The Giants 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI had clutch plays in big moments, suspense down to the final snap and some you've-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it plays -- making it one of the 10 best games in Super Bowl history.
Big moments define big games. And this game had plenty of them:
- Mario Manningham's incredible catch that set up the game-winning touchdown.
- Ahmad Bradshaw scoring that touchdown when no one wanted him to score it, and the Pats LETTING him do it, which may be the craziest play in Super Bowl history.
- Wes Welker's crucial drop on the potential game-icing drive.
- The Hail Mary at the end. Upon replay, it was clear that Rob Gronkowski didn't have a very good chance of catching that ball. But watching it live? HOLY SMOKES SO CLOSE YOU GUYZZZZZZ.
- The opening safety: another strange play.
- Victor Cruz's first TD catch, which was the result of an insane throw from Eli Manning that seemed to go right through the defender to reach Cruz in stride.
That's a half-dozen immortal moments right there, far more than we got from last year's Super Bowl. And Giants vs. Pats had the requisite fourth quarter comeback, last second thrills, and upset atmosphere needed for a great Super Bowl. It had the added bonus of being the rematch of a great Super Bowl and ending in remarkably similar fashion.
Was it the best played Super Bowl ever? No, but neither was Rams/Titans, and everyone regards that as one of the better Super Bowls of all time. But, when we load those moments into our little computer formula and see where it stacks up, it does hit the top 10.
RANKULATOR! DO YOUR MAGIC!
1. Super Bowl XXV (Giants 20, Bills 19)
2. Super Bowl XXXII (Broncos 31, Packers 24)
3. Super Bowl XXXVI (Patriots 20, Rams 17)
4. Super Bowl XLII (Giants 17, Pats 14)
5. Super Bowl XXIII (49ers 20, Bengals 16)
6. Super Bowl XLIII (Steelers 27, Cardinals 23)
7. Super Bowl XLIV (Saints 31, Colts 17)
8. THIS SUPER BOWL
9. Super Bowl XXXVIII (Patriots 32, Panthers 29)
10. Super Bowl XXXIV (Rams 23, Titans 16)
That’s the list. If it seems arbitrarily assembled, it’s because it is! But it gives us a good idea of where this Super Bowl will end up ranking in the collective consciousness. It wasn’t the absolute best ever, but it belongs in the conversation. You ain’t forgetting that Manningham catch.
Drew Magary writes sports commentary for Deadspin, Maxim, GQ and is the author of "The Postmortal."