Why Defense, Not Eli Manning, Is Cornerstone of Giants Dynasty

Wes StueveContributor IIIFebruary 5, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots 21-17 during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Eli Manning certainly played his role in the New York Giants, making it to Super Bowl XLVI, and he won the Super Bowl's MVP award. 

His impact cannot be denied.

But let's not forget why the New York Giants won this game. It's the same reason they beat the New England Patriots four years ago.


Maybe it was offense that got New York this far, but their defense won them the Super Bowl. 

In 2011, the New England Patriots averaged 428 yards and 32.1 points per game. 

In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots gained just 349 yards and scored only 17 points.

I don't need to point out how different these sets of numbers are for you to understand that the New York defense did something right.

To an extent, it was the team's legendary pass rush. Justin Tuck sacked Tom Brady twice, and the star quarterback was under duress on several huge plays.

More importantly, the Giants covered New England's weapons. Wes Welker failed to make much of any impact, and Aaron Hernandez was just good, not great.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after losing to the New York Giants by a score of 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Ezra Sh
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As a result, Tom Brady turned in a somewhat-lackluster performance. Brady's 276 yards were nothing special, and his two touchdowns to one interception is disappointing, to say the least.

We're all used to Brady dominating in the clutch, and both times he's faced the Giants in the Super Bowl, his offensive production has come up well short of the expectations.

The credit/blame for that doesn't fall just with Brady, but also with the Giants defense.

While their defense dominated, New York's offense did nothing special. Their final offensive numbers were around their 2011 average, but they were nothing great. Not good enough to beat the New England Patriots in most games, at least.

Eli Manning played his heart out. He was worthy of the MVP award, and he drove the Giants down the field when in crunch time. It's more than fair to give Manning a lot of credit for this victory; he's the quarterback and he played well.

Just don't forget why the Giants really won this game.