(Long Island, N.Y.) Four years ago, the New York Giants pulled off perhaps the most improbable Super Bowl win since Joe Namath’s Jets ran off the Orange Bowl field a generation ago. Although the team enjoyed the post-game celebration that evening in Arizona, it had a business-like feel to it and not what one would expect from a winning locker room.
Fast forward to 2012 and once again the Giants ended the New England Patriots’ season in dramatic fashion, but the locker room had a different vibe in Indianapolis. There was a lot more screaming, hugging and even dancing by the men and their families.
Perhaps Tom Coughlin said it best when he was asked how this one compared to the last. “Each one is very unique, and this one is just as exciting,” the Giants head coach commented. “Probably more so because of the kind of year we had. What a wonderful experience it was to see the team come together like they did. Our defense started to play very well, and when the defense played well, we gained some confidence.
“As they say, the rest is history.”
At 7-7, the Giants were not viewed as a playoff contender, let alone a team destined for a world championship. They jelled at just the right time and ran off six consecutive victories when a loss would have meant going home.
They became the first 9-7 team to win a Super Bowl and while records mean very little once you get into the postseason, it does prove that the year has ups and downs and you have to take advantage of every opportunity in front of you. That is exactly what the Giants did.
They were able to get off the mat after losing four straight games in the middle of the season. Eli Manning never wavered from trusting himself and his teammates, even during that rough stretch.
“I still felt confident about the guys we had on the team and that we were going to make a run, and the guys worked hard,” the game MVP said. “We played some tough teams (during the four-games). It wasn’t like we lost to bad teams. We lost to New Orleans; we lost to San Francisco; we lost to Green Bay. It’s tough to beat those teams and the way the schedule went, we had them all three in a row. But our guys kept (their) confidence.”
This win puts Manning in some elite company. He is now the fifth player to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards, joining Joe Montana (who won three) and Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady (two each). He had a solid game in Super Bowl XLVI, going 30-for-40 for 296 yards and one touchdown. Manning put the Giants on his back and led them down the field for the winning score in the final minute, just like he did before.
The Giants seem to have the Patriots’ number and have beaten them in their last three meetings. But this one seemed to finally have the Giants let loose and enjoy it.