You can't spell Elite without Eli
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In the offseason before the 2011 season, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was asked if he was an elite quarterback. His answer, in a nutshell, was yes -- comparing himself to the likes of Tom Brady.
Many so-called sports experts thought the notion was ridiculous. Manning proved them wrong on February 5 in Super Bowl XLVI. And for the second time in four years, he did it at Brady's expense.
Manning led a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, including a pass to Mario Manningham that will be replayed for decades, on the way to a 21-17 win over the New England Patriots. Manning was 30-of-40 for 296 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time.
It's important to remember the GIants had to win their final game of the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs at 9-7 -- proof that it's not how you start, it's how you finish.