The Patriots overcame an early deficit to storm back to lead 17-9 early in the second half as Tom Brady found Aaron Hernandez for the touchdown.
New York fought back to within two points as it went to the wire, though, and the defining moment came in bizarre circumstances as Ahmad Bradshaw scored an accidental touchdown which was ultimately enough to win the Giants their fourth Super Bowl. The winner came about after MVP Manning, with less than four minutes on the clock, threw a massive 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham who just about got both feet down. Despite the Patriots’ challenge, the completion was good and set the Giants up for the last-minute win.
New York had endured a difficult season but timed their run of form perfectly as Manning answered his critics emphatically to edge out Brady in a rematch of the 2008 NFL championship. Quarter-back Manning took New York to victory on that occasion, too.
Manning said: “I’m proud of our team, we stayed positive, we were moving the ball well but we just couldn’t get touchdowns.
“I knew that our defence would get us a turnover eventually and they did and then it was down to a last drive. We made some big plays, and it feels great.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin added: “I’d like to share this with all the people who helped to get us here.
“We came up against a great team and it was one of the best finishes ever. I said at half-time that we could play better than we had done, we were energised and we came through.”
The Giants drew first blood with a safety as Brady was called for intentional grounding.
And it was 9-0 when Manning found Victor Cruz with a two-yarder before Scotsman Lawrence Tynes added the extra point from the boot.
The Patriots sprung to life in the second quarter with Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal making it 9-3 before Danny Woodhead got on the end of one from Brady for a four-yard touchdown. Gostkowski added the extra to go into half-time 10-9 up.
The turnaround looked complete when the Patriots finished a 79-yard drive with Brady finding Hernandez on the seven-yard line as he drove it in. Gostkowski added to make it 17-9.
The Giants kept their cool as Tynes’ field goal from 38 yards pulled it back to 17-12. Another from the Briton pulled it back to a two-point game before the defining moment as Manning came to the fore with an 88-yard drive.
Bradshaw powered through the centre as the Patriots let him through and though he desperately attempted to stop short on the one-yard line, he could not stop himself falling backwards over the line to make it 17-21 with 57 seconds left. The kick was too far to add the extras but it did not matter as Brady was unable to respond despite twice finding Deion Branch.