Giants vs. Patriots: 5 Things We Learned from New York's 21-17 Super Bowl Win

Jeff ShullAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2012

Giants vs. Patriots: 5 Things We Learned from New York's 21-17 Super Bowl Win

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    Unbelievable—just one of the few words to describe the Super Bowl XLVI victory by the New York Giants over the New England Patriots

    There are so many parallels to Super Bowl XLII that featured these two teams I do not know where to begin. 

    It was a low-scoring affair unlike most people expected. It was not a very well-played game by either offense. There are a small number of plays you can point to that changed the outcome. 

    Here are five things we learned from the outcome of Super Bowl XLVI. 

The Patriots Choked

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    As much as you have to give credit to Eli Manning leading the Giants down the field and winning the game at the end, like he did in the previous Super Bowl, New England likely could have ended the game if Wes Welker makes a catch late in the fourth. 

    Some say it is better to be lucky than good, and maybe the Giants were both on this day. Still, 88 yards stood between the Giants and glory, and Eli marched them down to win the game. 

The Mario Manningham Catch Will Stand the Test of Time

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    People still talk about the insane David Tyree catch in Super Bowl XLII, and the play Mario Manningham made on the final Giants drive will be remembered for the next 50 years. 

    He made the most incredible catch up the sideline, amazingly keeping his feet in bounds and holding on to the ball as he hit the ground. 

    Not to mention the throw Eli Manning made to put it in the absolute perfect spot. It was an incredible play and the more we see it the better it will get. 

The Giants Were Better Than 9-7

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    I think it is fairly obvious that the Giants were much better than a 9-7 football team. On top of the injuries they sustained before the season even started, they dealt with a multitude of injuries to key players all year long. 

    Osi Umenyiora missed seven games, Ahmad Bradshaw missed four games, Michael Boley missed two games and wasn't healthy for a couple more and Justin Tuck missed four games and was not really healthy until the second-to-last game of the season. 

    The bottom line is this team got blown out a couple times, lost to teams they shouldn't have but showed their true colors when they got healthy at the end of the season. 

Justin Tuck Could Have Won MVP

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    Many thought Justin Tuck should have won the MVP award with his performance in Super Bowl XLII, and he had a repeat performance in Super Bowl XLVI

    Tuck had two sacks and was responsible for the safety on the Patriots first play of the game. He also had a huge sack on the final drive and rushed Tom Brady's throws on just about every play. 

    Eli Manning certainly deserves the award, but you could have just as easily given it to Tuck. 

Eli Manning Is the Most Clutch Quarterback in the NFL

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    Prior to the 2011 NFL season, Eli Manning put himself in the same class as Tom Brady. Many people scoffed at the idea that Eli is even a top 10 quarterback, let alone top five. 

    Not only did he beat Brady twice in the same season, but he did it with a touchdown drive in the final minutes, making incredible throw after incredible throw. 

    This was the seventh time this season that Eli led the Giants on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.  

    It is also the second time in a Super Bowl that he led his team on a game-winning 80-yard touchdown drive in the final minute. 

    There is no way around it. Eli Manning is the standard when it comes to clutch play.