If you paid attention on Friday you would have done like The Peoples Champ and given up the 3 points and taken the G-Men +130 on the money line and been counting your quickly devaluing Greenbacks today. You might also have taken the Giants winning between 4 and 6 points and gotten 5-1 odds on that. Yes, Vegas was giving away free money this weekend folks but beware. Vegas doesn't have all those nice new buildings and shopping malls because they lose more than they win. In other words, be careful out there. It's gonna get ugly for the handicappers.
With that said, after contemplating the game and the post game reactions (including Gisele's tirade) here is what we learned.
1. Eli Manning is officially "The Most Clutch QB in the NFL" right now and on the short list of Greatest Comeback QB'a of All Time. You want to still say silly things like "Eli isn't Elite" and that he turns the ball over too much, had only one very good statistical year, has great receivers, blah blah blah. Fine. There are some statistical proofs one might bring to back up those idiotic claims, but what one can't do is deny Eli's greatness with the game on line. A record 8 Game Winning comeback drives this season and now 2 comebacks on the last possession to win 2 Super Bowls (and MVP awards) affirms this claim. In 8 playoff wins, Eli has gone head to head with Brady twice, Farve and Rodgers on the road, Romo and Matt Ryan (both who just as recently as this preseason were ranked higher than Eli by more than a few talking heads).
The People's Champ has always held the position that Eli is a top flight NFL QB and a great leader of men. Eli just keeps proving the point more and more each year.
2. Justin Tuck is the Eli of Giants defensive players. Before the 2007 Super Bowl, Tuck was considered a very good up and coming defensive lineman. In Super Bowl XLII, Tuck was arguably the MVP; playing one of the great defensive games in Super Bowl history and basically nailing the door shut on the Patriots last drive with a critical sack of Brady. Turn ahead the clock to this year, a very trying regular season for Tuck, who by all accounts had a very disappointing year(mostly due to injuries) until Week 15 when he got healthy and not coincidentally, the Giants D became a championship D. He also played his best game in 5 years in the Super Bowl with 2 sacks, one being the initial safety and the other a sack on Brady on 3rd down which put the Pats in Hail Mary mode.
3. To win a Super Bowl in the "new rules" NFL you need a great QB. I've heard a lot of talk out there that Baltimore and San Fran could have easily been here and were just as good as the Giants or Patriots. Well, you know what? They weren't and as good as Alex Smith was this year and as good as Flacco played the final 3 Quarters against the Patriots, the difference was Manning and Brady. Look at the last 11 years of Super Bowl winners and here's who the QB's are: Brady 3, Eli 2, Big Ben 2, Rodgers, Peyton and Brees 1. Only Brad Johnson and his win in 2002 doesn't belong. In other words, if you want to win a Super, get yourself an Elite QB and your chances go up astronomically. Personally, I thought San Francisco were the best coached and best defensive team I saw all year. Houston was the best all around team I saw in the AFC (I'll give them a pass because they sustained season ending injuries to their QB and best defensive player). The Patriots were mediocre at best sans Brady. They had an awful defense and a pedestrian running game but still Brady put up enough points to win 13 games. Same with the Giants. Their running game was awful. Besides their punter, their Special Teams was anything but special. Their defense was horrible all season until Week 15. Rex freakin Grossman shredded the Giants Defense twice. But they had Eli, who when given the ball 8 times (including the playoffs) losing in the 4th Quarter, he delivered.
4. Tom Brady is still Great. Another idiotic subject of yahoos out there is that Brady is overrated, not clutch and hasn't won anything since spy-gate. While the latter might be true, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SPYGATE. It has to do with the fact that Brady continues to do more with less than any QB in NFL history. The problem with Brady is that he's too good. If Brady was merely mortal and winning 8-10 games a year with this rag tag squad and keeping his untainted 3-0 Super Bowl record, no one would say a peep. The problem is Brady carries teams on his back with no running games, no defense and one good WR (this year he did have the two TE's though). He has carried 3 totally different offensive type teams to Super Bowls (name me one other QB who has come close to that challenge) and if not for a dropped ball made 99 out of 100 times by Welker and The Tyree Catch (which could have been called back for 3 holding penalties and 2 in the grasps calls) he would be the only QB with 5 Super Bowls and Mr. Montana would be know as the Greatest QB who ever lived that wasn't named Tom Brady.
5. Belichek still has it. The legend that is Bill Belichek really began the day the NE Patriots and an unknown QB named Tom Brady upset the Greatest Show on Turf- the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. It was then that Belichek became known as the Master Game Planner- the Genius. Up to that point he had been a great defensive Co-Coordinator and Assistant Coach for the NY Giants and an unsuccessful coach with the Cleveland Browns. What changed that day was Belichek devised a game plan to hit the Rams receivers at the line (negating their huge speed advantage in a timing offensive scheme) and take Marshall Faulk (at the time the greatest fantasy football player of all time and the top offensive player in the NFL) out of the game by having 2-3 guys follow him at all times. NE would go on to win 2 more Super Bowls in the next 3 years and now people were talking about Belichek in the same sentence as Lombardi, Noll, Parcells, etc. All the accolades were deserved. However a funny thing happened along the way. The NFL changed the rules to make it incredibly harder to play certain type of defenses, NE defensive personnel got weaker and Belichek's once great penchant for drafting quality players late in the draft and filling in needs through free agency was waning. Well, he's still got it. As outlined in the Super Bowl preview, the Giants had far more talent. They also have an explosive offense with 2 great WR's and one good one. NE has been the weakest team all year against the pass with the worst secondary in the NFL. So what does Belichek do? He figures out a way to basically take Victor Cruz out of the game, eliminates any big plays by the Giants (except for the unbelievable throw and catch from Eli to Manningham) and then has the cajones to let the Giants score a TD and give Brady a chance with a minute left in the game. I thought this season, from beginning to end was his best job yet.
In the end the Giants are Super Bowl Champions for the second time in five years because they were able to do something no one else can. They figured out how to beat the Patriots. In the two Super Bowl seasons the Patriots were 32-2 against the NFL and 1-3 including two Super Bowl losses to the Giants. Figure out how to beat the Pats and there's a good chance you'll be wearing the ring.