Giants win Super Bowl 21-17 over the Patriots
Published Sunday, February 5, 2012 11:14PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:21AM EDT
The New York Giants won the Super Bowl 21-17 over the New England Patriots in a game that went down to the wire with an unsuccessful Hail Mary pass by Pats quarterback Tom Brady.
The Giants took the lead with less than one minute to go in the game, but the touchdown gave the Patriots time for one final drive down the field.
Ahmad Bradshaw was supposed to stop short of running the ball into the end zone so the Giants could set up a field goal and eat up time.
But he fell backwards into the end zone for the touchdown, giving the Pats 57 seconds to score.
But the drive fell flat and Brady' last-ditch cannon down the field hit a crush of Patriots and Giants in the end zone, bouncing off helmets and falling to the ground.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning took Super Bowl MVP honours, just as he did four years ago when his team beat the Patriots, ruining there perfect season.
"It's been a wild game, a wild season," Manning said after the game. "This isn't about one person. It's about one team, a team coming together."
Manning's big night occurred in Indianapolis, where older brother Peyton has reigned as one of the NFL's all-time greatest quarterbacks.
The Patriots had gone into halftime with a one-point lead after Brady hit Danny Woodhead for a touchdown with eight seconds left in the second quarter.
The Pats then padded their lead early in the game's second half when Brady found Aaron Hernandez in the end zone to cap a 76-yard drive.
But the Giants hipped away at the Patriots' lead in the third quarter, scoring two field goals to pull within 2 points.
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes hit a 38-yard field goal with just under 7 minutes to go in the third quarter and a 33-yarder with just 35 seconds left to bring the score to 17-15 Patriots.
With a minute to go in the game and the Giants at the Patriots' six-yard line, Bradshaw took a handoff from Manning and crouched down as he approached the end zone. Patriots coach Bill Belichick even allowed his defence to let Bradshaw go, hoping a score would give his team enough time to answer. Brackshaw spun around and fell backward, leading to a touchdown, and the Giants failed on their two-point conversion attempt.
"I was yelling to him, 'Don't score, don't score,"' Manning said. "He tried to stop, but he fell into the end zone."
But in the end the Patriots drive ended with Brady walking off the field as the Giants players celebrated.
The Giants had led for much of the first half, having opened the scoring on a strange play that saw Brady called for intentional grounding in the end zone eight minutes into the first quarter. Brady threw the ball away under heavy pressure from Giants lineman Justin Tuck, putting the Giants up 2-0 on the safety.
The Super Bowl has opened scoring on a safety only one other time, back in 1975 when the Steelers beat the Vikings.
Manning then padded the lead by finding Victor Cruz in the end zone with three minutes to go in the quarter.
But the second quarter was all New England, first with a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. Then Brady went 10 for 10 as he led his team down the field and hit Woodhead for a touchdown with eight seconds left in the half.
The 14-play, 96-yard march tied drives in 1986 and 2010 for the longest ever in a Super Bowl.
The halftime score masked a brilliant start by Manning, who went 9 for 9 for 77 yards. He is the first quarterback to open a Super Bowl with nine consecutive completions.
The Pats seemed to get energized by the halftime break, while fans got a show by 50-plus pop icon Madonna. While her back-up dancers were smooth and her show was filled with cameos -- from LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green -- the Material Girl herself seemed unsteady on her stilettos.
Patriots fans got a scare in the fourth quarter when a sack sent Tom Brady to the sidelines favouring his left shoulder, but he remained in the game. The hard hit followed 16 consecutive completions by Brady, which set a Super Bowl record. The previous mark of 13 was held by Brady's idol Joe Montana, set in 1990.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after the game he always felt the big game was within his team's reach.
"What I was concerned with was these guys making their own history," Coughlin said. "This is such a wonderful thing, these guys carving their own history."