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Giant Effort – Super Bowl XLII

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The Patriots went 16-0 during the regular season. Then, they went 2-0 in the playoffs, taking their record to an astonishing 18-0 heading into the Super Bowl. They simply could not be stopped in the regular season. Even when it seemed as if the Patriots were going to suffer defeat, Tom Brady and company always came up with a way to win. So, to stop them short of a Super Bowl Championship was always going to take a monumental effort by the opposing team – a Giant effort if you will.  

And that is exactly what we got. Excuse the pun, but New York put up a giant effort on Sunday. No one, myself included, thought that the Giants had any shot of winning the Super Bowl. But they did. This was a modern day David versus Goliath. Like the account in biblical times, Goliath caught one right between the eyes.

Who was David, though? Well, you could argue that the entire Giants team was in some way or other the hero. But in my opinion there were or handful of players who stood out from amongst the crowd - namely Eli Manning. David Tyree, Steve Smith and the whole defensive line.

Eli Manning – Since his debut in the NFL, Eli Manning has seen his fair share of criticism. Besides having his actual performances scrutinized by every “analyst” in the world, Eli Manning has had to deal with the fact that he is Peyton Manning’s little brother. “Will he ever be as good as Peyton?” or “Can he survive living in the shadow of his brother?” has come out of the mouth of every football fan alive. During the playoffs, on Sunday especially, Eli Manning proved that he is a fine player. Hopefully now, everyone will stop criticizing Eli and give him a little credit. After all, he did just win a championship.

David Tyree – He cemented his place in Super Bowl lore with that ridiculous part hand, part helmet catch. Seriously, are you kidding me?!? Even if he had dropped every single pass thrown his way before that, David Tyree sitll would have been one of Sunday’s heroes.

Steve Smith – Steve Smith put out one of those performances that come in under the radar, without which wins turn into a losses. Apart from the final touchdown, Plaxico Burress had a relatively quiet night. So too did Amani Toomer. So, who did Eli rely on in time of need? Steve Smith. Yes, he did have a horrific blunder in the first quarter when he gifted the Patriots a momentum-turning intereption, literally cradling the ball into the hands of the defender. But aside from that, Steve Smith made big plays when the Giants needed it most. He is going to turn into an elite NFL receiver.

The Giants’ D-line – Wow! All I can say is wow! The performances of Strahan, Umeniyora and Tuck were absolutely mind boggling. They sacked Brady 5 times!! Brady had only been sacked 21 times in the 16 regular season games. Apart from the Pats’ early-game and late-game drives, the defensive line was all over Brady. When Strahan and company were not sacking Brady, they were hurrying him and hitting him, making it hard to be accurate. Just ask Randy Moss. He was pretty much a non-factor on Sunday because Brady was hurried so often and had to throw short to Welker and Faulk the majority of the time.

No one, I repeat, no one thought the Giants had a chance of beating the mighty Patriots in the Super Bowl. Congratulations to the New York Giants for a game well played.


Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales at Robbins Sports and Athletics, a premier online resource for Baseball Uniforms, Track Uniforms and Punching Bags.