New York Giants Super Bowl XLVI Ring: A Design For All Seasons

The exquisite ring designed for the New York Giant’s Super Bowl XLVI win over New England.

One of the greatest championship rings ever commissioned. When you look at the ring the first thing you look at are the sapphire stones that adorn the “World Championsip” moniker as though its’ the lighted ring around the new Meadowlands.  Yet it’s the old fashioned “NY” adorned in blue that really sets this ring off. Although the Giants have amassed 8 NFL titles, they have garnered 4 in the Super Bowl era. Hence the four Super Bowl trophies atop the design.

One of the more intriguing aspects of this ring is the fact that they used the block “GIANTS” logo from the previous era (1980’s-1999). This being put on the same side as the Super Bowl trophy and score, a 21-17 triumph over Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In our CEO’s estimation, this is the best looking Super Bowl ring ever.

Eli Manning showing off his second earned Super Bowl ring.

An irony that can’t go dismissed is the fact that in a stadium that Peyton Manning’s success help construct, his little brother dispatched this generation’s greatest quarterback in Brady, for a second time in the Super Bowl in a 4 year period.

Now Eli Manning has brought another title to Gotham and is just now entering his prime. Think about that for a second. A fleet of receivers and with the rule changes favoring the passing game, he became the quarterback with the most passing yards in a single season to win a Super Bowl with 4,933.

In other words he and the Giants will be back for another one within 3 years. Mark it down in 3 inch bold letters… As for now congratulations to the New York Giants who will be receiving these rings at a gala ceremony sometime in June when they are all finished.

So as we did last year to commemorate the unveiling of the championship ring for the new year, but to offer those rings of  years gone by….

This is the ring for the 1956 New York Giants to commemorate the 1956 NFL Title Game. The Giants won 47-7  in the famous house that “Ruth built”, Yankee Stadium. The 50.000 plus braved the elements to watch Vince Lombardi’s offense put up 47 points and Tom Landry’s defense allowed only 1 touchdown.  The Giants appeared in 6 world championship games between 1956-1963 with the lone year they won in 1956.

The famous chant of “defense…defense” rose from the rafters of Yankee Stadium during this era as well as the original mastery of Tom Landry’s 4-3 defense bore fruit. It became the rage of the league and a staple of how modern NFL teams would platoon their 11 defenders. One note to offer is that the 4-3 as a defense gained it’s notoriety here although it’s original teachings came from head coach Joe Kuharick out of Philadelphia. Landry and New York got the credit because they won with it. Something to think about.

The Giants only won one championship during this era while dropping 2 titles in 1958 and 1959 to the Baltimore Colts. Then dropping two to Green Bay in 1961 and 1962…then a famous defensive struggle to the Chicago Bears in 1963. They were a juggernaut that dominated an era that ushered in pro football as the premier sport of America and fruit that sprang forth from this team were two of the greatest coaches in NFL history.

Tom Landry who went on to win 2 championships while piloting the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1989. Then Vince Lombardi, the universally accepted greatest coach of all time, who was the winningest coach of the 1960’s with 5 title wins in a decade with the Green Bay Packers. He became the measure of all NFL coaches once his tenure was over and had the Giants not accepted racial and religious popular prejudice during that long forgotten time, could have had an Italian Catholic rule the football world the same year an Irish Catholic in John F Kennedy became President of the United States.

After a 30 year drought, the New York Giants became the world champion after bludgeoning the Denver Broncos 39-20 out in Pasadena for Super Bowl XXI. NFL MVP Lawrence Taylor and the Giants defense was in the  midst of allowing only 2 yards during the 3rd period. While consequently the Giants, led by Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms, was in the midst of scoring 17 unanswered points to pull ahead 26-10. Erasing a 10-9 halftime lead that the Broncos had everything go right for them yet were undone after a brilliant goal line stand.

Once that stand had taken place and the Broncos Rich Karlis missed two chip shot field goals, the Broncos fate was sealed as the Giants roared back. Bill Parcells had restored the dignity of a once proud franchise with this win and an up and coming Bill Belichick was the architect of this swarming 3-4 defense.

