Justin Tuck pressured Tom Brady in his own end-zone during the first quarter of the Super Bowl forcing Brady to throw the ball away. The officials awarded the Giants a safety and the score was 2 – 0 Giants.
This one play changed not only the whole game but, more importantly, the final minutes of the 4th quarter. And yes, some of you might argue that the officials should get the MVP award . . .
With less than 4 minutes to go the Giants were down 15 – 17. They only needed to kill time and score a field goal to win the game. Once they got inside the Patriots 30 yard line, they were only concerned about killing time.
Had they been down by 13 – 17, they would have NEEDED that touchdown to potentially win the game. Their entire attitude, play calling and strategy would have been different.
Of course,thanks to an almost brilliant defensive call, the Giants ended up failing to run out the clock effectively and only scoring the field goal by running it in for a TD. Belichick would have most likely used this same strategy if he thought the chances of the Giants scoring a TD were good. And from inside the 10 yard line, this might have been a reasonable thought.
So with 57 seconds left and the score now in the Giants favor 20 – 17, all the Bradiots would have to do is march 50 or 60 yards down the field to score a tying field goal instead of 80 yards and a TD and send the game into overtime.
Of course there is no telling what would have happened but still, that safety changed the entire complexity of the game and the final minutes of the Super Bowl.