Victory seemed like a foregone conclusion for the AFC champion New England Patriots as they faced the NFC champion New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. The Pats entered the game as 12-point favorites after becoming the first team in NFL history to finish the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record. (They were the first team to complete a perfect regular season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the only one since the NFL expanded to a 16-game regular season schedule in 1978). The Giants, which had gone 17 years without laying claim to the Lombardi Trophy, had ended their regular season 10-6 (and won all three of their playoff games on the road), giving them hope that they would become the first NFC wild card team to win the big game.
Super Bowl XLII was played on February 3, 2008, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Led by head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning, the Giants won the coin toss and started the game with the longest drive in Super Bowl history — a 16-play, 77-yard march that lasted nearly 10 minutes and featured four third-down conversions … a Super Bowl record for an opening drive. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady eventually halted the drive at the 14-yard line, leaving Lawrence Tynes to muster a 32-yard field goal to give a 3-0 lead to the Giants. The game then went to halftime with the Patriots leading 7-3, but it perhaps is best remembered for its astonishing fourth quarter. In dramatic fashion, the fourth quarter saw a Super Bowl-record three lead changes, with one of the most memorable coming with 2:39 left in regulation. Down 14-10, New York got the ball on its own 17-yard line and marched 83 yards down field before David Tyree made a one-handed catch for a 32-yard gain. Wide receiver Plaxico Burress scored the winning touchdown on a 13-yard reception with 35 seconds left, giving the Giants a 17-14 win and ranking Super Bowl XLII as one of the biggest upsets in sports history. The game also set a record as the most-watched Super Bowl in history, with an average of 97.5 million viewers in the United States.