In the NFC playoff games that preceded Super Bowl XXI, the Giants had bested the San Francisco 49ers (team of the 1980s) by a score of 49-3 and the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship 17-0. The win over the Niners was one of the most lopsided in modern NFL history and was one where the Giants defense knocked Joe Montana from the game. Many speculated that this would be the end for Montana’s playing career. He did come back yet thoughts of this game lingered whenever the Giants played the 49ers for the rest of the decade.

The NFC championship represented the third straight year the game ended in a shutout. It also marked the 2nd time in 3 years that the loser of the NFC Championship would go on to win the Super Bowl the following year. So 1986 was the Giant’s year….Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms, NFL MVP Lawrence Taylor. and 1,516 yard rusher and 21TDs from RB Joe Morris powered this championship. Bill Parcells became a household name as coach and a little known defensive co-ordinator in Bill Belichick started receiving recognition.

Coming on the heels of that ’86 champion some 4 years later was a monumental champion that somehow seems forgotten about in remembrance. The 1990 unit that won it all in Super Bowl XXV was the first team ever to average less than a turnover a game (13 in 16 games) and had to overcome the two time defending champion San Francisco 49ers 15-13  in the NFC Championship just to make it to the big dance.

Once there they had to best the greatest AFC team in a decade to win it all. So powerful was that 1990 Buffalo Bills squad that they had won the AFC Championship 51-3 while forcing the Raiders to just 3 turnovers. They were that much better than their AFC counterpart on that day. Yet the Giants roped them into a defensive slugfest while employing just two defensive linemen and funneling the Bills potent receivers into the middle of a defense that had linebackers waiting for them.

Although Phil Simms sat on the sideline, the ’90 Giants became the second team to win it all with a quarterback who began the season as second string. Jeff Hostetler ironically repaced the incumbent Simms during a week 13 game against the Buffalo Bills where Phil was lost for the season with a foot injury. He added a scrambling element that supplemented the power running game of Ottis OJ Anderson (the [[_]]) to keep defenses guessing and furthermore blitzing. This was the missing ingredient to a rather pedestrian offense that gave the Giants an edge once the post season came around. Teams already had to account for the dangerous Dave Meggett, and now were totally afraid to blitz the conservative Giants QB for fear of what could now be gained with his scrambling ability.

Not only was this the last championship won by Bill Parcells, Lawrence Taylor, Bill Belichick and George Young. The Giants won with a young WR coach in Tom Coughlin who had a protege in WR Mark Ingram, who’s son would go on to win the Heisman Trophy in 2009. The Giants also featured DE Leonard Marshall, who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Marshall is the only Giant to record sacks in both Super Bowl XXI and XXV triumphs along with new ILB starter Thomas “Pepper” Johnson who would go on to the New England Patriots with Romeo Crennel and go on to win 3 Super Bowls as a member of that staff under Bill Belichick.

Speaking of Bill Belichick, after a failed stint in Cleveland he resurfaced with the New England Patriots to start the 2000 season.  He along with the aforementioned former Giants went on to create a dynasty 2 decades later in New England. Their crowning jewel was to become the first 19-0 NFL champion ever.

After winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years, it seemed the Patritots had run their course as the NFL’s vanguard. With some slight retooling, they acquired WR Randy Moss and WR Wes Welker and went on to become the winningest team in NFL history at 16-0 and became it’s highest scoring ever with 589 points during the 2007 NFL season. To become the greatest ever all they had to do was win Super Bowl XLII. Easy money…right?? After all they beat the Giants in the final week 38-35.

Well after Randy Moss scored to make it 17-14, the Patriots had finally overcome the New York pass rush, which had hounded Brady all night long. Eli Manning started his ascent to greatness with several plays in the final drive. He did have a little bit of luck though… Asante Samuel had the win sealed for the Patriots….but he dropped the interception.

Never give your enemy a second chance.

With that came one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl history. Eli broke free from two Patriots who had their hands on him… he broke free to scramble right and heaved a prayer of a pass that David Tyree caught using the top of his helmet. Once that happened the will of the Patriots totally broke as Eli and the Giants marched into history with a monumental upset. So resigned to their fate where the Patriots they left CB Ellis Hobbs (5″10) alone on Plaxico Burress (6’5) and blitzed while Eli feathered a pass into the left flank of the endzone. Michael Strahan finished his distinguished career as a Super Bowl champion. Champagne popped for Head Coach Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, Michael Strahan, the New York Giants…AND the ’72 Dolphins!! Perfect!!

