First off, sending out congratulations to the New York Football Giants. They played as a team and won as a team, beating the team who is best known for playing the best team football in the league. It was truely a Super Win.
So Eli Manning has finally come out of his brother's shadow, and what a time to do it. He isn't Peyton Manning, that is definately for sure. He is his own entity, plays with a different style. Is he better then Peyton Manning? In terms of reading defenses and taking control of games from start to finish, I don't think Eli will ever be that. But he is a great game manager, and in the clutch, does have a tendency to really come through. It's Joe Montana-like. He isn't Joe Montana by a long shot, but it's same ability to throw winning TD's is what Eli Manning has really made a name for himself with his 4th quarter comebacks and 2 minute-drill drives. What Eli did yesterday not even Tom Brady has done in the Superbowl, and that's throw a WINNING TD. That's a lot harder to do then driving down the field for your kicker to make a 40-50 yard kick. You have to give Eli props there, as he has proven that in clutch situations, he can pull it off more then most QB's. I used to doubt to guy, not anymore. I used to think he got lucky, not anymore. Does he benefit from a great team? Sure. What QB who wins a Superbowl doesn't? If you can name one, let me know (and don't say Tom Brady...he had a great defense, 1 year had a great runningback, and has had one of the best offensive lines of all time for practically all his career). Anyways, let's look at what Eli did.
He drove down the field with less then 2 minutes to go and throws a winning TD. He showed great poise and determination by escaping the rush when it seemed he would be sacked in probably THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAY on that drive, probably the entire SB. Oh, he also accounted for 14 of the 17 points the team had, in the 4th quarter. Also, in the beginning of the game, the Giants converted a SB record 4 3rd downs on the first possesion...3 of which were passes from Eli, at least two of them from 6 or more yards to convert. Eli also passed for 13 of the 17 first downs the Giants had. The Giants rushing attack was pretty ineffective, as was the Pats, and in what seemed to be a game favored for Tom Brady because it essentially became the only way to win was to pass, Eli did better except for completion percentage. He led that team to all of it's points, and he deserves every bit of recognition he got with the MVP award. There is no doubt in my mind that he deserves the MVP, I would even go as far to say that he deserved it more then Peyton Manning's MVP in SB41. The offensinve line also did a really excellent job, but giving up 3 sacks does not look too good. Thanks to the Giants D and the rest of the offense, it didn't matter too much, as they only lost 8 total yards. Eli might have had 1 inteception, but there is a definate asterisk next to it, because it was more the fault of the receiver botching the catch, because Eli threw a really nice pass and the receiver just let it bounce off his hands into the defenders'.
Let's look at the Giants defense. They sacked Tom Brady 5 times, and hit him probably 3 times as much. They had him rattled all day long, made him miss throws when receivers ran good routes. And when Tom Brady finally got off a good pass, the receivers were knocked off their routes, messing the timing of the play, and forcing incompletions. Also, when the Giants D forced a fumble, they recovered it. The Pats D did not do that. You could make an arguement that a defensive player should have had the MVP, as this was a defensive game. But the key to the Giants D, is that they played team football. Lots of gang tackling and Jim Johnson's protege, Steve Spagnola, blitz packages galore...this is the model of the Jim Johnson defense, and Spagnola learned from it and applied it. He did an AMAZING job in New York, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's offered a head coaching job somewhere. On a side note, this goes to show yet another example of the class and quality of coaches who come from Andy Reid's coaching tree, which comes from Mike Holmgren, which comes from Bill Walsh. A long line of very detail oriented coaches who are among the best at what they do. Anyways, back to the point in hand. As well as the defense played, there were no true standouts. Justin Tuck had 2 sacks and a FF, but only 4 tackles, 1 assist (5 total). He was a playmaker, but he certainly wasn't a standout. He did an excellent job though. In my opinion, he was the second best player on the field that day. Props to Butler for making a bunch of tackles for his team, which probably saved the Giants from the Pats scoring more points then they did. In a game like this, against a team like the Pats, you need your DB's to make the tackles. Also Pierce, who came in second with 8 tackles, was huge in stopping the Patriots rushing attack. All-in-all though, great team defense.
Defense wins championships, and this year...it truely did. But when considering individual performances, which is what the Superbowl MVP is all about (actually is what all MVP awards are about), Eli truely did shine and it was his day in the spotlight. Pete Prisco was right, Manning was going to the be difference maker in this game, and he was.
Now, let's look at the Patriots. Tom Brady had a decent day, though he only threw 1 td pass. He wasn't able to escape the pressure of the D, and the 5 sacks show for it. Also, their rushing attack was completely nullified...Lawrence Maroney, supposed to be this really really good back, didn't even manage a 3 ypa average. He had 14 carries for 36 yards, and his longest was 9. He had the other Patriots td, but it came on a goalline run, and it took 2 attempts from a yard or less to get it. And he only got this shot because of a pass interference call in the endzone. He was truely ineffective, and I bet the Patriots and their fans are *really* missing Corey Dillion now, because if you remember the last time the Pats were in the SB vs. the Eagles, he completely rolled over that D. Randy Moss was pretty quiet all day, the Giants D covered him nicely, especially when Brady tried one long shot in the final seconds of the game. Who really stood out on the Patriots offense was probably the biggest "Out-Of-Nowhere" WR story of the year, Wes Welker. 11 catches for 103 yards...if he would have had a td catch and the Pats won, he would have been the MVP. It just goes to show how important it is nowadays to have a quick and strong slot receiver who can also play the outside like Welker can. He came up huge today, unfortunately Tom Brady could not do enough to get him the ball a couple more times to make a td. Welker caught a bunch of short passes and a few of them go for more then 10 yards. His agility and speed is something that is rare in a slot receiver, and very valueble to ANY team.
Now, how about that Patriots defense. The secondary, which was the sole reason for 2 of their 3 SB's wins (vs. the Rams and Eagles), completely did something wrong this game. Especially on the Giants final offensive play, Burress completely fooled the Patriots defender and Eli and Plaxico Burress hooked up on what they've been doing for a couple years now, and have become imo the best in the league...fade passes to the corner of the endzone for a jumpball. Take the best of two players abilties to create points. They flopped though, Rodney Harrison had to run all over the place to make tackles...but when it came time to play smart football, the Giants did the right thing and avoided him. He laid some huge hits and played very nicely. Imo, he played the best out of the entire defense. The linebackers played decent, but vs. the quick outside runs of Bradshaw...they were taken advantage of. Also, their coverage skills dropped and Eli's passes over the middle showed that. The defensive line played really good though, not allowing Brandon Jacobs to pound the ball effectively, and getting 3 sacks on Eli. Though not enough team defense was played to stop Eli Manning and the Giants.
You can say what you want about this causing this and that and why things happened, but that's how the game is. You play team football and someone usually has a better performance then the rest. The Giants played better team football during the Superbowl, and Eli had the best performance out of all of them. That's how games are won and lost. Say what want about the defense giving up plays for Eli, but Eli still had to make them. Say what you want about the Patriots not running the ball effectively, the Giants still had to stop them. Team football is what it is always about, and will always be about. Someone usually is a bit better then the rest, that's how football is.
Again, Congratulations to the New York Football Giants. Great win.
Giants Offensive MVP - Eli Manning
Giants Defensive MVP - Justin Tuck
Patriots Offensive MVP - Wes Welker
Patriots Defensive MVP - Rodney Harrison
Superbowl MVP - Eli Manning