Eli Manning, Giants Win 2012 Super Bowl

Feb 06, 2012

History repeated itself on Sunday night as Eli Manning and the New York Giants found another last-minute drive for a game-winning touchdown and Super Bowl win against the Patriots.

Post columnist Sally Jenkins took reader questions about the game. For more Super Bowl reading, check out her column for last week on the buried toughness inside this boyish-looking character."

Sally is experiencing technical problems, but should be here to start the chat in a moment. 

Hi folks, sorry to be late, it was technological.

[From The Post staff]: How do you react to Giselle Bundchen's reported reaction after the game? 

 

“You [have] to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she replied (via TheInsider.com). “My husband cannot [bleeping] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

 

 

Not pretty, if that was really her. 

That by the transitive property the Giants Super Bowl win means that the Washington Redskins are the best team in football. After all, the Skins twice beat the supposed "world champions" this year, and handily. Giants fans are delusional if they think they're the best.

Hi Dan, nice to hear from you.

First, the post needs to fix the chat feature so we can see that you are having a chat sometime before the chat. What did you think about the choice to try (even if it didn't quite work) to not score by the Giants and go for the last second field goal. As both conference championship games proved, that's not a sure fire thing. Why not try for the touchdown and trust that your Defense, which had been pretty effective could keep Brady from doing a 60 second scoring drive (which they did end up doing anyways).

See, I don't think you take sure points off the board. If Bradshaw lays down on the one, it still leaves an awful lot in doubt. Funny things and weird mistakes can happen in the pressure of the moment -- as Bradshaw proved with baby-falling-on-its-butt touchdown. To me, the TD gave them a four point cushion and that means Brady has to go the length of the field for a TD, it's not enough to get a crack at a field goal. I just don't think you ever take six sure points off the board. But maybe that's just my view from the top of Idiot Hill.

How outrageous is it that a region that has won 3 superbowls, 2 World Series, a Stanley Cup, and an NBA championship is getting their knickers in a twist over this loss.

Sort of spoiled aren't they, the Beantowners? They should try being Washingtonians for a week.

Post commenter zipflock echoes some common sentiment that the Giants were not the best team in the NFL this season: 

"It takes nothing away from the Giants' great late season play, or Eli's brilliant fourth-quarter-come-from-behind record of astounding victories to say that the playoff system is nothing more than a scam to make more money for the billionaire team owners and to give the fans more bread, circuses, and inducements to buy more beer and cars. The best teams ought to be accounted the ones with the best full-season records, not the Superbowl winners. The latter is a freak, however exciting, and however much I love the Giants."

See, I thought the Giants looked strong all season even in some of their losses, and that the result DID reflect the best teams. This will sound counterintuitive, but every guy in the NFL will tell you the best teams are the ones who took a couple of tough losses. Losses make you better, you self examine, correct mistakes, shake off any complacency. The Giants were absolutely the toughest team in football down the stretch. Don't forget, they led the league all season in big plays, statistically. They have been lethal all along, even if they had some weeks where they paced themselves.

Hi Sally, When I saw the late flag after Brady tossed ball down the middle of the field and then was hit I thought the call was going to be late hit and ruffing the passer. It seems in current version of NFL there are hardly any intentional grounding calls did this call surprise you?

I was absolutely stunned by that call and said out loud as soon as it happened that those two points could be the deciders. Think about the difference it might have made to the Patriots if they are driving for a game winning field goal instead of needing a TD at the end. Maybe Welker and Branch catch those balls instead of turning upfield too quickly, thinking they needed to get extra yards. 

Sally - can you comment on the close of the federal probe of Lance Armstrong? Does the prosecutors decision suggest to you that Lance was telling the truth? Of course the recent decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to strip Alberto Contador of his title seems troubling - especially in light of the Washington Post story claiming that other athletes have tested positive for Clenbuterol after "eating meat containing what the Chinese call “lean meat powder."