Now the Giants proved it was no fluke beating the Patriots again and had this latest crown jewel to add to their collection. Enjoy it for one more year and the Giants aren’t finished yet either. They will be back for their 5th Super Bowl win within the next few years…quite possibly when their Meadowlands hosts the first outdoor cold weather Super Bowl. Stay tuned… Eli is a silent killer.

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Super Bowl XLVI: The Chancellor’s Thoughts On The Game

Now that was a hell of a Super Bowl. The New York Giants roped the New England Patriots into another slugfest and won their eighth world championship 21-17. It was a mirror of Super Bowl XLII all over again only this time there was a glaring difference. The Patriots were unable to stretch the field as they could in 2007 and the Giants knew it. During the second half of yesterday’s football game the Giants played plenty of subtle tricks on Tom Brady that ultimately won the game. OK Eli Manning had something to do with it.

Now a two time Super Bowl winning coach in 4 years; What’s Tom Coughlin’s chances for the Hall of Fame??

Once the Giants gave up the touchdown to start the second half, the Giants deployed an interesting defense. They came out in a nickel cover 2 look with a linebacker taking the deep zone and safeties Kenny Phillips and Antrell Rolle actually playing just fifteen yards downfield.  They stayed put rather than go deep. Think back to the Patriots final drive. Remember the two passes over the middle that were incomplete to Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez?? Well the first one you’ll note was tipped by Phillips and went behind Branch. The second Hernandez took his eye off the football. This was an example of that play. Another was when we watched LB Chase Blackburn run all the way down the field to intercept a bomb for Gronkowski.

You’ll notice that Tom Brady had to come off his first and second reads many times in that second half and up until that final drive was the story of the game. They got pressure on him by crowding his crossing routes without a deep threat.  The forgotten sparkplug to it all was Antrel Rolle (The [[_]]) who came over from the Arizona Cardinals over a season ago. His athleticism as a former cornerback, helped disguise when the Giants were going to blitz,  go man to man, or deploy him as a slot corner with his taking on Wes Welker much of the evening.  Welker caught 7 balls for 60 yards and had little yardage after the catch. These defensive tactics were overlooked by pundits thanks to Eli Manning’s final drive. The Patriots were exposed for being slow just as the Jets had in last year’s AFC divisional playoff loss.

Eli avoids Ninkovich to throw during Super Bowl XVLI

Yet there was Eli Manning, whom we dubbed the silent killer before the NFC Championship Game, just played his way into the Hall of Fame.  How?? Did you see that laser of a pass to Manningham for 38 yards at the start of that final 88 yard drive?? In the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl with everything on the line, he threw atop the cornerback and before the safety in cover 2?? In XLII, he fought off the pass rush and got lucky with David Tyree holding the ball against his helmet making a circus catch. This time he looked off the safety, kept his feet in throwing position and rotated into the throw. One of the best passes ever in a championship game. The throw was perfect and took guts.

Today’s quarterbacking has been reduced to throwing to the running back if the read takes away your receivers. Very passive. Manning knew where he was going the whole time. Even when the read tells him to go elsewhere with the ball. You’ll notice him take those subtle steps in the direction of Manningham to shorten the throw and gain the trajectory necessary to squeeze that throw in there taking the angle away from S Patrick Chung. THAT is quarterbacking!! Not only did Eli Manning gain 7 first downs on that drive, just like Super Bowl XLII. Not one of his throws was off during that final drive as he methodically marched the Giants to the go ahead touchdown. Going 30 for 40 for 296 yards and 1 touchdown.

