It's 3rd down, five yards to go. The Super Bowl's on the line. Eli Manning drops back, dodges a defender, steps up in the pocket, and throws the ball deep.
Finally, the ball ends its descent, landing on the helmet of David Tyree.
A gain of 32 yards and four plays later, Manning throws a strike to Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown. The Giants players and their fans erupt; they have beaten a previously undefeated team and claim the greatest prize in football: the Lombardi Trophy.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and his Patriots sullenly look on. All week they have been told that they are unstoppable and perhaps the best team to ever play the game.
But with the bitter taste of defeat now tarnishing that title, the 18-1 Patriots can only count the days until they get the opportunity to avenge their loss.
Well, that opportunity is now, and New England can either capitalize on it or once again fall to the Big Blue.
In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots will square off against the Giants for the second time in the Super Bowl. The Patriots are supposed to be there after finishing the season at 13-3 and clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Giants, on the other hand, barely made the playoffs and were not expected to go very far. They did, however, easily defeat the Falcons in the Wild Card round, destroy the Packers in the Divisional Round, and win a nailbiter against the 49ers in overtime in the NFC Championship.
Nonetheless, the Patriots will have their hands full with a Giants team that has proven everybody wrong. Brady knows—remembering his team’s loss to the underdog Giants in Super Bowl XLII—that his team needs to give their best effort in order to defeat the Big Blue who embarrassed them four years ago.
"I still can't watch highlights from that game, I think that's just the way it is. You get to the end and we had a great opportunity there and really squandered it because we didn't play our very best,” Brady said.
This guy is desperate to avenge his Super Bowl loss to the Giants, and said that he is going to play “the best game I’ve ever played.”
While Brady and the Patriots are looking at this game as an opportunity for revenge, several Giants players are using that as motivation.
Giants safety Deon Grant said, “They feel like the first Super Bowl we beat them in was a lucky one. That’s the talk, they’re still not giving the Giants their credit. We feel like we have something to go out there and prove.”
Manning, especially, has something to prove in this Super Bowl rematch. In 2008, when he led his team over future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady, he believed that it solidified him as an elite quarterback in the NFL. The media, however, never seemed to give Manning the respect that he deserved.
Now, Manning has the opportunity to prove to the world that he does deserve to be in the same class as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. And this can be achieved by beating Brady in the Super Bowl for a second time.
The Giants, like they were in 2008, are considered the underdogs. Many players, including Osi Umenyiora, believe that the key to winning this game will be to relish the role as they did in the first matchup.
“We’re not a big underdog, but we’re an underdog nonetheless,” Umenyiora said. “They’re a great football team, and most people picking this game are gonna say they’re gonna win, but we know at the end of the day that we’re gonna have to get to him as often as we can if we’re gonna win this football game, and that’s exactly what we plan on doing.”
In 2008, both teams went out and gave it their all. But in the end, the Giants wanted it more, and they took home the Lombardi trophy.
Now, in 2012, the Patriots will look to avenge the game that ended in a crushing defeat, while the Giants will try to once again prove the world wrong.
Tom Brady quotes from espnboston.com
New York Giants quotes from espnnewyork.com