Despite watching 46 Super Bowls (either in person or on TV) I am constantly surprised and often enlightened by what occurs on the field and the resulting aftermath.
Two things you don't often see formed bookends in Sunday's game:
Early on, we saw one of the brightest quarterbacks in pro football make a stupid mistake the first time he got his hands on the ball.
Backed up near the goal line on first down, New England's Tom Brady retreated to the end zone and, under a heavy rush, tossed the ball downfield to no one. The result: intentional grounding and a safety -- an easy two points for New York.
Then, with 57 seconds remaining in the game, the most bizarre play of the day. After the Giants got to within 6 yards of the goal, the Pats allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to score untouched with the go-ahead touchdown.
The strategy -- which gave the Patriots a wider window to score -- was sound, but it didn't work. Brady took a sack and his Hail Mary pass fell incomplete as time ran out.
The better team won. In the end, the Giants are more talented than the Pats. They are just as well coached, and we learned for sure that Eli Manning is every bit as good a quarterback as Brady.
Manning, in no way a braggart, said before the 2011 season began that he belonged with the NFL's elite quarterbacks. That well-publicized list includes Brady, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans' Drew Brees and of course Eli's brother, Peyton Manning.
Eli, at age 31 and with two Super Bowl victories under his belt, just may go on to prove he is the best of the lot before he calls it a career.
And how about Tom Coughlin? Remember, he was the coach that many Giants fans were ready to run out of town in November after the last-place Washington Redskins beat them, 23-10.
Coughlin -- at 65, the oldest coach to ever win a Super Bowl -- now has beaten New England's Bill Belichick twice in the championship game. Let's put Coughlin on that list of "Elite Coaches."
There is much agonizing going on in Boston over who's to blame for New England's defeat. Many, including Brady's super model wife Gisele Bundchen, have zeroed in on wide receiver Wes Welker.
Bundchen's post-game displeasure was caught on tape when she said:
"You have to catch the ball when you are supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot (expletive) throw and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."
A fourth-quarter pass to Welker has been the focal point for the critics.
Trying to pad a 17-15 lead, New England was driving down the field when Brady threw a pass to an open Welker at the Giants 20-yard line. It was a back-shoulder throw that Welker could not haul in. The Pats were then forced to punt and the Giants began their game winning 88-yard drive.
According to a Boston Globe report, this was not the kind of pass normally thrown to Welker. In fact, it was the first of its kind in 195 passes to him this season. And it was not one of Brady's best.
Despite this, Welker insisted after the game that he should have caught it.
Maybe so, but this was not a defeat that should be placed on the shoulders of a single player. That is very seldom the case.
Maybe Brady should tell his wife that football is a team sport.