When the epic battle in the freezing weather was over, the New York Giants towered over the favored Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin and booked themselves a seat to Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona.
The match tested both teams' will and grit in the freezing temperature where the mercury pegged at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit and wind chill to minus 24, in what is probably one of the coldest, if not the coldest one in professional football history.
It was a nip and tuck battle between two highly- determined teams of gladiators that wasn’t decided until veteran Green Bay Quarterback Brett Favre made an uncharacteristic mistake when his pass was intercepted by the Giants’ Corey Webster paving the way for Lawrence Tynes’ game clinching 47- yard kick for the NFC Championship with a final score of 23- 20 in overtime.
The Giants won their first NFC championship since 2000 behind Eli Manning’s resurgence and heads- up play in the post season, their hard work on the defensive end and of course, Tynes’ game- winning kick which proved that three’s a charm for him having missed two kicks earlier, one of which could have won them the game in regulation.
It was sweet vindication for Eli Manning who was often criticized for his inconsistency in the field and with a famous and illustrious sibling named Peyton of the Indianapolis Colts who won the Super Bowl XLI last year in Miami, the pressure on him to win the big one is quite enormous.
By the way, Peyton, whose team was dethroned by the Chargers this year, did not watch the game in Lambeau Field so as not to jinx his younger brother in his quest for glory and I think the ploy work.
Eli Manning and the New York Giants (13-6) did it in the end, their struggle to get a wild card just to continue playing in the playoffs was relegated to the background and now they have a chance to go for the big one albeit an uphill climb at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona against the magnificent Tom Brady and the New England Patriots who is the only team in history to own an undefeated season at 18- 0 and won handily against a depleted San Diego Chargers earlier in the day.
But the Patriots are beatable if the Giants' game against them last December 29, 2007 will be the yardstick wherein the Giants led by 12 points in the third quarter before collapsing 38- 35.
As the cliché goes, “It ain’t over ‘til its over” and the Giants are out to prove that come February 3 but only if they can handle the pressure of playing in the biggest game in the biggest of stage of their lives on Super Bowl Sunday.