With the Super Bowl less than a week away from kickoff, talk is already stirring about who will claim the most valuable player award when it is all said and done. The past five out of seven winners of the award have been quarterbacks and New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, has captured the award twice (2011 and 2007) in the most extreme of fashions.
Since the Super Bowl era began, two other players have been able to obtain the MVP award as a New York Giant; Ottis Anderson in Super Bowl XXV (1990) and Phil Simms in Super Bowl XXI (1986). But how do the performances of these two Giants, compare to the spectacles that Eli Manning showcased on the field, leading Big Blue to two championships in four years? Here's how...
4) Ottis Anderson
|(Photo Credit: Spokeo)|
The Giants came into Super Bowl XXV as underdogs against the Buffalo Bills, who ran a relentless no-huddle offense, leading the league in total points scored that season (428). To cope with the tough Buffalo attack, the Giants were able to hold possession of the ball for 40 minutes and 33 seconds, setting an a Super Bowl record for time of possession. Even though the game will be remembered by the last second field goal miss by kicker Scott Norwood, which would have secured Buffalo's first Super Bowl victory; Giants running back Ottis James Anderson "O.J." had an effective day on the ground, rushing for 102 yards on 21 carries and had a touchdown.
Many criticized the selection of Anderson for the MVP award and believed Bills running back Thurman Thomas should have received the award, even though Buffalo had lost. Thomas rushed for 135 yards with a touchdown and caught 5 passes for 55 yards.
Giants head coach Bill Parcells had built an offense that was able to sustain long drives, and used Anderson to keep Buffalo's powerful offense, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, on the sidelines.
3) Eli Manning (2011)
For the second time in four years, the Giants would enter the Super Bowl and have to go up against the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady. The Giants would get out to an early 9-0 lead after a Brady safety and a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. The Patriots would storm back before the half and put up 10 unanswered points and hold a 10-9 lead at halftime. The two teams would trade blows in the third quarter, but the Pats would still hold the lead at the end of the quarter by a score of 17-15, setting up a dramatic final quarter.
Lightning would strike for the second time for the Giants. Pinned down below their own 15-yard line with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter and perhaps the key play in the game came when Manning completed a 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham, inches away from the sidelines, advancing the Giants to midfield. Patriots coach Bill Belichick would challenge the play, but replay showed that Manningham kept his foot in bounds and remained in control of the ball.
Ahmad Bradshaw would go on to score a controversial touchdown with 57 seconds left on the clock, putting the ball in Brady's hands with a chance to drive the ball down the field for the game winning score. Giants fans would hold their collective breathe as a last second hail Mary would just miss the outstretched hands of tight end Rob Gronkowski and fall to the ground, ending the game and securing the Giants second championship in four years.
Manning would claim the MVP award, completing 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, no interceptions and a touchdown.
2) Phil Simms
|(Photo credit: CBS Sports)|
When the Giants entered Super Bowl XXI, they had made a name for themselves with their tough defense. The “Big Blue Wrecking Crew”, led by Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor had allowed just three points in their prior two playoff games before advancing to the championship against the Denver Broncos.
However, it was not just the defense that would take down John Elway and the Broncos, but the offense took control in the later part of game; on the shoulders of quarterback and MVP, Phil Simms. With the game favoring the Broncos at halftime, 10-9, many feared that the Giant offense couldn’t gather any momentum.
In a shocking turn of events, the Giants would go on to set an NFL record, scoring 30 points in the second half; with the defense holding Elway to just one touchdown in the late minutes of the fourth quarter.
Simms finished the game completing 22 of 25 passes, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. His 88% completion percentage would be an NFL postseason record that would not be broken for over two decades.
1) Eli Manning (2007)
|(Photo credit: Big Blue United)|
Underdogs is an understatement for the Giants team that entered the University of Phoneix Stadium at Super Bowl XLII. For the first time since 1972 when the Miami Dolphins accomplished the feat, the Patriots finished the 2007 season undfeated, posting an18-0 record. The Pats were 12-point favorites over the Giants, and New York was looking to become the first NFC wildcard team to win the Super Bowl (they had a 10-6 regular season record).
To make the situation worse, the Giants had lost their final regular season game to the Patriots 38-35. As predicted, the score was close throughout the game; only 10 points were scored after three quarters, setting the scene for Manning to make the move from a great quarterback to an elite one.
Down 14-10 and on their final drive, Manning would complete a miraculous play to receiver David Tyree, who pinned the ball to his helmet and came down with the ball; an image that would symbolize possibly the biggest upset in the history of sports.
With 35-seconds remaining in the game, Manning would throw a perfect pass over the shoulder of receiver Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown, giving the Giants their first Super Bowl ring in 18 years.
He finished the game completing 19 of 34 passes for 255 yard, one interception and two touchdowns.