I'd be happy to swerve out the lane briefly and address this. Obviously, the U.S. attorney in L.A. decided there was no evidence. Which is stunning after two years and several trips to Europe and all of the leaked dramatic headlines that then turned out to be garbage. For the most fair coverage of the entire affair, back read Amy Shipley's stories in the Washington Post, especially the one in which she debunked the idea that there was a positive drug test cover up in Switzerland. Obviously the prosecutor looked at the evidence instead of the headlines. On Contador, I read an egregiously dumb quote this morning that seems to sum up the WADA system of justice. Nobody knows how the traces of clenbuterol got into Contador, nor could they have been "performance enhancing" in a stage of the Tour de France. Yet he is banned for two years and stripped because, as one official said, "There was no reason to exonerate the athlete, so the sanction is two years." It's Orwellian. He was guilty of not being able to prove his non-guilt.

Is their a gentlemen's agreement with NFL that the media won't even mention Spygate? I found listening to the pregame, game and post game commentary that it was quickly spoken of and the coverage moved on. I find this really crazy. The NFL didn't do the Patriots any favor by destroying the evidence and it seems to be a plan of if we never mention it, fans will move on.. This will hang over the Patriots for quite awhile.

Spygate was aways overblown to me. Coaches are all super paranoid. Besides, it would have been a serious injustice to the 50 players or so who weren't even on the Patriots roster when Spygate happened.

Does Eli's victory help him come out of Peyton's shadow a little? I couldn't help but notice all of the comparisons my friends were making between Eli and Peyton last night before, during and after the game.

I should think it puts him squarely in the sunlight as a great player, with his own distinct style and personality. It's fascinating the ways in which Eli differs from Peyton. He's incredibly secure in who he is, according to his father,who I talked to last week. Archie feared that Eli was in the shadow of both of his older brothers growing up. Also, Archie Manning had been traded to Houston and then Minnesota when Eli was a smal boy and so he was home a little less for Eli. So Archie also wondered if that might affect Eli. But he turned out to be incredibly self reliant and self contained as an athlete. I remember when Eli was a rookie and came to New York everyone feared he might struggle with the whole city thing, and the pressure. Peyton actually said to me something like, "I can help him with football, but I can't help him with that New York thing." Turns out Eli didn't need any help. He actually thrives in the pressured atmosphere. I think he knows he handles pressure better than most people.

Post commenter MarkDaniel margues that the media is overplaying Eli and the Giants offense's role in the win, making these three points -- agree or disagree?

"First of all, this victory wasn't "stunning" ...

"Second, the Giants DEFENSE is what won this game. For the 2nd time in 2 super bowls, the Patriots were held to a season low in points by the Giants defense. I don't think the word 'defense' even made it into this column. 

"Third, the Patriots allowed 21 points. That's about the seasonal average for the Patriots D in a season in which they played a bunch of lousy teams. The Giants offense did no better than average."

I agree with a good part of that but not the final sentence. Even Eli Manning would tell you they relied heavily on their D. And when Brady was asked before the game who he hoped would have a career best performance, he named Wilfork, which suggests he too understood the Ds might be the real difference makers. But here's the thing. It was a very big part of the Giants' O that their line protected Eli as well as it did. Also, did you see them mowing down the Pats as they ran the ball? Finally, Eli's completion numbers were just outstanding. So a lot that went into the offensive performance and I would say while he's right that the Ds were crucial, it's an overstatement to say that Manning and the O didn't have a pretty great game. I don't care what D you are playing, to be as precise as Manning was in a big game like that was a very difficult thing to do and a HUGE factor in the win.

Phenomenal, and almost MVP-worthy in itself.

TOTALLY agree -- it was phenomenal, put the Pats behind the eightbal all night long. And nobody really pointed it out. Special teams made life a lot easier for the Giants D, and contributed to that critical safety. Just imagine if Brady could have started at the 20 and gotten into the kind of rhythm he got into later in the first half. Whole different game perhaps.

