Preparation, Poise, Confidence Key to E. Manning’s Pivotal Throw in Giants 21-17 Super Bowl Victory
By Raj Sagar, MorganFranklin Corp.
On what has been called the biggest stage in sports, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning took a risk with the game on the line—or so it seemed.
With less than four minutes remaining—on first and ten from their own 12 yard line—Manning spotted receiver Mario Manningham streaking down the left sideline. Despite coverage from two Patriot defenders, Manning saw an opening and let the ball fly. The result: a brilliant 38-yard reception and first down.
When asked about fitting the ball in such a tight window, Manning attributes the success to having made the play time and time again on the practice field.
“I just saw where Mario was, and a lot of throws are muscle memory,” Manning said. “You don’t think about how far to throw it or what to do. You see your receiver and make the throw, and hopefully, you put it in a good spot where he can catch it. And he made a great play.”
Unlike the Giants faithful, who held their collective breath when the ball was in the air, Manning’s now trademark confidence allowed him to see the play differently.
“It was the Super Bowl and a tight throw, but I didn’t have any questions. I felt the safety was inside. I wasn’t worried about whether it’d be an interception or a dangerous throw when the ball was released. I saw a window, I felt confident about it. I didn’t think much about it.”
A historically successful franchise, the Giants set out the season with a plan and a vision. They believed if they got contributions towards it from all members, it would yield success. The leaders of the team had been to the big game before and knew what it took to get the team where it wanted to go. Trust in their quarterback’s ability allowed the eight year veteran from Mississippi to continue to make game-winning plays for the team.
“He’s become confident over time, kind of grew into it,” said his father, former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning. “I always felt like you have to experience those situations before you become confident. He’s certainly had his share.”
After a red hot 6-2 start, the Giants faced adversity losing 5 of their next 6 and falling to 7-7.
The true character of a unit is best measured not when things are going as planned, but when faith in that vision in tested. Behind the brilliant fourth quarter play from Manning (as he set an NFL record with 15 fourth quarter touchdown passes), the Giants ripped off five straight victories en route to their fourth Super Bowl title.
“This isn’t about one person,” Manning insisted. “This is about a team coming together.”
Every organization needs a seasoned leader who is poised and confident when stakes are high—in Eli Manning, the Giants have found one of the game’s finest.