The Giants and their fans, along with countless Patriot-haters, are still beaming in the wake of New York's tremendous upset victory in Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants celebrated today with a festive and congratulatory parade, while general managers and coaches all across the NFL try to figure out where they went wrong. Each team wants to piece together a plan to put them in the Giants' position next year.
Everyone following major professional sports, and the NFL specifically, knows that teams are copycats. Every franchise wants to triumph, and a common mantra is that one achieves success by imitating the successful.
This idea was put into action as teams modeled themselves after the notable 49ers and Cowboys teams of the 1990s. Franchises around the league rushed to replicate the high-powered offensive attacks.
The strategy was also evident after Baltimore won Super Bowl XXXV with a stifling defense led by linebacker Ray Lewis. Teams across both conferences focused on defense, attempting to make it to the top of the league on the back of a stalwart D.
So what is the current trend?
Peyton Manning led his Indianapolis Colts to the title a year ago, taking home the MVP. Eli Manning kept the family tradition alive by repeating the feat with his Giants this year.
"It's obvious that you need a Manning brother to win in the NFL today," noted one GM in an anonymous interview. "Peyton, and now Eli? It's no coincidence."
The odds of honoring two related Super Bowl champions with MVPs are certainly slim, let alone in consecutive years. But just look at how GMs have responded: They are looking to Cooper Manning.
Cooper, the "other" Manning brother, is the oldest of the three. The 31-year-old is part-owner of an energy firm, and is happy with his situation. He did play football in high school and was once an all-state receiver, but was diagnosed with a condition called spinal stenosis—the death knell of his playing days.
One would expect this to divert the GMs’ attentions, but it hasn’t.
"A Manning is a Manning is a Manning," one argued.