It’s not like anyone doesn’t know what happened at Lucas Oil Field last night, but I’ll remind everyone anyway.
The New York Giants upset the New England Patriots 21-17 to win Super Bowl XLVI.
In yesterday’s game, there were several plays that ultimately decided the outcome of the game, but I narrowed it down to the three most important plays.
3. Failed Hail Mary attempt by the Patriots on the final play of the game
We all almost witnessed the greatest play in sports history last night. Almost.
Just a mere foot or two ultimately decided the outcome of the game. On the final play of the game with the Patriots trailing 21-17, quarterback Tom Brady heaved the ball high up into the air and in the end zone. The ball was tipped by several players and dropped just a couple of feet from Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
In fact, from the camera angle on NBC it looked like for a second that Gronkowski had caught the ball. But in reality, he did not.
Had Gronkowski just been a step quicker, he would’ve been able to use his long arms to reach out for the ball and likely catch it. If the Patriots would’ve converted the improbable last-second hail mary to win, it likely would have gone down as the greatest moment in pro sports history.
2. Eli Manning’s 38 yard completion to Mario Manningham in the 4th quarter
On the first play of what ended up being the Giants’ Super Bowl-winning drive, quarterback Eli Manning dropped back and lofted the ball down the left sideline and perfectly placed it in wide receiver Mario Manningham’s hands.
While it was one heck of a throw by Manning, it was also a great catch by Manningham. The Giants receiver was able to stretch his arms out for the ball while getting two feet down before going out of bounds.
The play not only placed the Giants at midfield, but it gave New York momentum to drive down and score a touchdown in the final minute to take a 21-17 lead and ultimately win the game.
1. Wes Welker’s dropped pass with four minutes remaining
The Manningham catch could have gone here, but in terms of deciding the outcome of the game, this play is number one.
With just four minutes remaining in the game and the Patriots leading 17-15, Wes Welker found an open spot in the Giants defense and was wide open down field. While Tom Brady did throw the ball slightly behind Welker, it was certainly catchable.
But instead of having the ball on the Giants’ 20-yard line and a chance to seal the victory, Welker flat-out dropped the pass.
Without any Giants defenders affecting the flight of the ball or altering Welker’s route, he simply dropped it. While it wasn’t one of the worst drops in NFL history, it certainly deserves consideration. The fact that Welker couldn’t come up with an easy catch that would have all but won the game for the Patriots makes this play worthy of the top play that decided the outcome of Super Bowl XLVI.