American Football: 'Accidental' score fails to stop Giants

Manning the hero as New York win Super Bowl despite running in a late touchdown in error

Washington DC

It was a tragedy only for the New England Patriots, and anything but a farce. But Super Bowl history has repeated itself, and in the space of just four years. The Patriots usually beat anyone in the National Football League's supreme showcase event. Anyone, that is, except the New York Giants.

In 2008, the Giants eked out a 17-14 win, to deprive their overwhelmingly favoured opponents of a perfect season. On Sunday night in the Lucas Oil stadium in Indianopolis, the Patriots were only the narrowest of favourites, but in virtually every other respect the story was the same.

Once again the Giants mounted a long drive, featuring a near-impossible catch, for a last-minute touchdown. Once again, they secured a razor-thin victory, this time by 21-17. And once again, in the duel that matters most, at the climax of the most important game of the season, the sometimes belittled Eli Manning bested the Patriots' Tom Brady, generally regarded as the pre-eminent quarterback of his era.

After a shaky start, in which he was forced to give up a two-point safety the first time he touched the ball, Brady settled into his rhythm, and at one point threw a Super Bowl-record 16 consecutive completions. And when New England scored touchdowns just before and immediately after half-time to take a 17-9 lead, they seemed about to take command. But they never quite did.

Their suspect defence did thereafter hold the Giants to two field goals in the third quarter, but each time the Patriots had the ball back, something happened: a fumble, a botched reception, or a brilliant defensive play by their opponents. Then, with New England clinging to a 17-15 advantage, came the final enthralling minutes.

With three minutes and 36 seconds remaining, the Giants embarked on a final drive, as Manning hurled the ball high and leftward. Racing just inside the left field line, receiver Mario Manningham evaded the attentions of two Patriots players, and leapt to haul in a 38-yard reception, somehow coming to earth with both feet safely within bounds. Manning kept up the drive, comfortably but deliberately in no hurry, in order to eat up the remaining time and clinch a one-point victory with a routine field goal that left the Patriots no time to respond. But the mathematics didn't quite work out.

In perhaps the weirdest winning touchdown in Super Bowl history, the Patriots' defence intentionally opened to allow Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw to score on a six-yard run which he tried to abort, but could not prevent his momentum carrying him across an unguarded line.

"I was yelling to him, 'Don't score, don't score'," Manning said. "He tried to stop, but he fell into the end zone." The touchdown gave New York a four-point lead. However, it gave the ball back to the Patriots, and Brady a chance to work his magic in the 57 seconds left. Had he done so, Bradshaw's touchdown would been a disastrous mistake.

For once, however, Brady came up short. The drive stuttered, and his final Hail Mary pass from 49 yards out soared into the sky only to escape the hands of his own tight end Rob Gronkowski, to fall incomplete. Super Bowl XLVI was over. The Giants had proved once again, when it really counts, they have the Patriots' number, and Eli Manning had surely escaped the shadow of his elder brother, Peyton. For the second time he was named a Super Bowl most valuable player, lifting him into an elite group of five multiple winners that also happens to include a certain Tom Brady.

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
football
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century