Giants quarterback Eli Manning was the MVP in both of the Giants’ Super Bowl upset wins over Bill Belichick’s Patriots, but should he have been? In XLII, when the Giants upset the heretofore undefeated Patriots, Manning completed 19 passes in 34 attempts for 255 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, three sacks, and a passer rating of 87.3. And in XLVI, Manning completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, three sacks, and a passer rating of 103.7.
Manning had killer throws in both games — the David Tyree helmet catch in XLII and the deep fade to Mario Manningham in XLVI — but Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck had a legit MVP claim in both of those games.
Throughout his career, pressure up the middle was Tom Brady’s Kryptonite, and Tuck poked that bear for all it was worth in both games. In XLII, Tuck had two sacks, two quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and he was the main man in the Giants’ NASCAR fronts that the Patriots just couldn’t figure out. In XLVI, Tuck started the scoring by forcing an intentional grounding penalty from Brady in the Patriots’ own end zone, and he finished that game with two more sacks, three quarterback hits, and three more tackles for loss.
Were it not for Tuck’s efforts in both of those close games, the Patriots could very well have won.