Hall of Fame?? Well the last time we saw Peyton Manning in a Super Bowl, he threw the critical interception that Tracy Porter  returned for a touchdown to put the nail in the Colts coffin in Super Bowl XLIV. Eli didn’t do that. What about the 92 yard drive in Super Bowl XXIII, when Joe Montana drove the 49ers to the winning touchdown against Cincinnati?? Eli equaled that with an 88 yard drive in this one and Montana didn’t have a throw as lethal as the 38 yarder to Manningham. Eight years ago in Super Bowl XXXVIII, we anointed Tom Brady to Hall of Fame status when leading his second Super Bowl winning drive against the Carolina Panthers. Well guess what Eli just led his second. Yes he’s a Hall of Famer!! Yes we said it just as we forshadowed this may be his run to greatness before the NFC Championship Game.

What is the legacy of Tom Coughlin now that his Giants won Super Bowl XLVI over the Patriots this past Sunday?? Talking heads are bantering in Indianapolis over this 5 game run to the Super Bowl, yet no one is regarding that he may be a great coach. He won his second  Vince Lombardi trophy in five years. Equal to that of his mentor Bill Parcells who won two in a four year span.  Is he a Hall of Fame coach?? Well they just removed the 1988 San Francisco 49ers from the record book for winning the Super Bowl with the lowest record. (9-7 to 10-6 for 49ers)

Super Bowl XLII Championship Ring

Everyone also forgets he almost went undefeated in 1999. His Jacksonville Jaguars went 14-2 and had homefield throughout the playoffs. Before game 15 they were on pace to break the record for fewest points allowed in a 16 game season also. However they got swept during the regular season by the Tennessee Titans and Jeff Fisher. The Titans also beat them in the AFC Championship Game to end Coughlin’s Jags season 33-14. They did have a rousing win in the AFC Divisional round with a 61-7 win over Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Dolphins.

Eli Manning just became a Hall of Fame quarterback tying Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr as fellow 2 time Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks.

Want some irony?? Fisher had some parting verbal shots at Jacksonville and the Jaguars were never the same. Coughlin gets fired a few years later. Fisher goes on to lose Super Bowl XXXIV to the St. Louis Rams. Now Jeff Fisher is the St. Louis Rams head coach after NOT winning a Super Bowl in Tennessee. Guess what Fisher did this Sunday?? He sat his ass on a couch and watched Tom Coughlin win his second Super Bowl to put his name on the short list of great coaches who have accomplished that.

Right now, the New York Giants are World Champions and a parade awaits. Congratulations on a remarkable run.

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Super Bowl XLVI Preview:Bill Belichick & His Place In History

The best coach of the last 50 years and possibly in the history of the NFL

When you talk of the great coaches in NFL history, even the ardent Patriot hater has to put Bill Belichick on the short list. If his team leaves Lucas Oil Stadium with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, it’s namesake will be the only coach he can be compared to. It would be his fourth championship as a head coach and sixth overall. All of this coming in the modern era with player movement in true free agency?? Yikes!! You’d have to look at it like this… Vince Lombardi was the greatest coach in the first 50 years of NFL history (1920-1969) and Belichick would be the greatest from 1970 to the present.

How can we say that?? First let’s dispel the “Spy Gate” situation. In a game of simulated war with blitzes and bombs and protecting zone areas on a field / map: wouldn’t you expect some sort of espionage?? Dont forget that in 1958 John Steadman of the Baltimore Sun Times reported that Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom had an assistant watch the New York Giants practice before the NFL Championship Game. Rosenbloom assured him that if he were caught, he’d have a job for life with the team. Watch the NFL Films production on the 1958 Championship and you can hear it first hand.

Then somewhere in the 60’s to put an end to this, Pete Rozell put in Tuesday film swap day. That way the teams could share intel on each other to put the spy thing to bed. Yet everyone is always trying to steal other team’s signals. Fast forward to Bill Walsh in 1979 who was the first to script his 15 plays and have an elaborate sheet with plays in front of him.  He was the first head coach to be completely under a headset all game long. Whenever he would call plays he would use his play sheet to cover his mouth to protect himself from lip readers. This practice is still in place today. Watch the playcaller on the sideline and where once teams had elaborate hand signals, now hold up a play sheet. Quarterbacks have transmitters in their helmets now.

