In what many people feel is the greatest upset in Super Bowl history, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14, their third such championship in the team's storied history. The often maligned Giants quarterback Eli Manning was named Most Valuable Player for his gutty performance down the stretch, directing an exciting fourth quarter drive - reminiscent of Terry Bradshaw, John Elway & Joe Montana - with less than two minutes in the game culminating with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burgess.
Super Bowl 42 was considered a foregone conclusion as the explosive Patriots offense pursued perfection with an 18-0 record. Though their players downplayed the significance, history was in the making: the only team to finish unbeaten was the '72 Miami Dolphins at 17-0. Led by quarterback Tom Brady, who set an NFL single-season record with 50 touchdown passes, wide receiver Randy Moss, who set an NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions & wide receiver Wes Welker, who set a team record with 112 catches, many experts expected a blowout as the team scored an NFL record 551 points during the regular season.
The Giants were a wild card who struggled with adversity all year. They opened the year with two consecutive defeats & nearly lost game three to the Washington Redskins. After they won six straight games, they settled into second place in their division behind the Dallas Cowboys, who were picked to make it to the Super Bowl. At one point, the merciless New York media called for the benching of Manning & resignation of coach Tom Coughlin. in fact, nobody thought they'd make the playoffs, except their players, coaches & personnel.
New York finished the season at 10-6, setting an NFL record by winning 10 games on the road. Improbable playoff wins against Tampa Bay, Dallas & Green Bay gave them an opportunity to do what no one anticipated or believed was possible; in fact, they'd lost earlier in the season to Dallas & Green Bay, which meant they could avenge their loss in game 16, as well, to the Patriots. Though New England won 38-35, many people felt the Giants' competitive showing & season-ending momentum would serve them well in the Super Bowl.
The game turned out to be a defensive struggle, one of the most exciting games in Super Bowl history. Manning led the Giants to a first quarter field goal in the game's opening drive - a drive which lasted nine minutes & fifty nine seconds, an NFL record for an opening drive. Brady maneuvered his team down the field for a first quarter touchdown, giving the Patrots a 7-3 lead which they held onto the fourth quarter. The Giants defense was superb, sacking Brady five times, forcing one fumble & causing him to hurry many of his passes.
Some will call the Patriots season, despite all their records, a colossal failure, as their goal from day one was a Super Bowl ring. The disappointment, frustration & shock will be difficult for them to heal during the months to come. Though not a Giants fan, I was happy to see the home team prevail, as I generally root for the underdog. Also, I think Patriots head coach Bill Belichick deserved to be suspended a few games for cheating at the beginning of the season in what has now become 'spygate,' as they filmed practice sessions of the New York Jets.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.