For the second time in four years, the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. They did it in almost the exact same fashion as last time. The Giants won the game with a late fourth quarter touchdown just like they did in Super Bowl XLII.
The Patriots started exactly how they like to start every game. They won the coin toss and chose to kick the ball away. They like to do this because if they kick the ball to start the game then they automatically get the ball to begin the second half. This usually works in their favor because they will score before the half and then get the ball back to begin the second half and score again. That really diminishes their opponent’s confidence and makes it tough to recover from.
The Giants received the ball to start the game but, were shut down by the Patriots’ defense, and were forced to punt. The Giants’ punter, Steve Weatherford, pinned the Patriots back at their own three-yard line with his punt. This was one of the deciding plays of the game because on the very next play the Giants forced Tom Brady into a bad throw. The throw was from the Patriots’ own end zone and because of the “intentional grounding” rule it was ruled a safety. The score was already 2-0 in favor of the Giants. Not only did the Giants receive two points for forcing the safety, they also got the ball right back.
The Giants took full advantage of Tom Brady’s mistake. They drove all the way down the field. They capped their drive off with a two-yard pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. This made the score 9-0 as the first quarter came to an end.
Early in the second quarter the Patriots drove the length of the field but were denied a touchdown by the Giants’ defense and settled for a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. Thirteen minutes later, the Patriots were closing in on the end zone again. Danny Woodhead caught a pass from Tom Brady for a touchdown with eight seconds left in the first half. This made the score 10-9 in favor of the Patriots to end the first half.
The halftime show featured artists such as Madonna, LMFAO, MIA, C-lo brown, and others. The performance garnered a pretty mixed reaction. Many critics felt it was too mashed together and the sound was too cluttered, while others felt that Madonna put on one of the best performances of her career. An obscene gesture rapper MIA gave the audience overshadowed the performances. When she raised her middle finger in the middle of her performance, it cast a shadow on what was a very well-put-together half time show.
The Patriots received the ball to start the second half. They drove all the way down the field and ended their drive with a twelve-yard catch by Aaron Hernandez. This made the score 17-9 in favor of the Patriots early in the third quarter. The two offenses struggled the rest of the third quarter. The Patriots could not get a rhythm going in their offensive attack. The Giants’ only points in the third quarter came after they intercepted a Tom Brady pass, which set up a Lawrence Tynes field goal, and then late in the quarter with another Tynes field goal. This made the score 17-15, Patriots, going into the fourth quarter.
The Patriots had many opportunities to ice the game in the fourth quarter. Late in the quarter with a 17-15 lead, the Patriots had the ball at their own forty-yard line and looked like they were about to seal victory. That’s when the play that changed the whole outcome of the game occurred. Tom Brady took the snap and dropped back to look for an open receiver. He saw all-star wide receiver Wes Welker wide open forty yards down the field with no Giant defender within fifteen feet of him. Tom Brady threw the ball, and it hit Welker in his hands as he dropped the game-sealing pass. The Patriots would then have to punt the ball back to the giants with more than three minutes left and only a two-point lead.
Welker’s dropped pass gave the Giants a breath of fresh air and a second chance. The Giants took full advantage of Welker’s rare mistake. The Giants were driving down the field but weren’t really moving fast enough. The Patriots stopped the Giants twice in a row, which set up a long third down situation. What happened next is maybe the best and most important play in New York Giants history. Eli Manning dropped back to pass on the crucial third down play. He threw the ball to a well-covered Mario Manningham with two Patriots defenders right on him. The ball somehow slipped through the Patriots defenders right into Manningham’s hands, and he somehow kept two feet in bounds to complete the game changing catch. The Giants would go on to score a touchdown on a six-yard Ahmad Bradshaw run with 57 seconds left in the game.
The Patriots could ultimately not recover in time and the Giants won the contest 21-17. Eli Manning would earn his second Super Bowl MVP award and bring the NFL championship back to New York for the second time in four years.