So quit hawking Belichick about that already. Now back to what we were saying…

If you look at his tenure against other coaches from 1970 on, you can’t come up with a more successful coach. He just made his 5th Super Bowl to tie Tom Landry. If he wins he’ll have tied Chuck Noll with 4 Super Bowl titles. Yet what sets him apart is only Tom Brady remains from his 2001 championship where Noll won with primarily the same players. Hell, only 1 defensive starter remains from the 2007 defense that went 16-0. That would be Vince Wilfork. Noll never returned to the Super Bowl and only made 1 AFC Championship after the 70’s run. Belichick has won with 3 incarnations of the Patriots since 2001. Tom Landry and Don Shula did that but neither could get past 2 championships with Belichick going for number 4. Which would put him ahead of Bill Walsh who has 3.

So it’s at this point, the New York Giants are the gatekeepers to history. With this win Belichick will ascend to the rank of the greatest coach in the last 50 years of the NFL. Ironically he won his first two as a defensive co-ordinator for the New York Giants. Another irony is he doesn’t seem to be close to retirement. If there are other championships in his future he would even have to best Lombardi and be thought of as the greatest ever coach.

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Lucas Oil Stadium May No Longer Be Peyton’s Place

Peyton Manning pictured before Super Bowl XLIV

Welcome to the NFL’s newest melodrama?? Hopefully it will be a softer landing for Peyton Manning than it was for Brett Favre before him, Joe Montana before that, and Johnny Unitas before that. The end of a tenure for a future Hall of Fame quarterback being messy is more the norm than we care to admit. Who could forget the dreadful images of Joe Namath wearing Los Angeles Rams blue. Warren Moon as a Seattle Seahawk. This will end badly for Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts fans as he will depart and wear another team’s colors next year.

Fans of Peyton Manning want to see him retire rather than play for another but the fact of the matter is he still wants to play. A competitor’s fire doesn’t go out just because a team’s fanbase doesn’t want to lose him. We saw this with the harsh divorce between Brett Favre and Green Bay before he moved on to the New York Jets. The same thing when Joe Montana was healed from the multi-wounds meted out from Leonard Marshall in the 1990 NFC Championship, before leaving San Francisco some two years later.

However each of those situations had soon to be NFL MVP heir apparents in Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers already in tow. In this instance, the only thing we know for sure is that a massive rebuilding process is sure to begin with the drafting of QBAndrew Luck of Stanford. The tell tale signs were there with the surprising firing of  Bill Polian, who drafted Manning in ’98 and shaped a team around him to maximize his abilities. Peyton’s staple was everywhere within the framework of the Colts offense. Receivers and running backs that were heady and steady performers became the norm with the Colts constantly drafting low. Joseph Addai playing out fakes with Manning were as important as his ability to run and catch. Same with finding quick, smart receivers like Anthony Gonzalez, Austin Collie, and Pierre Garcon’ as Marvin Harrison retired and Reggie Wayne aged. The players had to be able to match and adjust to Peyton’s audibles.

Peyton Manning was his own de-facto Offensive Co-ordinator,as Bill Polian shaped the personnel to fit the Colts offensive schemes..

With the telling shot of releasing Polian, the veil of protection and autonomy surrounding Peyton has vanished in an instant. Unprotected by management, we hear two out of character outbursts from what has been the preeminent franchise in terms of off field incidents. Think about it a second…. Can you remember any incidents since Manning and Tony Dungy were called out by former kicker Mike Vanderjagt?? How many years ago was that?? First Peyton voices his opinion of how  difficult it’s been to see many colleagues let go in the front office. Than to hear an opinion back from none other than Colts owner Robert Irsay toward Manning. Are you kidding?? Through the media??

This has been the Colt’s and the league’s golden child. Now we hear Manning take the high road explaining they have to ‘handle things in-house in a professional fashion’. The act of this coming through the media illustrates a loss in status and respect toward Manning.

As for Peyton Manning the man… His missing the whole season may have eroded his stance with Colts management. He’s sought multiple opinions to get himself back on the field to no avail in 2011. Yet his ego will take a serious blow this Sunday, when he sits in a stadium he built, and watch his little brother Eli take on his AFC arch nemesis Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLVI. The competitor within will be seething although he will deflect any questions that come his way. Inside we’re sure he will be thinking “Why can’t the Super Bowl be anywhere else?”

