They did. The rest is history. This is all good stuff, but skip ahead to about the 1:30 mark if you want to see Bill Belichick unknowingly digging his own grave.
The Patriots, to their credit, did what their coach asked. The Giants went to Manningham on the next play ‒ in fact, they went to Manningham on the next four plays.
As a coach, that's what you want ‒ to take away the other team's best weapons. Cruz and Nicks were the playmakers, and making the Giants put the ball in someone else's hands is the right thing to do. And they were successful. It's just that that someone happened to come up with the catch of his life.
Here's the quote:
"This is still a Cruz and Nicks game. I mean, I know we're right on 'em; it's tight. But those are still the guys. Make 'em go to Manningham, make 'em go to Pascoe, alright? But let's make sure we get Cruz and Nicks."
Cruz and Nicks were gotten. Nicks caught two passes for 18 yards on that drive; Cruz didn't see the ball. A coach puts together the best strategy he can, and then he's got to live with it. It's like playing against the Miami Heat ‒ if you can shut down Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, that's what you do. But if Mario Chalmers happens to have a career game and drops 35 on you, then you've just got to live with it.
That's how Mario Manningham became a Super Bowl hero.
Gracias, Ultimate NYG.
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- Mario Manningham
- Bill Belichick