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SportsCentre Year in Review: Eli and the Giants

Chris Schultz
12/23/2012 9:32:19 AM
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Leading up to SportsCentre's Year In Review on Christmas Eve, TSN and TSN.ca look back at each of the Top 10 stories of 2012. And TSN's reporters and analysts who covered the events as they happened offer their personal reflections on the stories.

Today, TSN's Chris Schultz looks back at Eli Manning leading the Giants to another memorable Super Bowl victory.

I remember it well.

Final score - New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17.

I had just witnessed the conclusion to an incredible run of winning football by the Giants that was inspiring in itself. After being 7-7, the Giants had to win their last two games just to make the playoffs.

And they did.

They then has to Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco.

And they did.

And finally, they had to topple the team everyone loves to hate in the New England Patriots.

And they did.

My thoughts went back to the Giants' 2007 game when Eli Manning - in desperation - completed a pass that should have been intercepted. And again a sideline pass to Mario Manningham that should have never been caught. I remembered the elation of the players after that game and pretty much witnessed the same elation again this time around.

Watching athletes that have trained so hard in a sport that is physically punishing - with each one under so much pressure - was inspiring. I have always enjoyed sports more than most things in life because it's real. And that's not slamming other interests in life, but football and sports are real.

That Super Bowl win by the Giants was reality and the rings they received prove it. What the Giants accomplished was so similar to what Green Bay did the year before - they peaked in December and made it happen in January. Were they they best team in reality? Not really.

They were 9-7 and expectations were guarded even by the most loyal of Giants fans. But the fact that they won it all as a sixth seed in the NFC is inspiring in its self. Why? Because it's one of the realities of football that I believe transfers to life...you don't have to be the best, you only have to be the best that day.

It's interesting when you think of success in football or in any occupation - is it really about the best or is it about being the best in the moment, at the minute, for an hour or on that particular day?

It is impossible for anyone to be on top of their game, 24 hours a day - every day. Be your best when it counts.

That's what the Giants did and that was the lesson learned for me because it was the same thing the Packers did the previous year. I have always liked football because it's such a focused process - once a week where you put all your cards on the table. And he who has the better cards that day wins.

But in the end, the 21-17 win by the Giants didn't change that which was important. But it makes you feel good. And when you feel good, you do good work and when you do good work you do what is good. It's often expressed that it's the journey as much as the accomplishment that gives you sense of satisfaction. Very true. But if you want both - the journey and the satisfaction - all you have to do is be the best day by day. Or in the case or the Giants, the most important day.

Super Bowl Sunday.

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