Perfection denied

Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14

Updated: December 15, 2009, 10:05 PM ET
Page 2

In the end, it's the games that matter. The anticipation that this game may produce something special. It's why we sit through Titans 47, Rams 7. It's why we sift through blogs and trade rumors and box scores. We like the games. We picked the 25 best games, matches and races of the decade -- believe us, it wasn't easy -- and listed them in reverse chronological order. We want you to rank the best. Enjoy the look back as ESPN.com writers remember these classics.

ESPN.com's 25 best games of the decade: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25

David TyreeJohn David Mercer/US Presswire

The Patriots' quest for a perfect record amid gathering Spygate allegations made this a memorable Super Bowl even before David Tyree made the greatest big-game catch in NFL history.

This had to be the greatest Super Bowl for sheer drama.

A sense of big-game invincibility surrounded the Patriots heading into the matchup, even amid the Spygate distraction. New England had arguably the best offense in NFL history. The Patriots were undefeated. They had Tom Brady, who never lost Super Bowls. They had Randy Moss, arguably one of the five greatest receivers ever. They were so unstoppable that they turned running up the score into a relevant NFL storyline.

The Giants had a lot of confidence, though. That was the sense I got attending their practice at Arizona Cardinals headquarters the day before the game. Tom Coughlin might have known something about how Steve Spagnuolo's defense would get to Brady. I remember feeling Brady's frustration as Justin Tuck and that Giants defense swarmed him. Was this really happening?

No one could have anticipated how it would end. Eli Manning to David Tyree? Off the helmet? No way.
--Mike Sando

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