The Super Bowl is just 10 days away. Let’s look at the Super Bowl from 10 years ago to honor this not-so-significant occasion!

Glendale, Arizona hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. The game pitted the NFC champion New York Giants against the New England Patriots of the American Football Conference.

New England Patriots 10 Years Ago 


Keith Nordstrom

Simply put, the 2007 Patriots are one of the most famous teams in NFL history. Their story starts at the end of 2006 when their stable of no-name wideouts was criticized for struggling in the AFC championship game. Thus, the Pats acquired Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Dante Stallworth to add firepower to their offense. They also added Pro Bowler Adalius Thomas to an already strong defense.

A funny thing happened in their Week One destruction of the New York Jets. The Patriots were caught “spying” on Jets’ signal callers. While videotaping in of itself was not illegal, the manner with which Bill Belichick did it was called out by Commissioner Roger Goodell as inappropriate. Indeed, all owners and coaches were warned of what they could and what they could not do. Belichick was slapped with the stiffest fine for such “gamesmanship” in NFL history.

Greatest Regular Season Ever


Al Bello

Belichick seemingly took his frustration over this situation out on the rest of the league. New England did not just win games in 2007. They pulverized their opponents like nothing ever seen. Quarterback Tom Brady played at an obscene level of greatness. Randy Moss was unstoppable, and Wes Welker was a revelation at slot receiver. The Patriots shattered offensive records left and right.

In the final game of the regular season, they put their undefeated streak on the line against the Giants. The G-men were locked in at a Wild Card spot and had nothing to play for. However, they did not rest their guys and gave the Patriots everything they could not want. In the end, Brady hit Moss for one of the most dramatic regular season touchdowns ever seen. The Pats won the ball game, but the Giants with their fight and resilience made a statement.

In the playoffs, Brady was on fire in a 31-20 victory over Jacksonville. He did not play well the following week against the Chargers. But, New England was the vastly superior team and prevailed 21-12 to earn the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl appearance.

New York Giants 10 Years Ago


Donald Miralle

While the Patriots dominated the ’07 season, the Giants flew under the radar. They started the season 0-2 losing to the two best NFC teams of the regular season: The Cowboys and Packers. They responded with a six-game winning streak behind the much-improved play of fourth-year quarterback Eli Manning and bulky runner Brandon Jacobs.

The Giants were mediocre down the stretch finishing 10-6 after their loss to the Pats. They did, however, have one major strength: pass rush. Michael Strahan and reserve Justin Tuck combined for nineteen sacks on the season. Their best player on defense, though, was Osi Umenyiora. He made the Pro Bowl thanks to his thirteen sacks, forty tackles, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown.

Clutch Manning


In the playoffs, Tom Coughlin’s team won rather handily in the Wild Card game over Tampa Bay. The win earned them a trip to Dallas to face the top-seeded Cowboys. The Cowboys lacked discipline on the big stage, committing eleven penalties. So, despite outgaining New York by 100 yards, Dallas found themselves in a dogfight. The Giants did not have many opportunities to score. But, their red zone trips resulted in 21 points. Tony Romo’s last ditch pass intended for Terry Glenn was off the mark. Hence, the Giants escaped with an improbable 21-17 victory.

In one of the coldest games in NFL history, the Giants played very well in Green Bay. They dominated in time of possession and controlled the second half. However, kicker Lawrence Tynes missed two kicks that could have won the game in regulation for New York. Brett Favre threw an interception early in overtime. This time, Tynes nailed the winner from forty-seven yards out. Red-faced from the extreme conditions, Tom Coughlin ran to the locker room with joy. Super Bowl XLII would be the New York Giants against the undefeated New England Patriots.

Defensive Stalemate


The Giants took the opening possession down the field and settled for a field goal. The Patriots answered by taking their opening drive all the way for a touchdown thanks to a DPI in the end zone against tight end Ben Watson. The score was 7-3 at that point and it remained that way for about two hours!

New England came closest to scoring in the third quarter. But, when faced with a fourth and thirteen at the thirty-one, Belichick decided to go for it instead of trying the field goal. Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Giants moved the ball. First, Manning found tight end Kevin Boss for a 45-yard gain. Then, on a 2nd and 3 from the five, he hit David Tyree for the go-ahead touchdown. It was Tyree’s seventh catch of the entire season.

The Patriots responded by driving the length of the field with Brady going to Welker and Kevin Faulk for big gainers. On a third and goal from the ten, Brady threw a dart to a single-covered Moss for the go-ahead score. It was 14-10 Patriots with 2:35 remaining.

Helmet Catch


The Giants launched a drive for the ages. They converted a fourth and inches from their own 29. Next, Asante Samuel barely missed picking off Manning along the sideline when the Giants had some miscommunication. Then, Manning miraculously escaped pressure and lobbed one for Tyree who made his eighth catch of the season by pinning the ball to his helmet. Rodney Harrison unsuccessfully tried to dislodge the ball from Tyree’s grip.

The Giants converted a 3rd and 11 to Steve Smith followed by the go-ahead touchdown from Manning to Plaxico Burress from the thirteen. Ellis Hobbs was isolated in coverage on Burress. Manning threw a perfect pass and the Giants took the lead. The Patriots almost completed a “Hail Mary” on their final possession, but it harmlessly fell from Randy’s grasp. The Giants won their third Super Bowl and denied New England’s place in the annals of sports history.

The Giants and Patriots would meet again in Super Bowl XLVI four years later. These would be the two most difficult losses of the Belichick/Brady era. On the other hand, these wins cemented Tom Coughlin’s place as a great coach and proved Eli Manning could beat anybody in the clutch.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss another wonderful Super Bowl game between the Steelers and Cardinals.


Brandon Fazzolari is a Super Bowl expert…@spot_Bills