Originally posted on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 2/6/12

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning jumps onto defensive end Justin Tuck after defeating the New England Patriots in the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game in Indianapolis, Indiana, February 5, 2012. (REUTERS photo/Jim Young)

I’ll admit it. I’m a Justin Tuck fan.

The New York Giants defensive end was a Denver Bronco for a day after the Broncos traded for him in 2006. Ultimately the deal was nullifed after Broncos middle linebacker Al Wilson, the trade compensation for Tuck and a fourth round pick, failed his physical, but since then I’ve always followed Tuck’s career closely.

Since then, he’s thrived. Tuck has gone from a backup’s backup to a playoff-dominating, Super Bowl-excelling monster on that Giants’ defensive line.

In 2008, Tuck had two sacks, a forced fumble, and six tackles against Tom Brady and the Patriots that many felt should have earned him MVP honors.

Yesterday, in my opinion, Tuck one-upped Eli Manning again.

Don’t get me wrong, Manning was good. He was extremely efficient (30 of 40), but I wouldn’t call his evening spectacular (296 yards, one touchdown, 7.4 yards per attempt). He made a helluva clutch throw to Mario Manningham, who made an even tougher catch in the fourth quarter, but that doesn’t mean the MVP committee should just fall on the winning team’s quarterback by default. Quarterbacks get enough credit as it is.

“Somebody had to win MVP, but let’s give the MVP to the collective group,” Tuck said after the game.

No, the best performance belonged to Tuck, and the MVP trophy should have too.

You want clutch play? You got it. In the fourth quarter, after Bill Belichick conceded the Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown, it was the Tuck-led defense that had to seal the win for the Giants. Perform Tuck did. He tallied his second sack on third and long with 48 seconds left in the game, forcing the Patriots to use their last timeout.

You want big plays from start to finish? Tuck was the only player on the Giants’ fearsome defensive line to tally a sack, and he tallied two. He was also the force behind Brady’s intentional grounding penalty for a safety in the first quarter, a huge play that won’t show up in Tuck’s stat sheet, but deserves mentioning all the same. It was the first defensive play of the game.

Tuck had as good a Super Bowl as you can ask any defensive player — twice. He drove the Giants to two Super Bowl rings. He, and not Eli, should be driving that Cadillac.


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