The day after: Super Bowl reads from every angle

On one hand Eli Manning earned his place among not just the present day’s NFL elite but among the great NFL quarterbacks of all time. While Tom Coughlin rose to the ranks of all-time great NFL coaches.

On the other hand, Touchdown Tom Brady and The Hoodie literally and figuratively let another Super Bowl ring fall from their grasp.

With Super Bowl XLVI now a day behind us, the New York Giants and New England Patriots (indluding Mrs. Tom Brady) supplied plenty of fodder for the nation’s talking heads. Here are some of the highlights.

Dan WetzelYahoo! Sports:

“Brady is a competitor. He’s a worker. For all his fame and fortune now, he’s a self-made quarterback, no one’s glamour boy when this all started. The three Super Bowl wins in his first four years as a starter may have made him think, at least a bit, that the fairy tale always turns out true. These last seven seasons, the first loss to the Giants, the knee injury in 2008, the various playoff disappointments and now this, have changed everything.

Who knows when the opportunity comes again? Brady is 34. Windows always close faster than anyone anticipates. Can he ever get title No. 4? Can he ever get past Eli Manning?”

Ian O’Connor,

“He won the Corvette to go with the Escalade he stole from Tom Brady four years ago. He doubled Peyton’s total of titles right here in Peyton’s place. He led the Giants on another championship drive, made another throw about as absurd as the one to David Tyree‘s head in Super Bowl XLII, and watched as Brady fired up another desperate heave in vain, this time not to Randy Moss but to a small circle of Patriots who couldn’t come down with the ball.”

Mark Kriegel,

“If quarterbacks are ultimately to be judged by championships, then Eli already has done what Peyton could not. Eli’s career, buoyed by a corps of young receivers, still is in its ascent. Only now is he coming into his own, as a quarterback and a leader. Just the same, as his rise plays out against his brother’s inevitable decline, it’s impossible to consider the Mannings without addressing questions of their legacies, as a family, as individuals, and rivals of Tom Brady.”

Bob Ryan, Boston Globe:

“All year long, the question bugging anyone interested in the fortunes of the New England Patriots was this: In a game-saving situation, could the defense get the other guys off the field? This wasn’t just a game-saving situation. This was a Super Bowl-saving situation. The lead was 17-15. There was 3:46 remaining in the game. The Giants were 88 yards from a touchdown and perhaps 53 or so yards from a potential winning field goal.

You can say the offense coulda/shoulda/woulda done more to hand over a bigger lead, but it is a team game, and now the defense had to do its job. And it couldn’t. In a scenario eerily reminiscent of both Super Bowl XLII and the regular-season game of Nov. 6, the Patriots could not get Eli Manning and his offense off the field.”

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times:

“If this was not the end of the New England Patriots dynasty, you could certainly hear it from here. On a night the New York Giants stole their Super Bowl, mistakes filled their hands, recklessness rocked their focus, and mortality rumbled in the distance. On a night when Lucas Oil Stadium was filled with rock-star roars for Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his team’s 21-17 victory, the disillusionment that engulfed the Patriots late Sunday sounded very like a farewell.

You could hear it in the clack-clack-clack of the high heels of Gisele Bundchen as the supermodel furiously chased husband Tom Brady while he sagged down a hallway toward the interview room. When she finally caught up to the Patriots quarterback, she smothered him in a long, tearful hug and didn’t care who was watching.

You could hear it in the bursts of cursing from Patriots coaches as they walked down the stairs from the press box to the locker room, their long and lamenting wails carrying five stories down.”

Mike Freeman,

“Tom Brady looked nervous. Wait. That’s not right. Tom Brady looked … scared. As the Super Bowl pressed on and the Giants pass rush intensified, Brady’s dropback became sloppier, his patience shorter and his feet happier. The Giants were inside his head especially after Justin Tuck sacked him. The Giants pulled up a chair, popped a six-pack and began rummaging through every neuron that wasn’t nailed down like gremlins on a sugar high.

This was both Brady’s finest moment and his worst. The same could be said for Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Both are among the best in history. Both have forgotten more about their craft than most will ever know but there is no question about the following: their impressive legacies take a hit. A pretty good sized one, too. There are some already reassessing the Patriots legacy.

Noting that the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since the Spygate scandal, Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison tweeted just minutes after the game: ‘Told you, cheaters never win!!!!!!!!!’”

Mike Vaccaro, New York Post:

“He’s been up and down and over and out, time and again, yet now, after this, after these two improbable championships, there is little question that whenever Coughlin decides he is done — and that will be entirely his decision now, make no mistake — he will take the passing lane to Canton, to the Hall of Fame, to a bronze bust and immortality. In so many ways, this was the season he came as close as he ever has to channeling his hero, John Wooden, the old UCLA basketball coach.”

Joe Posnanski,

“Call it The Reluctant Touchdown. Ahmad Bradshaw‘s awkward and unwilling flop into the end zone is part of Super Bowl lore now — there with Rice-to-Montana, there with David Tyree’s helmet catch, there with Lynn Swann‘s ballet, there with Mike Jones‘ tackle one-yard shy. Those moments defined their times. In many ways, The Reluctant Touchdown defines ours.”

Mike Lupica, New York Daily News:

“This was the night, in the second Super Bowl against the Patriots, the second time he won the game for his team in the last minute of a Super Bowl, that Eli Manning made it all official, that he is not just one of the great clutch quarterbacks in the history of his sport, but as great a clutch athlete as we have ever had in New York, in anything. Nobody takes his team down the field and does it like this twice with an NFL championship on the line, not Johnny Unitas or Joe Montana or anybody. Only now Eli has.”