It was a classic in the score far moreso than the play on the field.
To put the Giants' 21-17 win in Super Bowl XLVI over New England as something epic is misguided. But they still won it. It was their fourth championship, and incidentally, New England's fourth Super Bowl loss.
An uneven and bizarre season came to a close in a way more fitting with the past than with the future. In the supposed Year of the Quarterback (thank you, ESPN), neither quarterback played particularly well through four quarters, and it was lesser heralded guys who won it for New York, and lost it for New England.
Mario Manningham looked lazy in trying to get his feet down on what should have been a reception in the third quarter. In the fourth, he made the best Super Bowl catch since Santonio at the back pylon in Super Bowl XLIII, helping out eventual game MVP Eli Manning.
Conversely, Wes Welker, who led the league in catches this year, and Aaron Hernandez, who played very well in the more-or-less absence of TE Rob Gronkowski, dropped good passes from Patriots QB Tom Brady on their series - not to mention former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch.
Neither offense looked particularly sharp, and perhaps that's an issue of coaching. The Giants managed to win the game despite examples of poor clock management. No coaching flub was bigger, though, than the obvious lack of foresight that the Patriots would allow the Giants to score from six yards out. Bradshaw ran to about the one-foot line before realizing no one was going to tackle him, and it appeared he was too far along to stop and fall down at the one, which would have allowed the Giants to force the Patriots to use their final timeout.
Instead, Bradshaw scored, giving the Patriots a timeout and 57 seconds to try to make something happen.
They nearly did, too.
Brady heaved a prayer from midfield on a play in which Gronkowski was trailing in an effort to scoop up any deflections. The deflection came, and it appeared Gronkowski could have gotten to the ball.
Maybe that's what high ankle sprains do to your quickness. Or your offense. The Patriots struggled outside dominating drives at the end of the first half and the start of the second. They put two touchdowns on the board in that time, but only three points otherwise.
The biggest missed opportunity the Patriots had was in the fourth quarter, holding onto a 17-12 lead. Brady was working the ball down the field, but poor throws forced a punt that gave Manning the ball back with time to score.
That's Eli Manning, the new clutch QB of the NFL.
He took his team down for the eventual game-winning touchdown.
There's no longer an issue between the Giants and the Patriots dating back from 2007. Manning has established himself as today's 4th quarter quarterback.
Brady's got no bones on that.