New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17
More often than not it seems that the Super Bowl does not live up to expectations, but this year’s Super Bowl certainly did. It was a great, hard fought game and really one that could have gone either way. I’m happy that the Giants prevailed because they are one of my two favorite teams (Chargers are the other) and I did pick them to win. I found picking games in the playoffs this season vs the spread to be pretty tough. I’m glad I got the Big Game correct. I now regret not going to Vegas and putting some money on the Giants, although I’m not sure I would have been able to watch the 4th quarter of this game if I did.
I was expecting a little more scoring by both teams, but I wasn’t at all surprised that the final margin of victory for the Giants was 4 points. I predicted a Giant win by 3. I thought Eli Manning would be able to throw on the Patriots and he did rack up nearly 300 yards passing, but NE’s defense did play well. Eli really had to thread the needle a few times to complete passes. I also thought RB Ahmad Bradshaw would play a key role and he did, scoring a key TD and generally keeping the Patriot defense honest with his threat to run. The Giants defense did their part too, holding Brady & Co. to 17 points. Each team had a few players that were not 100% due to injury, but I must admit that the Giants were lucky that NE’s star TE Rob Gronkowski was slowed due to a high ankle sprain he suffered in NE’s previous game against the Ravens. Gronkowski was the best TE in the league this season and if he was completely healthy the outcome of this game might have been different. Normally, Gronkowski frequently commands a double team because of his speed, but he clearly was not as mobile as he normally is and that allowed the Giants to single cover him and use another defender elsewhere.
This Super Bowl victory was a great achievement for the entire Giants organization, but it was especially important to Head Coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning because it will probably ensure that both of them are inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame. It will be very interesting to see if the Giants can build upon this victory. Coach Coughlin is committed to returning and Eli is in his prime as a QB, at 31, so it is very possible this Giants team may challenge for more Championships within the next few years. It will tough though because the top 5 or 6 teams are pretty close, but it will be very interesting to see if the G-Men can pull it off.