For those that thought he would retire, Peyton would have pulled the plug before the Polian firing. He knows / knew what was coming and that is why he’s standing there watching the front office carnage up close, wondering if he will meet a similar demise. Yet anyone in business will tell you…. You don’t keep a pillar of a former regime in place when trying to establish a new management system or style in senior management. Just ask former Oakland Raider coach Hue Jackson. Peyton Manning as that last standing pillar will fall next month when he’s due a $28 million dollar roster bonus. Right now, quarterback starved teams like the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and such have to be salivating at having a shot at a future Hall of Famer. Even for a few years. The only question will be will they need to orchestrate a trade to beat the competition, or wait for the imminent release and free agency scramble for him.

Remember how you felt when you saw that Sports Illustrated article with Joe Montana and Marcus Allen first pictured in Kansas City red for the first time?? We’ll see something like that with Manning if he’s cleared to play… bank on it

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NFC Championship Preview: Alex Smith Coming of Age

The new Alex Smith

As the 49ers came to the line of scrimmage with :14 seconds left, Alex Smith was just 14 yards away from forever changing the perception of him league-wide. He had battled Drew Brees head to head in a wild 4th quarter in last week’s NFC Divisional Tilt with the Saints holding a 32-29 lead. It’s at this point after the spike everyone held their collective breath as to what was going to happen. Would they go for the tie and play in overtime or would they shun conservative logic and go for the win?? What were you thinking as the 49ers broke that huddle?? Did you have faith in Alex Smith borne from this game where he already had accounted for 3 touchdowns or were you waiting for the old Alex Smith to emerge and throw an interception?? Tell the truth…

Well last Sunday, Alex Smith turned into the quarterback 49ers brass envisioned when they drafted him out of the University of Utah some 6 years back. Less than a year ago they weren’t sure if Alex Smith was their future. They selected Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick with their 2nd round pick in last April’s draft, throwing Smith’s future in serious jeopardy. Yet with new found confidence in himself, courtesy of his relationship with new head coach Jim Harbaugh, Smith progressed.

The NFC Championship Trophy the Giants and 49ers will be playing for.

Over the course of the season, many pundits and fans alike thought of Smith as no more than a care taker of the 49er offense. Play to the strength of Frank Gore’s running, don’t turn it over, and unleash a rested defense on opponents. It all went according to plan until 2 quarters into the divisional playoff, when the high flying New Orleans offense woke from a haze and started moving the football. Smith had engineered a 17-0 advantage when Brees brought the Saints back to within 3 cutting the Niner lead to 17-14 at halftime. Gone was the defensive swagger from the San Francisco defense and the realization that Smith and the offense would have to keep pace to win it.

Fast forward to :14 seconds left… Which Alex Smith would emerge?? The quarterback with the jittery feet who was unsure of himself and threw off his backfoot of previous vintage?? Or would the confident, almost swaggering player who showed up to battle Brees tooth and nail complete a miraculous transformation?? The second his drop back plant foot hit, Smith uncorked a rocket to Vernon Davis just beyond the zone patrolled by Scott Shanle for the winning touchdown.

He had transformed himself forever and celebrated in the endzone with his teammates and the ghosts of Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jeff Garcia. Candlestick Park and everyone who watched this game was in disbelief. Not that the 49ers won, it was Smith’s surprising emergence into a quarterback who could win a big playoff game. He stood toe to toe and gunned down media darling and Super Bowl winning quarterback Drew Brees to lead the 49ers to their first NFC Championship Game since 1997.

The question is: What will he do for an encore?? Will he join the ghosts of Montana, Young, and Garcia and beat the New York Giants in a home playoff game?? Each one of his predecessors have. With one more win we can have our first rookie coach to make it to the Super Bowl since Denver Broncos Red Miller in 1977. One thing is he’ll have Coach Harbaugh’s confidence in taking the field tomorrow to prove he’s worthy of a Super Bowl trip. He has to best another Super Bowl winning quarterback to get there. Yet the road Alex Smith has had to travel to get to this point…

  • Considered a first round draft bust, by many, heading into this season.
  • Enduring two head coaches other than Harbaugh in Singletary and Nolan where he played very unsure of himself.
  • Persevering the carousel of 5 different offensive co-ordinators and numerous benchings in his first 5 seasons. Benched for Shaun Hill and Troy Smith to name a few.
  • Having to swallow his pride and rededicate himself after the 49ers drafted an heir apparent replacement in Colin Kaepernick.

