strewn about was again Eli, now with one more Super Bowl ring than Peyton, his Giants a stunning 2-0 against the favored Patriots in February.
“I’m just happy for the guys,” he said. “I’m happy for everyone in the organization, Coach Coughlin, all of my coaches, all of the players getting a chance to win the Super Bowl. Some of these guys are getting their first one. I feel great for them. I feel great for everybody.”
Beneath Brady’s carefree demeanor all week was the serrated edge of a champion who had one taken away four years ago. After it happened again — and Brady was outplayed in the final minutes by Eli — he was as reflective as he was crushed.
“I’d love to come back to this game and have another shot after doing it five times in the last 10 years,” he said, ruefully. “It’s better than sitting at home and watching it, that’s for sure.”
Unlike 2008, Brady had nearly a minute left after Bradshaw committed a gaffe by failing to kneel short of the end zone so the Giants could kick a game-winning field goal. After a couple of drops, Brady lofted a Hail Mary pass that dribbled harmlessly away from Patriots tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on the game’s last play.
As the Giants swarmed the field, as the old coach and Peyton’s kid brother were left standing with the trophy again despite the great history of their counterparts on the sideline and the field, clarity took over:
It had miraculously happened. Again.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.