Nine Observations About Super Bowl XLVI

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1) Tom Brady’s performance during the drive to end the first half was one of the greatest single drives I’ve ever seen.  He was throwing darts to his receivers, brilliantly read the defense and called the right plays, managed the clock impeccably, and again proved what a great quarterback he is.

2) It seemed really strange that the New England Patriots were winning 10-9 after the first half, as they were very much outplayed by the New York Giants.  Just goes to show you that ultimately the only thing that counts is the final score.

3) The key moment in the game, in my opinion, was the Victor Cruz fumble being nullified by the Patriots having 12 men on the field.  The Giants went on to score, and momentum shifted. The Pats might have been able to ice the game had the fumble recovery been counted.

4) Does Eli Manning ever get nervous?  He is as calm, cool, and collected as any quarterback I have seen in recent memory.

5) I’ve seen different reports on the Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown.  Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said that he had instructed Bradshaw not to score, take time off the clock, and attempt to kick a winning field goal.  Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he didn’t.  If he was instructed not to score, it seems that he should have been able to plan to stop before the goal line; if he wasn’t, that’s a big goof on the Giants part–and they were lucky to escape with a win, as Brady could have marched the team down the field for a game winning score with 57 seconds left and one time out.  The gods were clearly looking out for the Giants in this game.

6) I think the hit on the left shoulder that Brady took at the end of the third quarter clearly upset his fourth quarter performance.  You could see he was struggling, especially on the interception that he underthrew.  And Wes Welker should have caught that pass on the drive that could have clinched the victory for the Pats, but even that one was not thrown very well.

7) Could anyone ever have guessed that the Patriots first score would be a safety?  Apparently one person did–and won $50,000 by placing such a bet!

8) That was a tremendous catch by Mario Manningham, and his ability to get two feet inbounds on the play was remarkable.  And I don’t want to take away anything from his effort.  But truthfully there have been several better and more exciting catches in Super Bowl history.  You wouldn’t have known it from all of the praise he has been getting.

9) It’s interesting how one game can define a player.  Had Eli Manning lost this game, the pundits would be saying that Manning is still a notch below the elite class of quarterbacks in the league (Brady, Rogers, Brees).  Now that he won his second Super Bowl, people have him going to the Hall of Fame