Super Bowl: Eli Manning silences his critics with Giants win
Eli Manning was full of praise for his team-mates after leading the New York Giants to their second Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in four years.
The Giants quarterback, playing in the Indianapolis stadium usually graced by his older brother Peyton for the Colts, rounded off a superb individual performance with an ice-cool effort at the end of a thrilling game.
"It just feels good to win a Super Bowl. Doesn't matter where you are,'' Manning said, clutching the silver Vince Lombardi Trophy. "It's been a wild season. We had a great, tough bunch of guys who never quit, and had faith in each other. I'm proud of these guys sticking together.''
In August, before the season got under way, Manning was asked in an interview whether he considered himself an "elite"' quarterback in the mould of the Patriots' Tom Brady.
Manning's reply, that he belonged "in that class", sparked much publicity and criticism in New York where, despite winning the Most Valuable Player award in Super Bowl XLII, some doubted his ability.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin added: "We came up against a great team and it was one of the best finishes ever. I said at half-time that we could play better than we had done, we were energised and we came through."
Coughlin's opposite number, Bill Belichick, said: "I thought we played very competitive. We were in the lead for a good part of the game. We just came up a couple of plays short. You don't feel good after you lose this game."
The game's winning touchdown was a surreal affair. With the clock winding down, the Giants only needed a field goal to win. But instead of going down short of the endzone, Ahmad Bradshaw ran towards the endzone as the Patriots stood by, knowing that if he scored they would get one final shot at victory.
"I was yelling to him, 'Don't score, don't score,'' Manning said. "He tried to stop, but he fell into the end zone."
It set up a nervy final 57 seconds, but despite Brady's best efforts, the Patriots were unable to respond and the Giants completed another memorable Super Bowl triumph.