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Fact or Fiction: Debating Eli Manning's most iconic game


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

The most exciting conference championship game in Giants history was 2007 in Green Bay.

John Schmeelk: Fact – This is still my favorite game that I have ever covered. The combination of the weather, historic nature of Lambeau Field, and playing against Brett Favre is impossible to beat. The game went into overtime and included several dramatic field goals (makes and misses). It had a legendary offensive performance from Plaxico Burress and Eli Manning, and then the game turned in overtime on an interception by Corey Webster. This one takes the cake. I'll never forget it.

Dan Salomone: Fact – It's one of those games that still lives on outside the Giants' bubble. Take me for example. Having no idea at the time that I would ever work for or cover the Giants, I vividly remember watching that game at a place called Grizzly's Grill N' Saloon in Minnesota, where I grew up. Naturally, we took some pleasure in seeing Favre's Packers career end that way. The games that transcend fanbases are the truly special ones, and the 2007 in Green Bay still gets talked about to this day whenever the temperature drops.

Lance Medow: Fact – The 1990 and 2011 NFC Championship Games, both in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, are also strong candidates. Both those games were won on field goals (the '11 game, like the '07 game, in overtime), but I don't think either one of them tops 2007 in Green Bay. You had a little bit of everything in 2007: frigid temperatures, six lead changes, big pass plays, takeaways, and special teams highlights and mishaps. There was no shortage of drama in 2007.

Matt Citak: Fact – The 2007 Giants were known as the Road Warriors, as all three wins leading up to Super Bowl XLII were away from Giants Stadium. The NFC Championship Game in Green Bay was the ultimate test, with a temperature of one below zero at kickoff and a wind chill of 23 below zero. It was a back-and-forth game that featured a total of five field goals, including Lawrence Tynes' game-winner in overtime. The image of Tom Coughlin's red face on the sideline is one that Giants fans will never forget, and this victory set the stage for the Giants to pull off the biggest upset in Super Bowl history two weeks later. Add in the fact that Corey Webster ended Brett Favre's Green Bay career with an interception in overtime to set up the winning field goal, and this one is a no-brainer.

The best game of Eli Manning's career was the 2011 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Dan loves to pose this question, and I will once again disagree. It was certainly Eli Manning's toughest performance, given how many times he had to peel himself off the soggy San Francisco turf after getting knocked down, but it is not even close to his best performance. Despite having 17 (not a typo) offensive possessions, the Giants managed only two drives that went for more than 40 yards. In the second half and overtime, the Giants managed just 153 yads of offense and punted 10 times. At one point they punted on 10 of 11 drives, including five three-and-outs. Their only two scores in the second half were gifted by short fields thanks to 49ers muffed punts in their own territory. The Giants' offense was almost non-functional for two quarters and overtime. Manning's game in 2007 was far more impressive given the weather conditions, and the list of other superior playoff games alone is quite long.

Dan Salomone: Fact – The toughness I showed in covering that game with water dripping down on my laptop from the old, leaky press box at Candlestick was matched by only one person that day – Eli Manning. But don't take my word for it. Team president John Mara put it best in the wake of No. 10's retirement. "His finest hour was the 2011 NFC Championship Game against the 49ers, where he took such a beating, a physical beating in that game, and just kept getting up and we end up winning that game. I think to me, that was his finest moment." P.S. He wasn't talking about me.

Lance Medow: Fact – Eli Manning's performance the previous week in Green Bay in the Divisional Round wasn't too shabby, but it's hard to top the 2011 NFC Championship in San Francisco given all the hits he took on a wet field and the 58 passes he attempted. Eli just kept on battling despite being sacked six times. He finished 32 of 58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns in the 20-17 overtime victory. It may not have been his best statistical performance, but when you combine the numbers with his toughness, nothing surpasses it.

Matt Citak: Fact – Throughout his 16 seasons with the Giants, Manning certainly had games with better stat lines. However, his performance against the 49ers in the 2011 NFC Championship Game was undoubtedly the most impressive game of his NFL career. Manning threw for 316 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against an elite San Francisco defense, one that ranked second in points and fourth in yards in the regular season. But forget the numbers – Manning took an absolute beating throughout the entire game, and yet every single time he got hit, he got back up and shrugged it off. Despite the 49ers being credited with 12 quarterback hits, Manning was not afraid to stay in the pocket and hold onto the ball an extra second or two in order to let his receivers get open, despite knowing that it would result in him absorbing a giant hit.

Photos from the career of two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning