Manning shows he’s elite in the Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLVI is in the books with the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots 21-17 for the second time in five seasons.

The game wasn’t a classic by anyone’s standards, but it was intriguing until the very last play.

The rest of America agreed.

The Super Bowl was the highest rated program in United States television history, though 64 percent still did not watch the game. Who knew 64 percent of Americans were communists?

But I digress.

The game was close throughout with the Giants taking an early 9-0 lead before Tom Brady and the Patriots scored 17 unanswered points.

New York added two field goals in the second half to make it 17-15 game with the ball in Eli Manning’s hands for one final drive.

The Giants’ offense got the ball with a little more than three-and-a-half minutes remaining at their own seven-yard line.

It was the same scenario Manning and the Giants found themselves in just four years earlier against the undefeated Patriots.

And this time, history repeated itself.

Everyone remembers the iconic moment in 2007 when Manning escaped the Patriots pass rush to wing a pass downfield to David Tyree who caught the ball with his helmet.

This time around Manning once again conjured up some late game heroics.

In the first play from scrimmage on the Giants’ final drive, Manning dropped back to pass and threw a perfect ball in between two Patriots defenders. Giants’ wide receiver Mario Manningham caught the ball and somehow kept both feet inbounds while getting nailed by safety Patrick Chung.

“It was big-time; there’s nothing else you can say,” Manning said after the game. “I didn’t have many options and I saw the safety cheat inside a little, and I decided to take a shot and try to fit it in there. And oh, what a catch.”

It was a 38-yard gain and ultimately won the game. Two minutes later, New York running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored an uncontested six-yard touchdown to give the Giants the 21-17 win.

Manning was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, becoming a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

No one could have thought it was possible the Giants would be Super Bowl champions just two months ago when they had a 7-7 record. Let alone at the beginning of the season when Manning received flack for calling himself elite.

I don’t think there is any debate about that one anymore.

Not only is Manning elite, he is the best quarterback in the game today.

Who’s better?

Tom Brady?

Manning has beat Brady four times in a row including two victories in the Super Bowl.

Aaron Rodgers?

In the playoffs, Manning went into Lambeau Field and whooped Rodgers and the Packers. While Rodgers does have a ring, Manning now has two.

I’d take Eli Manning over any quarterback in the game today. He is cool, calm and collected with a clutch factor that his older brother Peyton has never had.

This season, Manning set a record with 15 fourth quarter touchdown passes.

There is no doubt with this win that he is eventually destined for the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and deservedly so.

Not many quarterbacks can say they have two game-winning drives in the final minutes of Super Bowls.

Manning now finds himself in elite company and after years of being criticized he certainly deserves it.