GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The Giants had the perfect answer for the
suddenly imperfect Patriots: a big, bad defense and an improbable
comeback led by their own Mr. Cool quarterback, Eli Manning.
In one of football's biggest shockers, New York shattered New
England's unbeaten season as Manning hit Plaxico Burress on a
13-yard fade with 35 seconds left in the Super Bowl. Sunday's 17-14
win was the Giants' 11th straight on the road, and the first time
the Patriots tasted defeat in more than a year.
It was the most bitter of losses, too, because New England
(18-1) was one play from winning, but its defense couldn't stop a
12-play, 83-yard drive that featured a spectacular leaping catch by
David Tyree, who scored New York's first touchdown.
Tom Brady, the league's Most Valuable Player and winner of his
first three Super Bowls, was battered all game. He was sacked five
times, hurried a dozen more, and at one point wound up on his
knees, his hands on his hips following one of many poor throws.
Hardly a familiar position for the record-setting quarterback.
And a totally strange outcome for a team that seemed destined for
Oddly, it was a loss to the Patriots that sparked New York's
stunning run to its third Super Bowl and sixth NFL title. New
England won 38-35 in Week 17 as the Patriots became the first team
since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go spotless through the regular
season. But by playing hard in a meaningless game for them, the
Giants gained something of a swagger.
Their growing confidence carried them through playoff victories
at Tampa, Dallas and Green Bay, and then past the mightiest
opponent of all.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)