Obviously, to succeed in today's NFL you need someone who has the blood of a Manning coursing through his veins. Does this up the need to trade for Peyton now, or should we just steal a Manning bassinet>

It's interesting, isn't? But maybe the secret isn't just being a Manning. I wonder if the coaches at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans get enough credit. The Manning juggernaut surely has as much to do with the athletic training they got there as it does with Archie Manning. Read Michael Lewis, another Isidore Newman grad, on the quality of coachng they received there. And you can also read about it in the book I did with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy last year. Sean Tuohy, who still holds the all time record for basketball assists in the Southeastern Conference, was another Isidore Newman grad, and his father coached there. 

So Sally, Rob Gronkowski was pretty much a non-factor last night. Do you think the patriots game plan was to use him more as a decoy (because of his injury) or did tom caughlin's game plan really shut him down?

It looked to me like Gronkowski just couldn't move the way he wanted to. Obviously they had to keep him out there because even hobbled the D has to account for him. But I think his performance had less to do with the Giants than with a high ankle sprain, which is a really tough injury.

could this be a record, a complete game without a roughing-the-Brady call?

You know, I thought both quarterbacks would get hit a lot more than they did. It's a testament to two superb offensive lines. I've thought all season the Giants' OL was maybe the best in football. They are a huge, fast, formidable group. David Diehl is a monster. They made Wilfork look sort of, meh. And the Pats were almost as good. 

It's not about the best. It's about who can get to and win the Superbowl. "Best" is something you find on paper, which doesn't always translate to a Superbowl win.

Bill Parcells would say, you are your numbers. 

Does Spygate loom large now? Some call it a cheap shot. But Belichick hasn't won big since. And before dismissing it as a tactic, just consider that, like steroids, the user wouldn't use it if it didn't work somehow.

Well, I think other factors were more important in the Patriots not winning a Super Bowl since. Namely Eli Manning, David Tyree, and Mario Manningham. They got awfully unlucky on two freakishly good catches. Those footballs brush off the fingertips of Tyree and Manningham, and the Pats have two more Super Bowl rings. Again, Spygate is overblown. The Pats have the best habits week in and week out of just about any team in the league and that has nothing to do with videotape of the opponent.

Eli also lives in Hoboken which is just across the river from Manhattan but a much smaller, cozier feeling. If he's not used to city life, Hoboken is a good transitional place to live--lots of cute restaurants and neighborhood hangouts and businesses. (The parking is terrible though--don't know where he's going to put that new car!)

I can see Eli's apartment from mine. I'm on one side of the river, he's on the other. But I wouldn't call Hoboken cozy or quaint. It's very much a city atmosphere. According to Archie Manning, Eli likes the city and wanders around in it quite a bit.

I've been really impressed with him over the years, how he's handled being in the spotlight so well. From Tiki Barber talking trash about him, to his answers this year on how he feels about bad calls by refs. He's always a gentleman.

Those Mannings do have nice manners. The whole family does. Very courtly and kind bunch. My friend Mike Wilbon calls it "proper training in the home." I wish Archie and Olivia Manning would write a book on how to raise nice, well mannered  kids.

Am I the only one getting the feeling that next year the Skins will have RGIII? Of course, by that I'm referring to Rex Grossman: third year of hell.

Oh please. Oh please no. No. No. Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

Sally: This life-long Giants fan surrenders -- there are STILL people out there trying to tell us that Eli's not a first-tier QB. I don't know what the heck he has to do. What possible criticism could you still have for him?

The main criticism of him from some readers today seems to be that he lost to the Redskins twice. But I would suggest that was a case of sheer boredom on his part.

She is so helpful. She should be receivers coach next year.

HA! This isn't directed at anyone in particular. But as a sportswriter you always cringe when you hear a non-competing spouse use the word "we." As is, "We have to play better." Or, "We're in training." Or, "We let that one slip away."

