The hole was enormous, and the stage could not have possibly been greater. Cringes covered the face of an entire fan base as Ahmad Bradshaw fell awkwardly backwards into the end zone.
The controversial score had two major implications at the time as confusion crept throughout Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.
The New York Giants now led Super Bowl XLVI by a score of 21-17.
But more importantly, the clock stopped.
With 58 seconds and one timeout remaining, Tom Brady had seemingly an eternity to place Ahmad Bradshaw atop SportsCenter’s Worst of the Worst rankings for months to come.
The running lane was so wide, it was apparent the Patriots wanted the Giants to score.
Rarely do we see the defensive strategy made famous by Mike Holmgren executed effectively.
Never, in the history of football, had scoring a touchdown seemed so terrifying.
Now, with the weight of one of America’s most populous and scrutinizing markets on his shoulders, Bradshaw waited nervously to see if his defense could spare him a lifetime of regret.
Ironically enough, it was not the Giants defense, but the Patriots receivers who came to the running back’s rescue.
In the end, it came down to a Hail Mary pass that just barely evaded the outstretched arms of a hobbling Rob Gronkowski.
Again, the season’s final game came down to the final seconds. Once again, it was mere inches that determined the entire outcome.
Ultimately, Super Bowl XLVI will be remembered as a game of “what-ifs.”
What could have cemented Brady’s name next to Montana simply slipped through the fingertips.
What could have been one of the all-time worst plays was instead a Super Bowl clinching touchdown.
The truth is, we will never know what could have been, because it did not happen. We will never know if a healthier Gronkowski or a completed pass to Branch would have made the difference.
But there is one thing we do know...
Ahmad Bradshaw has a few thank-you notes to write.