He definitely has the chance to erase a history that he distanced himself from last week. A second win and a Super Bowl berth will anoint him into a light that has been reserved for a Matt Ryan or a Joe Flacco. Quarterbacks who have been anointed by the media yet haven’t proved anything in playoff competition yet. Not to the degree that we witnessed last week in Candlestick…

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2011 NFC Championship Preview; Eli Manning “The Silent Killer”

George Halas Trophy: Awarded to the NFC Champion

As the NFL train heads for the NFC Championship, one passenger looks strangely familiar to us. We’ve seen him before and haven’t really given him his due as how great he’s actually becoming. Do you realize thanks to last week; Eli Manning is the only quarterback in NFL history to defeat two different teams with 15 regular season wins?? He was the quarterback of the Super Bowl XLII upset of the 16-0 New England Patriots, and now conquered the 15-1 Packers last week in Lambeau. Is it time we consider him great?? We know…get up off the floor and consider this; he has more signature playoff wins than his celebrated brother Peyton. In fact he’s the tougher quarterback between the two.

Stop and think of the signature games Eli has in his back pocket. Everyone remembers the run to the Super Bowl in 2007 especially the Dallas Cowboys. Remember that group?? An emerging Tony Romo and Terrell Owens sparkled as they ran to an NFC best 13-3 record and the championship of the Eastern Division. Then in a frigid Lambeau Field took down the 13-3 Green Bay in Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer. The most startling fact were these two games and the Super Bowl that year were all of these teams beat Eli and the Giants in their first meeting. Something the 49ers should take solace in since they defeated Manning’s Giants 27-20 in November.

Last weekend propelled Alex Smith into a higher echelon of quarterbacks, yet where did the 37-20 defeat of the Packers propel Eli?? We have to remember he is already a Super Bowl winning quarterback although the sporting press doesn’t cover him like one. He isn’t coddled like his brother when it comes to his short comings. Think about it for a second…. Had Eli Manning thrown a 4th quarter interception to seal his team’s fate in a Super Bowl you would never hear the end of it. We hardly hear of his triumph in Super Bowl XLII, he’s treated like a supporting actor to the upset itself or even David Tyree’s helmet catch. Neither of which could have taken place without Eli’s heroics. If you can remember Eli had to break free of two linemen and scrambled before throwing that famous pass to Tyree.

The silent killer

With a win this week, Manning will have his 7th playoff win and second Super Bowl appearance. He has a 5-3 record in the playoffs and get this he’s 5-1 away from home in the playoffs including the Super Bowl, for his career. Contrast that against Peyton’s 3-6 record away from home in the playoffs, which includes a 41-0 devastating loss to the New York Jets. Understand Eli doesn’t have a lopsided postseason loss to that degree on his resume’. It also needs to be reiterated he just missed becoming the 4th quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards this year with 4,933, while throwing for 29TDs to just 16 interceptions. You’re starting to get the feeling that he will win this road game and advance to his second Super Bowl.

No one even comes close to his road post season record. He’s quiet and tremendously unassuming off the field. Yet it’s at this moment we have to anoint him to that of a great quarterback on the precipice of his second Super Bowl. You’d think that the coddling the media has given his brother would have rubbed off on him. That it hasn’t has given him a thicker skin and stronger resolve. The same as being a younger brother getting beat up by his older brother’s Peyton and Cooper.

If Aaron Rodgers ascended to greatness with last year’s postseason, where will that leave Eli if he’s able to pull it off for a second time??  An NFC showdown against the formidable (13-3) 49ers awaits. Yet nothing has rattled a quarterback who has bested 4 teams with that same record or better for his postseason career. Before this championship he ascended to becoming a great quarterback with the win over the Green Bay Packers. With a win in San Francisco he’ll cement it. Can he pull it off?? We’re not betting against the “silent killer”.

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