Super Bowl XLII (also known as Super Bowl 42) seemed to be an easy way for the New England Patriots to breeze through an unequal match-up. The New England Patriots were supposed to win Super Bowl XLII, with many people expected a blowout. Undefeated, the Pats were the 12-point favorite, and they were facing the NFC Wild Card team the New York Giants. The two teams faced a rematch in Super Bowl XLII after their meeting at the end of the 2007 regular season, where the Pats won 38-35. Going into the game, the Patriots were 18-0, and the team featured legendary, top-ranked quarterback Tom Brady and his star receiver Randy Moss. The Giants, led by young quarterback Eli Manning, entered the game with a 13-6 record. Super Bowl XLII’s slogan was “Who wants it more?” — and Eli Manning clearly wanted it more!
Eli and the Giants were clearly hungry to get the victory and break some records in the process. The Giants’ first drive of the game, which included four third-down conversions, 16 plays, and 77 yards, was the longest in Super Bowl history, eating 9 minutes and 59 seconds off the game clock. At the end of the 3rd quarter the Patriots led 7-3. However, in the fourth quarter, there were three lead changes… another Super Bowl record!
Manning proved that there was more than 1 superstar QB on the field. He really stepped up the game in the 4th quarter, opening by hitting an impressive 45-yard pass to Kevin Boss. A few stellar plays later, Manning threw a touchdown pass to David Tyree. The Giants went up 10-7, but there was still plenty of time for the Patriots to come back. With a few minutes remaining in the game, the Pats scored a touchdown. 14-10, Pats. Now, New England was mere minutes from finishing a perfect 19-0 season and winning the Super Bowl.
Giants fans everywhere, cheer-ers for underdog teams, and Patriots haters (let’s face it, Boston has its fair share of anti-Boston fans) watched anxiously. A comeback against the #1 team in the league with so little time left was improbable. Everyone held their breath as the Giants stepped onto the field.
With 2:39 remaining, Eli and his team had a daunting 83 yards to cover. Undaunted, Manning completed pass after pass, and the Giants drove down the field as the clock ticks down. Despite intense pressure from the Pats D, Manning remained cool under pressure. With 1:40 left, the Giants make a clutch 4th and 1 conversion. Fast-forward a few seconds. 1:15 left, it looks like Manning is about to be sacked. He escapes, is almost caught, and somehow escapes the throng of Pats defensive players. How did he get out of there!?! And then, he keeps the magic going… Eli throws a perfect, arching 33-yard, pass to David Tyree. Tyree makes an unbelievably sick catch. WHAT?!! How did they DO that?! The adrenaline is pumping through the stadium and through everyone watching.
45 seconds, 3rd and 11, Giants on the 25. The pressure is intense and the noise in the stadium is deafening. No problem for Manning, who completes a 12-yard pass to Smith, who gets out of bounds. FIRST DOWN!!! 39 seconds remain in Super Bowl XLII, Giants on the 14. Manning lofts a perfect fade to Burress for a touchdown!!!
17-14 Giants!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! In the fourth quarter, Eli’s passing stats were very impressive: he completed 9-for-14 passes for 152 yards and 2 TD passes. EPIC!
The biggest challenge athletes — especially quarterbacks — face on the field is often mental pressure. Manning entered the game as the underdog quarterback… before the game, people couldn’t stop talking about how great Tom Brady was. After the game, people couldn’t stop raving about how amazing Eli Manning is.
To walk onto the field with mere minutes remaining, while millions watch (most of them expecting you to fail) takes guts and focus. To keep those guts and focus as the clock winds down and the Patriots defense is all over you is the hallmark of a superstar. Young, un-phased, strong, accurate, tough…. Eli Manning won the well-earned MVP title. Eli Manning became the second quarterback to throw 2 go-ahead touchdowns in the 4th quarter of a Super Bowl (Joe Montana was the 1st). The Giants became the 1st NFC Wild Card team to ever win the Super Bowl. The Giants finish the season 14-6 and the Patriots 18-1, with their only loss in the big game. Eli Manning and the Giants are what sports legends are all about. David defeats — and stuns — Goliath!