American Football: 'Greatest Super Bowl play' by Manning ends Patriots' dream

On one level, it could be argued that the New England Patriots, poised on the threshold of sporting immortality, folded when it really mattered, but that would be to give scant credit to the New York Giants, whose 17-14 triumph here on Sunday night is probably the biggest Super Bowl upset since those other New Yorkers, Joe Namath's Jets, surprised the Baltimore Colts 39 years ago.

Had the Patriots prevailed, they would have become only the second team in history to complete a perfect unbeaten season, following the Miami Dolphins of 1972. They would also have been confirmed as one of the great teams of all time, with their fourth triumph in seven years. Instead, their coach Bill Belichick was upstaged by his rival Tom Coughlin, who had never coached in a championship game. Perhaps even more surprisingly New England's quarterback, Tom Brady, who rewrote the record books this season, was eclipsed by Eli Manning, who had committed more interceptions and turnovers than any other quarterback in the NFL this season.

It was fairytale stuff, and just to confirm the sense of the surreal, Eli was duly named the game's Most Valuable Player, following in the footsteps of his older brother Peyton, who won the trophy with the Indianapolis Colts last season.

There is no doubt that the younger Manning deserves his moment. Despite playing probably his worst game of the season, it seemed that Brady had finally managed to put the Patriots in charge when his touchdown pass to Randy Moss gave New England a 14-10 lead with less than three minutes remaining.

Manning then engineered one of the great Super Bowl drives. With his brother in the stands and, like everyone else in the stadium, on his feet, Eli pulled off a remarkable play.

Despite Patriot defenders grabbing his shirt and threatening to knock him down, Manning somehow made space and threw the ball to receiver David Tyree.

Tyree, who had earlier caught a touchdown to put his side 10-7 ahead, made the catch of his career, hanging on to the ball while it was balanced on his helmet and with two Patriot defenders wrapped around him. "That might be one of the greatest plays of all time in the Super Bowl," said Coughlin.

Moments later, with only 35 seconds remaining, Manning completed the job with a 13-yard touchdown to Plaxico Burress.

New York's defence made Brady's life a misery throughout, forcing him to throw before he was ready, sacking him five times, and knocking him to the ground.

As a result, the ice-cool pass-master had his worst game of the season. "We knew we had to get to Brady," said the 15-year veteran defensive end Michael Strahan. "Everyone has a plan for getting to the quarterback and ours was to punch him in the mouth."

So the Patriots' season ends in frustration. "No one expected us to win," crowed Strahan. "I know. I've got a TV."

Only two teams have gone into the Super Bowl as bigger underdogs than this season's New York Giants - New York Jets in 1969 and New England Patriots in 2001

1969: Orange Bowl, Miami. New York Jets 16 Baltimore Ravens 7

MVP Joe Namath.

The New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath "guaranteed" victory on the Thursday before the game, then went out and led the AFL to its first Super Bowl victory, over a Baltimore team that had lost only once in 16 games all season. Namath completed 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards and directed a steady attack that dominated the NFL champions after the Jets' defense had intercepted the Colts quarterback Earl Morrall three times in the first half.

2002: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans. New England Patriots 20 St Louis Rams 17

MVP Tom Brady

Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal as time expired gave the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl title - the first time in Super Bowl history the game had been won on the final play. The Rams outgained the Patriots 427-267 in total yards, but the Patriots forced three turnovers, which resulted in 17 points, while committing no turnovers. A Rams touchdown tied the game at 17-17 with 1min 30sec left. Operating without any timeouts, Tom Brady completed three short passes to J.R. Redmond to reach the Patriots' 41 with 33 seconds left. After an imcompletion, Brady completed 23- and 16-yard passes to Troy Brown and Jermaine Wiggins, respectively, to reach the Rams' 30, and then spiked the ball with seven seconds remaining, leaving Viniateri to kick for glory.


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teacher requi...

Deputy Head of Science

£36000 - £60000 per annum: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client are a we...

IT Teacher

£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London