2. Super Bowl XLII, 2008: New York Giants 17 – New England 14
The upstart Giants find utterly miraculous means to deny the Patriots an undefeated season and the undisputed stature of the greatest team in NFL history.
Competitiveness: 10 out of 10. The wild card Giants evinced no fear of the 18-0 Patriots, taking an early field goal lead and keeping the most prolific offense in history in check with an aggressive pass rush. New England led 7-3 at half, and the game evolved into a hard fought defensive struggle throughout the third quarter. The teams traded leads with an Eli Manning touchdown pass to David Tyree and Brady responding with a six-yard connection to Randy Moss. Finally, the Giants spoke last, scoring the winning touchdown with a fade to Plaxico Burress following a remarkable third-down conversion to Tyree.
Star Power: 9 out of 10. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Randy Moss, as well as all-time greats Michael Strahan, Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau.
Intrigue/Controversy: 10 out of 10. The Patriots were moments from becoming the only team ever to win every game in a 19-game schedule as well as their fourth Super Bowl in four tries. The Giants' remarkable performance as 12-point underdogs prevented that and altered the course of league history.
Aftermath: 10 out of 10. The Patriots would (and do) remain great, but four years later they would fall again to the Giants in a Super Bowl under similar circumstances. They will have an opportunity to win their fifth title on Sunday and continue to confound the league with their consistency and innovation. Still, the Giants spoiled the greatest season any NFL team has ever produced.
Aggregate Score: 39 out of 40.