Super Bowl 2012: Why New York Giants Receivers Deserve the Credit for Win

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants makes a catch on the sidelines against Sterling Moore #29 of the New England Patriots for a gain of 38 yards in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Over the past two days, the world has been lauding Eli Manning for leading the New York Giants to a comeback win in Super Bowl XLVI.

While the younger Manning certainly deserves some plaudits, the real credit for the victory should go to New York's fantastic receivers.

Manning had to throw the passes on Sunday night, but his trio of wideouts repeatedly made big plays that kept New York's offense going. As far as I'm concerned, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks deserve to share the MVP award from Super Bowl XLVI.

Something tells me Manning would agree with that sentiment.

Cruz caught Manning's first touchdown pass on what was an ill-advised throw for two-yard touchdown. As the second-year receiver made his break on a quick slant, Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was right in the throwing lane. Manning saw his back was turned and attempted to fit the ball in over his shoulder.

Somehow, Cruz kept his concentration and hauled the pass in. 

The UMass product finished the game with four catches for 25 yards, but that touchdown grab might have been the most important play of the first half. It gave the Giants a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, capping off a drive that showed New York could move the ball on New England.

Though Hakeem Nicks didn't score a touchdown, he consistently got open and went up to get balls in traffic. Grabs like this 18-yard reception in traffic were common on the night for the 24-year-old.

He finished Sunday's contest with game highs in catches (10) and receiving yards (109) and was Manning's go-to guy all night long.

Last but certainly not least is Manningham, whose incredible act of sideline wizardry on the game's biggest play almost certainly was the biggest factor in New York's win. The 38-yard reception was the game's longest play and the one people will remember for years. Manningham finished the night with five catches for 73 yards.

Eli Manning had a fantastic game during Sunday night's Super Bowl. And while he deserves a ton of credit for Giants win, people need to recognize just how well his receivers played.