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Feb
07
2012

Rob’s Raw Super Bowl Wrap Up: Giant Step For Manning

Rob Woodfork eats his words as the confetti falls in Indianapolis.

Well I’ll be damned.

The New York Giants win 21-17 over the New England Patriots. History really does repeat itself.

This has changed my mind on so many things.

First of all, Eli Manning can never again be questioned. He was hot all game long, going 30-for-40, 296 yards, and a touchdown. He’s now got two rings–beating golden boy Tom Brady for both of them–and he was clutch in both instances. The first go-round felt really fluky, but this time he earned it. No near-sacks avoided. No David Tyree heroics. No Tebow-esque pulling a win out of his ass. This was 100%, bonafide, elite-level QB play on the biggest stage of all. Tip of the cap to Eli, Peyton’s little brother no more.

That brings me to my second realization: Eli is just as good as Peyton. While he’s not quite as prolific as his brother (not yet, at least), he’s definitely more clutch. I’ve long held the belief that Peyton hasn’t exactly held up his end of the bargain in playoff situations. Eli has. So while I’d rather have Peyton on my fantasy team, on the real gridiron I’d rather have Eli under center if I’ve got one drive to win me a ballgame.

Third, the undying benefit of the doubt for the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick duo is over. We’re now going on 8 years since their last Super Bowl victory, and before this season they hadn’t won a playoff game in four years. The only thing Brady/Belichick have proven since ’07 is that the two of them alone can put together gaudy regular seasons but aren’t adequate enough to get it done in the postseason.

(So they’re basically Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning every year except 2006.)

Lastly, Tom Coughlin has now earned the right to go out on his own terms. It’s New York we’re talkin’ about ova heeeere, so I’m sure we’ll still hear cries for his firing if the Giants crap the bed in 2012 and miss the playoffs. But favorite son Bill Parcells won two Super Bowls in New York and he’s a saint. Coughlin will probably never see that sort of love, but he’s certainly earned that respect.

As a Redskins fan (did I mention the Skins swept the Giants in the regular season?), it’s hard to say this without throwing up in my own mouth: the Mara family, Jerry Reese, and the rest of the Giants brass really are among the NFL’s best. I still think they should be able to navigate the regular season a bit better, but they’ve built their team to peak in January and February–not in September and October like the perennial division-favorite Dallas Cowboys.

So kudos to the Giants for their fourth Lombardi trophy. Given Eli’s rapid ascension, it may not be their last.

Rob Woodfork writes for TheFanManifesto. Follow us on Twitter. 

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