The New England Patriots were stewing for four years over this chance to avenge their loss in Super Bowl XLII.
And now they can think about it some more. Thanks to Eli Manning's seventh fourth-quarter comeback of the year, Mario Manningham's remarkable catch, and Justin Tuck's second sack of the game, the Giants won their second ring in four years with a 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVII Sunday.
Despite all the heroics, the question that will linger in everybody's mind is, "When is a mistake not a mistake?" The answer is, when everything turns out okay.
Ahmad Bradshaw will be answering that question plenty, because it was his "inadvertent" entry into the end zone with 57 seconds remaining and the Giants down 17-15 that produced the winning points. Bradshaw, with the ball at the Pats' 6 and knowing that the Giants wanted to keep the drive alive to give Tom Brady minimal time to stage a comeback, ran up against a fall-down defense that allowed him to score. Trying to take a knee at the 1, he stumbled backward and into the end zone.
Bradshaw, though faulty in footwork, had the right idea. But he wouldn't have been in that position had Manning, who finished 30-of-40 for 296 yards and a touchdown, not hooked up with Manningham for the game's longest play.
That came on the first play of the drive, a 38-yarder in which Manningham kept both feet in bounds while Patrick Chung was in the process of belting him across the sideline.
The score, though necessary, left Brady nearly a minute to work with. But with only one timeout remaining, the AFC's top seed had to work fast. And Tuck's sack on the third play of the final possession forced the Patriots to stop the clock.
Brady, who at one point completed a Super Bowl record 16 straight passes in a 27-of-41, 276-yard effort with two touchdowns and an interception, eventually got to midfield, but his final desperation heave to tight end Adam Hernandez in the end zone fell incomplete to give the Giants their fourth Super Bowl title in history.
Manning won his second Super Bowl MVP, and Tom Coughlin won his second ring, tying him with his former boss, Bill Parcells.
"It been a wild season, but we got a great, tough group of guys," Manning said.
"We just stayed positive," he added. "We knew offensively we were moving the ball. We just weren't scoring touchdowns. The guys made some big-time plays."