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Today in Sports History: 2/3 | Giants Beat Undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

Today in sports history (2008), the New York Giants did the improbable and beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The Patriots entered the game with the best record in the league, 16-0. Led by Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Bill Belichick, this team looked unstoppable. Throughout the regular season, the Patriots were consistently beating teams by 30 points. The Giants snuck into the playoffs as the five-seed, with a 10-6 record.

New York made a run to the Super Bowl, but it felt almost guaranteed that the Patriots were going to destroy them. Due to the disparity of the teams, the Patriots came into the game as 12-point favorites in the Super Bowl odds. In maybe some foreshadowing, the Giants actually gave the Patriots the most trouble in the regular season, losing 38-35.

Super Bowl XLII today in sports history
Credit: Gene Puskar/Getty Images

Giants Weather the Storm in the First Half of Super Bowl XLII

Rolling consistent with many of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots Super Bowls, defense was on display. This time, both defenses came to play. The Giants won the coin toss and started with the ball. Playing at their own tempo, Eli Manning and the offense marched 63 yards on 16 plays. The drive took a total of nine minutes and 59 seconds.

The Giants converted four third-down attempts to keep the drive alive. New England ultimately forced the Giants to take a field goal to go up 3-0. With the Giants’ long drive, the Patriots only had one drive in the first quarter. Lawrence Maroney was the key factor here, as he rushed twice for 15 yards. These rushes came after his 43-yard kick return. On the last play of the quarter, Brady attempted to hit Benjamin Watson for a touchdown. The pass was incomplete, but New York was called for defensive pass interference.

The Patriots started the second quarter on the Giants’ one-yard line. Maroney finished off his hot Super Bowl start with a one-yard rushing touchdown to put the Patriots up 7-3. The Giants got the ball back and began marching again. Amani Toomer did his part in keeping the drive alive, as Manning connected with him on a 38-yard reception. Manning then threw a ball that was intended for Steve Smith but was intercepted by Ellis Hobbes.

New England quickly went three and out and was forced to punt. The rest of the quarter was more of the same, as both teams ended up punting numerous times. The Giants’ defensive line began to step up, sacking Brady twice in the quarter. One of the sacks resulted in a Brady fumble right before halftime.

David Tyree and Eli Manning Sink Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

The Giants took the ball over to start the fourth quarter with the game still at 7-3. Manning and the offense finally got on the board with a five-yard David Tyree receiving touchdown to regain the lead, 10-7. After defenses continue their dominance, Brady and the Patriots finally scored a Moss touchdown with 2:42 left, taking a 14-10 lead.

The Giants faced a crucial fourth and one on their next drive, where Brandon Jacobs ripped off a two-yard run. Manning then looked to hit Tyree again, but the ball was nearly intercepted by Asante Samuel.

On third and three from the New York 44, Manning dropped back and was almost immediately swarmed by Patriots. In the greatest play of Manning’s career and maybe the NFL, he got out of the sack and threw up a prayer to Tyree over the middle of the field. With Rodney Harrison all over Tyree, the receiver pinned the ball to his helmet and came down with the catch. Plaxico Burress eventually capped the drive with a 13-yard receiving touchdown.

The Giants’ defense stepped up and didn’t allow a single yard from the Patriots on their last drive. The New York Giants took down the New England Patriots, 17-14, winning Super Bowl XLII.

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