Page last updated on Sat Oct 10 10:34:48 EDT 2015
Wed, 08 Feb 2012 06:00 PM EST

Eli Manning is elite, absolutely. A king of comebacks, too and far, much more than Peyton’s little brother now.

Spot-on from beginning to end Sun. night, Eli Manning won his 2nd NFL championship in a 4-year span — and 2nd Super Bowl MVP trophy — for coolly, quietly steering the NY Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots with a last minute touchdown drive. Baseball spreads

“We’ve had a bunch of them this year. We have had various fourth-quarter comebacks,” announced Manning, 30 for 40 for 296 yards, with one touchdown pass and zero interceptions. “We’d been in those scenarios, and we knew we had no more time left. We had to go down and score and guys stepped up and made good plays.”

He opened the game by becoming the 1st quarterback to finish his first 9 attempts in a Super Bowl. And he completed the job by directing the 9-play, 88-yard TD drive that put NY ahead with 57 seconds left.

“That was really a drive that he managed to put collectively,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin asserted. “He merits all of the credit on the planet as he actually has put his team on his shoulders all year.”

This late drive, so harking back to the way NY beat New England in the 2008 Super Bowl with Manning as MVP, started on the Giants’ 12, with a little more than 3 minutes left and the Patriots ahead 17-15. It closed with running back Ahmad Bradshaw easing into the end zone from 6 yards out. The Patriots decided not to contest the run, attempting to save some time on the clock for a final drive — a risky and desperate call by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Baseball lines

But New England couldn’t get the ball back at the end zone, with Tom Brady’s final heave from his 49 falling barely outside the grip on tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“We had this ambition to finish, finish, finish,” Coughlin said, “and win the fourth quarter.”

That’s precisely when Manning takes over.

In the regular season, he threw an NFL-record 15 TD passes in the final period.

He also led 6 game-winning drives to bring NY back from fourth-quarter deficiencies.

“He is come to be confident in time; sort of grew into it,” Manning’s dad, previous New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie, announced after Sunday’s game. “I always felt like you have got to encounter those situations before you become confident. He is definitely had his share.”

That’s correct. Manning’s even done it before in the Super Bowl.

Four years ago, he took home his first MVP award after a scoring pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left permitted New York to upset Brady and New England, destroying the Patriots’ bid for a perfect season. Back then, Manning got a lift from David Tyree’s Velcro-helmet grab on the go-ahead drive. This time, the key play was Mario Manningham’s 38-yard, over-the-shoulder catch between 2 defenders along the sideline, which held up after the Patriots challenged it.

The Giants had difficulty putting up points Sunday regardless of getting into New England’s territory on every drive other than a kneeldown at the end of the first half.

But Manning kept at it, using 8 receivers, controlled by Hakeem Nicks’ ten catches for 109 yards.

“We just tried to be patient,” claimed Manningham, who finished with 5 receptions for 73 yards. “Got to be patient with this game. We knew massive plays (were) going to come. We just had to exploit them.”

Manning now is one of only 5 players in NFL background with multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. He joined the guy he got the best of in the big game once again, Brady, along with Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr and Joe Montana (the only player with three). And Manning did it in the House that Peyton Built, the stadium where his Big Bro — a four-time regular-season MVP but owner of just one Super Bowl title — plays for the Indianapolis Colts.

“It just feels good to win a Super Bowl. Doesn’t matter where you are,” claimed Manning, 10 for 14 for 118 yards in Sunday’s fourth quarter.

As he spoke, he grabbed the silver Vince Lombardi Prize.

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