INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Eli Manning is the undisputed star of the Super Bowl after outshining Tom Brady and leading the New York Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots.
Just as he did four years ago when the Giants ruined New England’s perfect season, Manning guided New York 88 yards to the decisive touchdown Sunday, which the Patriots didn’t contest as Ahmad Bradshaw ran 6 yards with 57 seconds left.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick reasoned the Giants would run the clock down and kick a short field goal, so he gambled by allowing the six points.
The gamble failed.
And now Manning not only has stamped himself as the elite quarterback he claimed to be when the season began – in the same class as Brady – he has beaten the Patriots in two thrilling Super Bowls. The Giants (13-7), who stood 7-7 in mid-December, are now on top of American football, and Manning owns two Super Bowl MVP awards, the same number as Brady.
“It’s been a wild game, a wild season,’’ Manning said. “This isn’t about one person. It’s about one team, a team coming together.’’
Manning led six comeback victories during the season and set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He showed that brilliance in the clutch on the winning drive. He completed five passes, including a sensational 38-yard sideline catch by Mario Manningham to open the drive.
On second down at the Patriots 6 and with only one timeout remaining, Belichick had his defense stand up as Bradshaw took the handoff. Bradshaw thought about stopping short of the end zone, then tumbled over the line untouched.