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New York Giants News and Notes: Super Bowl Bound Edition

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Good morning fellow Giants fans. I don't know about you, but I did fall asleep eventually last night. And like most of you reading this right now, I am in happy disbelief that the Giants pulled out another of the greatest wins in franchise history Sunday night--a stunning OT thriller by the Bay to send Big Blue to the Super Bowl once again. I could babble about this historic win all day, but let's see what everyone else is saying the morning after......

D'Alessandro: Giants' Tom Coughlin always believed in his team |
You look back at the last five weeks and still shake your head. How does a 7-7 team earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Indianapolis in two weeks? By having faith, is our guess. By listening to a remarkable, indomitable coach. At least that’s what the owner thinks. His coach is a man who feels certitude when others feel doubt, even when there was a gong watch for his job back in Week 15 or so. Now, in the stunning aftermath of the Giants’ triumph, you have to wonder whether Coughlin himself is almost as stunned as the rest of us.

NY Giants head to Super Bowl XLVI to face Tom Brady and Patriots with same magic that beat New England in 2008 - NY Daily News
An overtime championship game for the Giants. Again. Nobody had ever had two of those, until Tom Coughlin’s Giants, who came from nowhere to this one, who had that 7-7 record, and have now won five in a row from there, gone from nowhere to Indy.

Giants’ Manning Delivers in Fourth Quarter Yet Again -
Amid the postgame bedlam near the Giants’ team bus, Peyton’s smile was nearly as wide as Eli’s. The elder Manning, whose neck injury kept him sidelined the entire season and has put his status with the Indianapolis Colts into question, did not tell his younger brother that he was planning to attend Sunday’s game. He did not ask Eli for tickets and did not alert him to his presence until greeting him with a celebratory hug. "I told him I loved him," Peyton said. "I told him I was proud of him." From a quarterback’s perspective, Peyton was particularly proud of the touchdown pass Manning threw with just under nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

What a story that is. Apparently the Fox camera crews had no idea Peyton was in the building as well.

Mike Vaccaro says Giants in this miracle run for long haul -
They aren’t cute, cuddly overachievers anymore. Many of them are veterans of that remarkable game, and many others bear scars of the three seasons in between that fell flat in one way and short in other ways. All of them were 6-6 at one point this season, and 7-7. As a group, they weren’t just written off but buried, cast aside, afterthoughts. Until they started winning. Until they shut up the Jets and shook off the Cowboys, until they blasted Atlanta out of MetLife Stadium, until they walked into Lambeau Field and slapped the Packers silly, then came here to the ’Stick and out-wrestled the Niners in the muck and the mud. Five weeks. Five potential one-and-dones. Five victories. From 7-7 on the brink to 12-7 and Indianapolis.

NY Giants' Victor Cruz makes his point against 49ers, even without a touchdown |
Cruz said he won the duel in the first meeting when he caught six balls for 84 yards. Tonight, he won it again — emphatically. The second-year receiver torched Rogers and the rest of the San Francisco 49ers' secondary with 10 catches for 142 yards, continuing what has become a surreal breakout season.

Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin survive again to lead New York Giants to Super Bowl XLVI - Don Banks -
The Giants are Super Bowl-bound once again -- for the second time in five seasons -- because Manning and Coughlin never believe what they hear. They have confidence in their abilities, resiliency in their nature, and an iron-clad belief in how they go about their business of playing quarterback and coaching a football team.

NY Giants' Mario Manningham comes through for Big Blue this time around; Tom Coughlin predicts Lawrence Tynes NFC Championship Game - NY Daily News
The last time the Giants had faced the Niners, on Nov. 13, Big Blue left Candlestick Park with a 27-20 loss, and Manningham had failed to dive for a late Manning TD pass that would have tied the game. That didn’t happen this time.

New York Giants wide receivers, especially Victor Cruz, have big day against 49ers - San Jose Mercury News
Cruz's performance highlighted another dominant performance by the Giants wide receivers, against a vaunted San Francisco defense, no less. New York wide receivers -- Cruz, Nicks and Mario Manningham -- combined for 214 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Lawrence Tynes and NY Giants weather elements at Candlestick Park and San Francisco 49ers - NY Daily News
This one Sunday, the one that won his second NFC title with his second overtime kick, was from 31 yards, dead center. Sounds easy enough, except the football was slippery, Tynes had to wait about five minutes for the kick, the rain was blowing, the pressure was indescribable and the snap was low. No matter. Tynes slowed his approach just a bit to give Steve Weatherford a chance to recover and set up. The football sailed straight through the uprights, the Giants won 20-17 and now Tynes gets to kick against the Patriots again in a Super Bowl.

By the way, how many of you were hoping for a touchdown there at the end, or getting Tynes to the 1-yard line to have essentially an extra point? I know I was, but I'm thankful things ended the way they did!

Mario Manningham catches fourth-quarter touchdown as Giants beat 49ers, 20-17, for NFC Championship -
Mario Manningham rewarded fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks’ faith with a catch that helped lift the Giants to the Super Bowl. "I led the prayer [before the game] and told him he was going to make the winning touchdown catch," Nicks said. "He believed in it, and he went out there and did it."

By the way, contrast the TD celebrations of Vernon Davis and Manningham. I mean, Davis is a great player, and I have no problem with excessive celebrations as a rule, but I love how Manningham quietly celebrated with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

Giants vs. 49ers: Jacquian Williams, Devin Thomas become unlikely heroes for Giants |
Add the names Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas to the list of improbable postseason heroes for the Giants.

New York Giants' defense comes up big on third downs against 49ers |
The 49ers would finish 1-for-13 in that situation, the lone conversion coming on a meaningless play with the Giants in prevent as time expired in regulation.

Steve Serby on Super Bowl rematch between Eli Manning and Tom Brady -
For Manning and Coughlin, it is a chance to win their second Super Bowl together, which means it is a chance for Coughlin to tie Bill Parcells, and it is a chance for Manning to carry the banner for little brothers everywhere with one more championship than big brother Peyton. In the meantime, he is the first Giants quarterback to take the franchise to two Super Bowls.

Steve Weatherford Giants punter finally gets to Super Bowl after win over 49ers -
The third time was indeed the charm for Steve Weatherford last night. All it took was the veteran punter changing New Jersey football addresses. After back-to-back championship game failures with the Jets, Weatherford latched on with the Giants and finally landed that Super Bowl trip he feared would never happen yesterday thanks to a 20-17 overtime victory over the 49ers.

Mark Purdy: In the end, miscues end 49ers' magical season - San Jose Mercury News
The 49ers had every chance to win. Based on two touchdown passes to solid-granite tight end Vernon Davis, they took a 7-3 lead in the first half and were ahead, 14-10, with 11:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. They could practically smell a Super Bowl trip to Indianapolis in two weeks. But then punt returner Kyle Williams made two bad mistakes -- a muff and fumble, losing the ball twice to the Giants -- and there went the plane ride to Indiana.

And I know we need a day (or two) to celebrate the NFC title, but here is a small bit looking forward to the Super Bowl on February 5...

Quick Take: Giants-Patriots Super Bowl - AFC East Blog - ESPN
Three things to know about Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played Feb. 5 between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots in Indianapolis:

Congrats to the Giants' organization, the players, the coaches and the fans. We are NFC champions, and we are Super Bowl bound. Believe it!