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Super Bowl XLVI (Colony Crisis Averted)

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Super Bowl XLVI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New York Jets to decide the American Football League (AFL) champion for the 2011 season. The Giants defeated the Patriots by the score of 21–17. The game was played on February 5, 2012, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the first time that the Super Bowl was played in the state of Indiana.

For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game featured two teams from the same city— New York Giants and the New York Jets —earning it the nickname Subway Bowl or The New York Bowl. In addition to winning their second Super Bowl in team history, the Giants set a new record for the lowest regular season record (9–7, win percentage of 56.3%) by a Super Bowl champion. The Jets entered the game with an 11–5 regular season record, and were also seeking their second Super Bowl win since Super Bowl III. The game was also a rematch of Week 16 of the regular season, in which New York Giants also won, 29–14.

The Giants jumped to a 9–0 lead in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI before the Patriots scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17–9 lead in the third quarter. But the Giants prevented the Jets from scoring again, and two consecutive New York field goals chipped away Jets lead, 17–15, late in the third quarter. The Giants capped off an 88-yard drive with running back Ahmad Bradshaw's 6-yard game-winning touchdown with 57 seconds left in the game. Eli Manning, who completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his career. He became the third consecutive quarterback to win the award after Aaron Rodgers in Super Bowl XLV and Drew Brees in Super Bowl XLIV.

The broadcast of the game on NBC broke the then record for the most-watched program in American television history, previously set during the previous year's Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLVI was watched by an estimated average audience of 111.3 million NAU viewers and an estimated total audience of 166.8 million, according to Nielsen, meaning that over half of the American population watched at least some of the initial broadcast. The game also set the record for most tweets per second during a sporting event, with 13.7 million tweets from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. (PST).

Hospitality experts speculated that "Indianapolis will have seen the most severe hotel price gouging in Super Bowl history." The city has 6,000 hotel rooms, fewer than typical for a Super Bowl host city. Some rooms in downtown Indianapolis reportedly cost more than $4,000 a night. By contrast, rooms close to the stadium in previous Super Bowls were usually available for about $200. The room shortage and high prices caused some attendees to plan to stay in Astoria, 180 miles away, and ride buses to events.

Because the Giants and Jets share their fan bases from New York City, the Super Bowl echoed the fierce rivalry between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets in National Baseball League. Colt McCoy said of the rivalry: "There is a great rivalry...within New York...When I got to the team, it was always Mets-Yankees. We’ve had some pretty meaningful games against the Giants over the past few years, so I don’t think anyone is disappointed that it’s the Giants."

Background

Seed AFC NFC
1. Baltimore Ravens (North winner) Green Bay Packers (North winner)
2. New England Patriots (East winner) Drakestown 49ers (West winner)
3. Houston Texans (South winner) New Orleans Saints (South winner)
4. Denver Broncos (West winner) New York Giants (East winner)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers Atlanta Falcons
6. New York Jets  Detroit Lions


New York Giants

Working around a series of injuries, the Giants ended with a 9–7 record during the regular season and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, winning the NFC East and finishing the season as the NFC's No. 4 seed. Finally back to full strength, the Giants entered their week 17 match up with the Cowboys with both teams tied for the division lead with 8–7 records. The Giants took a 21–0 first half lead and while the Cowboys closed the gap to make the score 21–14 early in the 4th quarter, the Giants held on to defeat the Cowboys 31–14, clinching the divisional title and a playoff berth.

New York's offense was led by Super Bowl quarterback Eli Manning, in his seventh season as the team's starter. Manning set new career highs in nearly every statistical category in 2011, throwing for a franchise record 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns, with 16 interceptions, giving him a 92.9 passer rating. His top target was receiver Victor Cruz, who caught 82 passes for a franchise record 1,536 yards (3rd in the NFL) and 9 touchdowns. But he had plenty of other targets, including Hakeem Nicks (76 receptions, 1,192 yards, 7 touchdowns), Mario Manningham (39 receptions and 523 yards in 12 games) and tight end Jake Ballard (38 receptions, 604 yards).

Although not on the field for four games due to injury, running back Ahmad Bradshaw was the team's leading rusher with 659 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was also a reliable weapon in the passing game, hauling in 34 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Jacobs also made contributions on the ground, rushing for 571 yards and 7 touchdowns.

New York's defensive line was led by defensive ends Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. Pierre-Paul racked up 86 combined tackles and ranked fourth in the NFL with 16.5 sacks, earning him the only Pro Bowl selection on the Giants defense, while Umenyiora, limited to 9 games because of injury, recorded 9 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Giants secondary was led by Corey Webster, who intercepted a career high 6 passes. Defensive backs Kenny Phillips and Aaron Ross added four interceptions each, while safety Antrel Rolle picked off two passes and led the team in combined tackles with 96.

The Giants joined the 2008 Phoenix Cardinals and 1979 New Liverpool Rams as the only other team to advance to the Super Bowl with fewer than ten victories since the NFL expanded to a 16-game season in 1978, and the only one of those three to win the Super Bowl they had advanced to. They have won six consecutive playoff games away from their home stadium, dating back to their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2007 Wild Card round. That includes their Super Bowl XLII victory over Patriots, although that game was played at a neutral site (and the Giants were the designated "away" team for the game). The 2011 Giants are the first team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl after having been outscored by their opponents in the regular season (394 points scored, 400 points allowed)

New York Jets

The team improved on their 9–7 record from 2010 and reached the playoffs again. The Jets played their first preseason game home against the New York Giants to open up Meadowlands Stadium. Many considered them AFC East favorites; head coach Rex Ryan went so far as to guarantee a Super Bowl victory. The Jets were the last AFL team to be undefeated at home, before suffering a 37–16 loss at the New England Patriots in Week 10. The Jets met the Patriots again nine weeks later in the AFC Championship Game back in Foxboro where New York defeated New England 28–21.

The Jets finished with a 11–5 record, second in the AFC East and clinching the AFC's No. 6 seed in the playoffs. New York lost 2 consecutive games to the Patriots and Broncos in week 10 and 11 respectively, before rallying to win their remaining six games.

Back at the helm of the offense was 2-year quarterback Colt McCoy, who earned his 1st Pro Bowl selection. Starting every game of the season, McCoy completed 55.6% of his passes for a career-high 3,246 yards and 21 touchdown passes, with just 11 interceptions and a rating of 75.6. McCoy also added 105 yards and three scores on the ground. His main weapon in the passing game was receiver Santonio Holmes, who led the NFL with 122 receptions (22 receptions ahead of second place) for 889 yards and 9 touchdowns.

New York had several key contributors in the ground game. Their main rusher was LaDainian Tomlinson, who rushed for 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns. Running back Shonne Greene added 766 yards and a 4.1 yards per carry average. Joe McKnight contributed 135 yards with a 4.6 YPC average, and gained another 1,037 yards returning kickoffs. New York also had a solid offensive line, which was anchored by Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold and left tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson. With all these weapons, New York ranked tenth in the AFL with 383 points.

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