Feb 5, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) high-fives punter Steve Weatherford (5) after throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Victor Cruz (not pictured) during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Super Bowl XLVI: Five Stars Of The Game

Super Bowl XLVI is now in the books and while some fans may be looking forward to the 2012 NFL Draft, we want to take a final look back at the game and five players who stood out. We all know that Eli Manning was named the Super Bowl MVP, but who else played a big part in the game? Here are five players that had outstanding performances on the biggest stage in football.

5. Tom Brady

Yes, the New England Patriots may have lost the Super Bowl, but Tom Brady had a fantastic performance. If it were not for Eli Manning’s fourth-quarter heroics, Brady would have been the game’s MVP. Brady finished the game with 276 yards, two touchdowns and an interceptions. While the stats may not blow you out of the water, Brady was the reason New England stayed in the game.

During his performance, Brady broke a Super Bowl record that was previously held by all-time great Joe Montana. At a point in the first-half, Brady completed 16 straight passes that concluded with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez. The previous record was 13, which was set in 1990. Brady may not have walked away with the win, but he still put on one heck of a performance.

4. Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck once again came up big in the Super Bowl. He was consistently getting pressure on Brady and had a big time sack in the third-quarter that seemed to shake up Brady and changed the way he played for the remainder of the game. Tuck had a total of two sacks on the game, but his impact goes far and beyond his presence in the box score.

3. Mario Manningham

Manningham came up big for Eli Manning on many occasions. He hauled in five catches for 73 yards and while he was not the leading receiver for the Giants, he came up with a big time catch that was the play of the game. That catch by Manningham led to the game-winning run by Ahmad Bradshaw. Without that reception, the Giants drive could have stalled and they would have never hoisted their second Lombardi Trophy in five years.

2. Steve Weatherford

Weatherford is, without a doubt, the unsung hero of Super Bowl XLVI. He may not get any credit in the media, but he was as big of a reason the Giants won as anyone else in the game. Weatherfood mastered the coffin corner punt and pinned the Patriots deep in their own territory on three occasions — the most in Super Bowl history. Weatherford’s first punt pinned New England inside the five yard line and resulted in the game opening safety. Without Weatherford’s accuracy on those kicks, New England and Tom Brady would have had a short field and life for the Patriots would have been a lot easier.

Weatherford controlled the field position in this game and because of that the Giants won the game.

1. Eli Manning

The top star in this game really couldn’t have been anyone else. Manning was named the Super Bowl XLVI MVP, and for good reason. Manning once again stayed calm under pressure and showed his clutch gene in the fourth-quarter. Manning finished 30 for 40, with 296 yards and a touchdown. He led the Giants down the field for the game-winning touchdown that was scored with less than one minute remaining in the game.

With his performance and Super Bowl MVP award, Manning joins Joe Montana (3), Bart Starr (2), Terry Bradshaw (2) and Tom Brady (2) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least two Super Bowl MVP award. Congratulations, again, to Eli Manning.

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Tags: Eli Manning Hakeem Nicks Justin Tuck New England Patriots New York Giants NFL NFL News Steve Weatherford Super Bow Super Bowl Super Bowl 46 Tom Brady

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