INDIANAPOLIS – They'll be dancing in the hallways at come Monday morning.
The lineman was part of a New York team that made NFL history as they charged down field on their final drive to beat the Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Unbelievable," Diehl said. "I mean, you look at this season and the way that we fought and stuck together. We accomplished something that nobody on the outside looking in thought we could do. But the people in our room, the players on this team, our coaches, our organization - nobody said this could be done except for us and we believed in one another. Let everybody say what they want to say. The Giants are World Champs, baby.”
The crowd was eerily quiet as Eli Manning and the Giants took over for one last drive in the final four minutes.
Like he’s done countless times during the 2011 season, Manning made a series of precision passes – five to be exact, including a 38-yard out route to Mario Manningham that sparked the drive – and set New York up inside the 10-yard line. Ahmad Bradshaw finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to win the game.
Manning, who was 30-for-40 passing, threw for 296 yards and 1 touchdown, earning his second Super Bowl MVP award against the Patriots.
“We moved the ball down the field, and Eli [Manning] made some great plays,” said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “[Mario] Manningham made a huge play to get us down there. We tried to take a little more time off the clock, but it didn’t work that way. Thank God it worked out.”
“It was a great game with two great teams,” Manning said. “We played to the very end. It was just a great effort on both sides. There were some big plays being made.”
The Giants led early, going up 2-0 on a safety at 6:08 in the first quarter. Justin Tuck pressured Tom Brady, who dropped back into his own end zone. Manning followed that with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz on their next possession to take a 9-0 lead at 5:28 of the first.
The Patriots eventually tacked on 17 points throughout the second and third quarters. Steven Gostkowski kicked a 29-yard field goal in the second and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw touchdown passes of 4 and 12 yards to Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez, respectively.
Lawrence Tynes edged the Giants back in position with field goals of 38 and 33 yards in the third quarter and the Patriots were held scoreless in the final 15 minutes.
“I’m excited to win a championship,” Manning said. “I’m excited for my teammates. There are a number of guys, this is their first one. There are some other ones who are getting their second and more, but I’m just excited for them.”
As for the Patriots, this is their second straight loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl, having lost in 2007 to New York as well.
“They obviously played well tonight,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “Very competitive football game, they just made a couple more plays then we did. By the way our guys played, fought, fought all year, fought tonight, and we had our chances. We just couldn’t quite make enough plays. Giants made a few more than we did.”
Asked if this is what it felt like during their last loss to the Giants, Brady didn't disagree.
“We just didn’t make enough plays," he said. "In the first quarter, we didn’t have the ball a ton. The second quarter, we played a little bit better. Third quarter, we started well and it came down to the fourth quarter. [The Giants] made some plays there at the end. We went out there to win the game. We just didn’t make enough plays.”