Tom Coughlin says that when he addressed his New York Giants team following a loss to the Washington Redskins that dropped the Giants to 7-7, he told them if they won out, they’d make the playoffs, then he walked out of the room. Nearly two months later, Coughlin walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium with a second Super Bowl ring.
The Giants trailed heading into the fourth quarter, but got a late, perhaps accidental, touchdown from Ahmad Bradshaw and then saw their defense hang on in the final minute against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to win 21-17.
Tom Coughlin and several Giants players joined Westwood One with Mark Malone and James Lofton in the moments after the victory to discuss the wild finish, the Patriots allowing the late touchdown on purpose, a second Super Bowl victory in four years, what the thoughts were when the team was 7-7, Victor Cruz’s touchdown, Eli Manning’s clutch play and Bradshaw’s touchdown.
Eli Manning on the wild finish:
“We’ve had a couple of them all year. We’ve had great fourth quarters. The whole second half, the defense did a great job. Offensively, we were driving the ball. It was tough getting touchdowns. But there are the end, when we needed one, we needed a big drive, the guys stepped up and made some outstanding plays.”
How surprised were you that New England let you guys score that late touchdown?:
“I had a feeling they might do that right there. A minute left, they have one timeout, it was a mistake by me not telling him beforehand. I thought about reaching back and yelling at him. Right as I handed him the ball, I said, ‘Don’t score! Don’t score!’ I knew they were going to go easy. He thought about it and rolled in the end zone. But our defense played strong there at the end and insured the victory.”
Where’s your first Super Bowl MVP car and what will you do with this one?:
“I still have the first one. It’s sitting around and it’s kind of like a trophy. I’ll keep onto it, but this is about the win. It’s all about winning the championship for the Giants organization, all these players. I’m just happy to get this victory.”
Tom Coughlin on his second Super Bowl victory:
“We’ve got a lot of people involved and a lot of people deserve all the credit in the world, but to have two Super Bowls in four years, especially the way we got it this year, it’s just a magnificent feeling. … This is pretty special.”
What did you tell your team when you were 7-7 and about to face the Jets?:
“I walked into the meeting room and I said, ‘Fellas, we’ve got two games to play and if we win them both, we’re in the playoffs,’ and I walked out. That was a very disappointing loss, the Washington loss. We thought we were on a roll.”
Victor Cruz on his touchdown catch:
“It was a play where we were deep in the red zone and we needed to make a play and we called an inside slant route. I put a great move on the safety and just got open. It got tipped a little bit, bobbled it, but once I got my two hands on it I reeled it in and it was salsa time after that.”
Was there ever any doubt for you guys that Eli wouldn’t lead this team to a victory with a big fourth quarter?:
“I had no doubt. There was never a moment of doubt in my mind. I knew we were going to win this ballgame. Once we were driving, once Mario made that great catch, I knew we were destined to score and win.”
Ahmad Bradshaw on his interesting late-game touchdown:
“I took the handoff and Eli was like, ‘Don’t score! Don’t score!’ I tried to get down and declare myself down, but my momentum took me in. All I could do after that is hope they don’t score.”
What was the mood of the team after you guys lost to the Redskins and were sitting at 7-7?:
“We knew we could do it. We were just clicking and all we could do was just win. We had our backs against the wall and that’s how we like it. We came together and that’s why we’re where we are right now.”
Brandon Jacobs on what it means to have two Super Bowl rings:
“It feels great. There’s not too many people that have got two of these things. This team fought through it, 7-7 at one point, no one believed, and we got it done.”