Super Bowl XLVI, between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, will be just as memorable as the last Super Bowl matchup-XLII-that pitted the two rivals against one another.
The same result occurred in both games, with the Giants winning after quarterback Eli Manning led a fourth-quarter, game-winning drive that left the Patriots stunned and the Giants on top of the world.
But as much as the 2012 Super Bowl will remain as indelible as all other Super Bowls for its late-game heroics, it will also be worth remembering for some controversy, both on and off the gridiron.
Here's a recap of controversy on the field:
- An uncharacteristic Brady mistake led to the earliest safety in Super Bowl history during New England's first possession of the game. After Giants punter Steve Weatherford pinned the Patriots back to their five-yard line, Brady dropped back to pass, faced pressure from the Giants four-man rush and threw the ball 50 yards to the center of the field to avoid a sack. No receiver was in the area, so officials ruled the pass a rare intentional grounding. And since Brady passed from the Patriots end zone, the penalty for the grounding was two points.
- Patriots receiver Wes Welker is not one to stir on-field controversy, but he might have been the most memorable Patriot to do so on Sunday. The Patriots led 17-15 with 4:06 remaining in the fourth quarter when quarterback Tom Brady threw a pass on second-and-11 to Welker from the New York 44-yard line. Welker was open 23 yards downfield and turned his body, but couldn't grasp the ball, which was a bit high and behind him. A catch could have put the Patriots in position to put the game away.
- Nevertheless, that play basically allowed the Giants to score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:04 left. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was supposed to take a knee, though, at the Patriots one-yard line, which would have allowed the Giants to run down a lot of clock before kicking the winning field goal. Instead, they gave Brady one final possession with 57 seconds to play.
- With 17 seconds left in the game, Brady threw a desperation pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez from the Patriots 44-yard line that fell incomplete, but not before eight seconds had passed and a flag was thrown for the Giants having 12 men on the field. The penalty was five-yards that allowed the Patriots to replay the down from their own 49, but not reclaim the eight seconds. So, did the Giants put 12 out there on purpose, knowing they would stop the play, kill time and pay a small price for it?
Here's what happened off the field:
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- Artists M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj performed with Madonna for her new song Give Me All Your Luvin'during the Super Bowl halftime show. M.I.A. was caught giving the middle finger during the song in front of some 110 million viewers, according to the Associated Press. The NFL and NBC both apologized for the gesture soon after.
- Welker had a drop, Hernandez had a drop and so did receiver Deion Branch. After the game, while waiting for an elevator, Brady's wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen took note of all that and voiced her frustrations amid heckling from Giants fans, saying, You [need] to catch the ball when you're supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot f-----g throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times.
- University of Massachusetts Police and State Police were called out to break up a crowd of almost 1,500 students that gathered and rioted at the UMass-Amherst Southwest dormitories after the Patriots lost to the Giants, which resulted in 14 people were arrested.
Almost every Super Bowl has come with its own controversies, but Super Bowl in 2012 might be one for the record books. Let's see what next year's Super Bowl-XLVII-brings to the table (assuming the Giants and Patriots don't play each other again).
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