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Super Bowl MVP 2012: Why Giants Punter Deserved the Award

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Steve Weatherford #5 of the New York Giants celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 to win Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Gary DavenportNFL AnalystFebruary 6, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI has now been played, and after the confetti settled over a 21-17 New York Giants victory over the New England Patriots, quarterback Eli Manning was crowned MVP of the NFL's biggest game for the second time.

Manning was effective in the game, completing 30-of-40 passes for 296 yards and a score, but it wasn't his performance that most affected the game.

So who was the MVP you ask?

Not Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who had 10 catches for 109 yards.

And not New York defensive end Justin Tuck, who logged three tackles and recorded two huge sacks.

Nope, the true MVP of Super Bowl XLVI was the last person in the world who will ever be named Super Bowl MVP.

New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford.

Yep, you heard me...the punter.

The seventh-year veteran was called upon to punt four times in a game that was razor close throughout, and while his 35.8-yard average on those punts doesn't leap off the page, his performance leaped off the screen Sunday night.

Three of Weatherford's punts pinned the Patriots inside their 20-yard line, and two pinned them inside the 10, with the first of those leading to the intentional grounding call that put the Giants' first two points on the board.

It's those sorts of plays that alter field position and affect the complexion of a game, that can make all the difference in the world, especially in a close game. And in the biggest game of his life, Steve Weatherford stepped up and delivered one of the finest performances of his career.

MVP indeed.

Well, most valuable punter, anyway.

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