The average seed of the recent SB winners is 4. What does this trend mean?

It means that a few losses are actually good for a team. Having your weaknesses exposed allows you to correct them in time for the playoffs. The great teams get better over the last season. A few years ago when I interviewed Tom Brady, he was a firm believer that the last few games of the season was when the real contenders got better. You can see them up their performance a notch while others just slightly deteriorate. Twice now, the Giants have gotten visibly better over the last third of a season, and both times went on to win the Super Bowl. Couglin knows how to get his team to peak.

Only a handful of coaches have won two Super Bowls, and Tom Coughlin -- the guy who looks and acts like an unusually strict and nervous principal at a Jesuit middle school -- is now among them. Should we really consider him a great coach, now? The question seems to me to expose how little we understand what coaches actually do.

Coughlin is unquestionable a GREAT coach. First of all, he has won at every level. I remember him at Boston College. His players believe in him and do what he asks. I think it's significant that every time his job has been in jeopardy in New York, his players have risen up and played their a**es off.

Probably just a coincidence, but I would like to point out that Brady is 0-2 in Super Bowls since Gisele Bundchen and 3-0 prior.

Oh now. 

A comment more than a question - you said at the start of the playoffs (in an article saying the Redskins aren't very physically imposing) that the Giants are big guys and 'will be reckoned with' - I've had that in mind since you wrote it and wanted to extend kudos.

Well thank you. It seems to me that their personnel guy Jerry Reese deserves an MVP award in his own right. The guys has put together a monster outfit. They are huge and fast and, it seems to me, a new roster template. They are three deep at every single position. They endured injuries better than arguably any other team in the league because they are so deep. And their offensive line just manhandled the Pats, it seemed to me.

I think it's funny how his family thought he'd need help in the city. Some people like new experiences and their families don't know every last thing about them.

His family didn't think he'd need help with the city, but some people thought he might struggle with the heat of the New York press.

The Patriots also lost to the Redskins during a year that they (Patriots) then went on to win the Superbowl. Everyone's right, the Redskins ARE the best team and prove it year after year by beating one good team.

Yep. We just don't appreciate what a buried gem we have in the Redskins.

Sally, care to comment on the importance of "team" in getting to the championship level? Seems that both the Giants and Pats spoke of how important the team was over and against individual play - seems like a no-brainer, but how much do you think this factors in to being champions as opposed to a bunch of talented players on a squad who can't take it up a level (no, not speaking of the 'skins)?

Well sure, this is the ruby slipper. Chemistry and teamwork are pat phrases, but are actually incredibly hard to accomplish, and why so many  books are written trying to explain the secret. In my opinion, the Redskins have had a fundamental heart murmur in this regard. I believe Mike Shanahan has gone a long way towards curing it, and now we'll see if they can build a roster and some depth. But I'm a believer in Shanahan's basic methods for just this reason. What's less clear is whether the personnel judgement will be good enough. But he's already upgraded the roster significantly and I really liked their drafts the last couple of years. The Redskins have a lot of team-first guys in the house, and it's why they value London Fletcher so highly. 

okay folks, got to run. thanks for joining!

In This Chat
Sally Jenkins
Sally Jenkins, a sports columnist for The Washington Post, rejoined the newspaper as a full-time columnist in summer 2000. She previously worked for the newspaper from 1983 to1989. Before rejoining The Post, Jenkins was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated. Jenkins is the author of "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation" and and co-author of "The State of Jones: The Small Southern County that Seceded from the Confederacy" (co-written with historian John Stauffer), "It's Not About the Bike" (co-written with cyclist Lance Armstrong); "Reach for the Summit" and "Raise the Roof" (both co-written with women's basketball coach Pat Summit); and "A Coach's Life" (co-written with college basketball coach Dean Smith). Jenkins is a graduate of Stanford University. She is a native of Fort Worth, Texas and lives in New York City.
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