By DENNIS WASZAK, Associated Press
Eli Manning and the New York Giants are Super Bowl champions again.
Just as they did four years ago in Arizona, Tom Coughlin's Giants have defeated Bill Belichick's New England Patriots — this time 21-17 in Indianapolis for their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
But the Giants had to breathe a huge sigh of relief first as Tom Brady heaved a long, desperation pass into the end zone that Rob Gronkowski nearly caught as it tipped among a group of outstretched Patriots and Giants hands. Then, it fell to the ground and the jubilant Giants were running onto the field in celebration.
New York also beat New England 24-17 in the 2008 Super Bowl.
The Giants have taken the lead with less than a minute left — but did they leave too much time on the clock for Tom Brady and the Patriots?
Ahmad Bradshaw ran up the middle on second-and-6, and the Patriots parted like the Red Sea and allowed the Giants running back to get into the end zone for a 21-17 lead. Bradshaw appeared to realize what was going on and tried to stop his momentum at the last second, but stumbled into the end zone for a score.
New York was stopped on a 2-point conversion.
Now, it's Brady's turn. He's got 57 seconds and 80 yards to win it.
Hey, David Tyree. Mario Manningham's got his own sensational Super Bowl highlight.
The Giants wide receiver made a remarkable grab down the left sideline with 3:39 left and New York trailing 17-15. Eli Manning zipped a long pass toward Manningham, who was in double coverage but caught the 38-yard heave with his fingertips, got both feet down and brought the ball into his chest as he was being hit.
The play was ruled a catch, but New England coach Bill Belichick — standing right in front of where Manningham landed — challenged the call.
The officials upheld the call, and the Patriots have to be thinking about Tyree's incredible helmet-pinning grab on the Giants' Super Bowl-winning touchdown drive in Arizona four years ago.
The Giants are running out of tight ends.
First, Travis Beckum. Now, Jake Ballard.
New York lost their top two tight ends to injuries, with Bear Pascoe the only remaining player at the position.
Beckum tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early in the second quarter at the Super Bowl. Ballard sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter.
By the way, New England's big tight end, Rob Gronkowski, has just two catches for 26 yards. His status was uncertain the past two weeks with a high left ankle sprain.
Tom Coughlin is fired up.
And for good reason.
The New York Giants coach was livid when officials didn't call a flag on New England's Sterling Moore, who — as TV replays clearly showed — had his left hand on Mario Manningham's left shoulder with his right arm stretched out over the Giants receiver's right shoulder as Eli Manning's pass came zipping at him.
The throw fell incomplete in third-and-10 from the Patriots 43 midway through the fourth quarter. The Giants were forced to punt as Coughlin barked at the officials from the sideline for not calling a pass interference penalty.
With the way these teams are playing, we could be in for another fantastic final 15 minutes.
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