We now know that Rams and Patriots will square in the Super Bowl LIII, but New England's opponent in the Super Bowl XLVI could have been very different seven years ago.
Manning led the hunters for a 20-17 overtime tournament over 49ers in the NFC Championship on January 22, 2012 at Candlestick Park. He finished 32 of 58 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
But he almost missed the game.
On Sunday, David Carr, Manning's backup quarterback, in New York, revealed that Eli missed several exercises leading up to the game due to the flu.
"We roll in on Friday, he's still sick – can't practice. He's literally in the training room, gets IV's all day," Carr said. "Have the flu for like four days so I train on Friday with the team. So now Eli hasn't had any exercise time, I've taken all the reps for the NFC Championship Game."
"He turns out Saturday looks good, he goes through the walk-through, goes to the game. Everything's normal. Nobody knew it. He didn't practice the whole week."
Woah. Crazy story from David Carr about what might have been for the Giants in front of the 49ers in 2012. via @nfltotalaccess ) picture. twitter.com/lLn9N70pWp
– SNY (@SNYtv) January 20, 2019
Oh, what could have been.
Manning for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns in the 2011 regulation. Carr, on the other hand, did not attempt a single passport.
Two weeks later, Manning led the virgins to a 21-17 Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Instead of David Tyree becoming a hero, it could have been Michael Crabtree, or more appropriately, someone like Ted Ginn Jr.