EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Patriots

February 6, 2012

Eli is better when it matters

INDIANAPOLIS - Tom Brady and Eli Manning now own the same number of Super Bowl MVP trophies.

Having watched every snap taken by Brady, and probably 75 percent of those by Eli, I never would have dreamed I'd be writing those words.

But it happened again here last night in Super Bowl XLVI. Manning dominated Brady in the fourth quarter on the biggest stage there is, coaxing the Giants to a thrilling 21-17 victory.

The bottom line is, in clutch situations, he has twice out-Brady-ed Brady. He's better when it counts, and that's an awfully bitter pill to swallow this not-so-Super Monday.

Manning again denied Brady a slingshot move past Joe Montana on the all-time greatest list. In the process, the "other Manning" inched closer to Brady and his big brother, Peyton.

Who knows, with two titles to one, he might have already passed big bro.

"I'm excited to win a championship, I'm excited for my teammates," said Manning, deflecting the individual attention like R2-D2's deflector shield had Luke Skywalker's back. "This isn't about one person. This is about a team coming together."

Six months ago, that thought would have been ludicrous.

But clearly, the Giants had chips on their shoulders because of the lack of respect for No. 10.

Asked about Eli after the win, bruiser Brandon Jacobs lashed out.

"I don't need to say anything about Eli. I shouldn't have to say anything about Eli," said Jacobs. "Two-hundred, twenty-eight countries just saw Eli. I don't have to say anything."

What the world saw was Manning win his second Super Bowl MVP by completing 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards with a TD and no picks.

He was patient, accepted what the Pats' cushy defense gave him and didn't force things.

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