Super Bowl XLVI: The New York Giants' Unsung Heroes
All hail Elite Eli, Tenacious Tuck and 'Mazin Manningham.
But who are the unsung heroes of Super Bowl XLVI?
Winning a Super Bowl is not done by one or two players. It's a collaborative effort in which almost every member of the team has to step up and play their best. It's also a matter of luck and capitalizing on that luck that makes teams champions.
Here's a rundown of the players that didn't make the front (or back) page.
Punter Steve Weatherford
1) Steve Weatherford: Special teams never holds a glorified role but last night, Weatherford put the icing on a delicious cake of a season. The first-year Giants' punter pinned Tom Brady inside his own 20 yard line on every kick, including the first punt of the game where he pinned him so far back that it led to a safety. The only touchback should have been knocked back in but was just out of reach for the coverage team.
LB Chase Blackburn
2) Chase Blackburn: After all we've heard about how good the Patriots' tight ends have been this season, the middle linebacker Blackburn did a hell of a job covering TE Rob Gronkowski late in the game and all the way down the field. While Gronkowski was battling a high-ankle sprain, Blackburn stayed with the play after getting turned around and came up with a key interception.
The Offensive Line
3) The O-Line: This squad is like family. They all know each other's roles and assignments like we know how to get under our siblings' skins. Belichick did a great job of constantly changing his defensive line calls and formations, especially where he placed Vince Wilfork, to try to penetrate and get to Eli. With the exception of a few plays, the Giants' O-line matched up superbly. Guards Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe working with center David Baas did their job in the middle while tackles David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie held down the outside.
4) Wes Welker: Okay, so for Pats fans, he's the loser. But for Giants' fans he dropped that pass that the commentator said he catches 100 out of 100 times. Well, not this time! Late in the game Welker dropped a crucial pass that helped the Giants defense stop the Patriots comeback.
5) Kevin Gilbride: I've never been a big fan of the Giant's offensive coordinator as the becomes too predictable in his play-calling. Like on 3rd down and 8 yards to go in the middle of the game, I know that the screen is coming. But you have to give him props as Eli did. New York fans are always quick to dislike the offensive coordinator but even Eli said after the game that the plays called were what Gilbride called and not what was changed at the line. That being said, Eli's Elite status in 4th quarter comebacks can also be attributed to Gilbride's game plans. Good job.