The New England Patriots forced a Victor Cruz fumble early in the game as the New York Giants were in the red zone, but the Patriots were flagged for having too many men on the field.
That play could be argued as the turning point in the game because Giants quarterback Eli Manning then capitalized on their new life by threading a touchdown pass to Cruz.
If the Giants didn't score that touchdown early, they might not have won the game later.
A very memorable moment indeed. And there were others.
Manning also directed a touchdown drive with 1:04 left in the game that would eventually prove to be the game-winner.
Giants receiver Mario Manningham made an incredible catch on that touchdown drive that arguably was more impressive than Santonio Holmes' touchdown grab in Super Bowl XLIII.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady directed a 96-yard touchdown drive just before the end of the half to give New England a 10-9 lead.
Brady returned to open the second half with a 79-yard touchdown drive to extend the Patriots' lead to 17-9.
On the Giants' final touchdown drive, running back Ahmad Bradshaw ran up the middle untouched, then attempted to stop at the 1-yard line before his momentum forced him to fall into the end zone with perhaps the most unwanted touchdown by an offense ever.
This game featured many memorable moments. And I've previously written an article about the "Top 10 Most Memorable Super Bowls Ever (with Videos)." So does this Super Bowl crack the top 10 most memorable Super Bowls of all time?
My verdict: no.
While this game had several great moments, the game also was not so great in many ways.
Patriot Receivers Dropped Too Many Passes to Make This a Truly Memorable Game
Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez all dropped catchable passes on the final two Patriot drives near the end of this Super Bowl.
Had they held on, they would have been in a much stronger position to win the game at the end rather than merely praying for a Hail Mary to work.
Dropped passes are anticlimactic, and don't help make the game memorable.
The Hail Mary Fell Harmlessly, Preserving the Final Score
Speaking of the Hail Mary, if the pass was indeed caught by Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski after the initial deflection, this Super Bowl would have indeed cracked the top 10.
Why? That Hail Mary would have changed the outcome on the final play of the game.
But that Hail Mary didn't change the outcome, and the game is not as memorable as a result.
Rob Gronkowski Was a Non-Factor
As expected, Gronkowski's high ankle sprain made him invisible nearly the entire game. As the game progressed, he wasn't even a good decoy, as the Giants didn't bother double-covering him.
"Losing" Gronkowski made the Patriots offense less memorable. While Hernandez stepped up big in Gronkowski's "absence," fans lost the opportunity to watch Gronkowski shake off would-be tacklers after catches.
The Outcome Was Not a Significant Upset
Unlike Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots did not have an undefeated season at stake. In fact, this year they barely made it to the Super Bowl when Baltimore missed an easy field goal in the AFC Championship Game.
The Giants were 6-6 at one point in the regular season and finished 9-7. Their defense improved dramatically in the playoffs and beat both an offensive powerhouse in Green Bay and a defensive juggernaut in San Francisco, so they were neither Cinderella underdogs nor dominant favorites in this Super Bowl.
The Patriots were favored by three points, a slim margin. The Giants won, becoming the first nine-win team to win the Super Bowl. But this was hardly a major upset.
While Super Bowl XLVI had its moments, it does not crack the top 10 most memorable Super Bowls ever.
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