At the end, Tom Coughlin did not need to push and prod his Giants, did not need to preach All In any longer, did not need to insist and demand and plea for his players to please, please, just Finish.
All he needed to do was watch the confetti fall after his quarterback, Eli Manning, did it again and Justin Tuck and his defense did it again, did it to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady again, incredibly, impossibly and, in some strange way, naturally.
“This is the finish line for this year, yes it is!’’ Coughlin exclaimed.
“I don’t know if I could have written a better script than this one,’’ Tuck said, beaming.
It is rare indeed when the perfect script becomes an even better story, but with these Giants, rare is where it’s at. The Giants last night came back to beat the Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI inside Lucas Oil Stadium in a classic game that actually equaled the 17-14 Giants victory over the Pats four years ago — a game that went down as perhaps the greatest Super Bowl ever played. Move over, Super Bowl XLII, there’s a challenger for the throne, but there’s no debate that Eli Manning sits atop it.
Just as he did four years, ago, Manning put his team on his back. This time, trailing 17-15, he drove the Giants 88 yards, channeling his magic David Tyree moment with a brilliant 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham, who tip-toed the left sideline between safeties Sterling Moore and Patrick Chung and made an epic catch that survived a replay challenge.
“I was in, man. It was a perfect, perfect pass,’’ Manningham said.
The catch eventually led to Ahmad Bradshaw’s 6-yard touchdown run with just 57 seconds left on a play where Bradshaw actually didn’t want to score, as the Patriots were giving him a clear path and Manning — with the Giants already in chip-shot field goal range — was screaming “Fall down, fall down.’’ Bradshaw stopped on the one-yard line but his momentum carried him into the end zone to make it 21-17.
“This is twice now we’ve been on the biggest stage and gone down the field and scored a touchdown when needed,’’ guard Chris Snee said. “It all starts with Eli. He’s tremendous in the huddle, tremendous in that situation, he just did a phenomenal job.’’