Giants' Super season is 2012's top story

The top New York sports story of 2012? Eli Manning, would you care to answer that ... Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Giants delivered New York its lone championship of 2012 -- and we didn’t see it coming, that’s for sure.

On Christmas Eve 2011, Big Blue was treading water at 7-7. They had to beat the Jets that day, just to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17. And they trailed 7-3 late in the second quarter, looking anything but Super.

That’s when Eli Manning and Victor Cruz teamed up for a 99-yard touchdown that changed the course of NFL history.

The next seven weeks was a stretch Giants fans, and New Yorkers, will never forget. There was the 31-14 pasting of the Cowboys to win the NFC East. The 24-2 thrashing of the Falcons in a wild-card game. An upset of the 15-1 Packers, followed by an overtime win against the 49ers to earn a trip to Super Bowl XLVI.

And there were so many moments to savor. Cruz’s 74-yard score in the first quarter against Dallas. The Hail Mary touchdown to Hakeem Nicks right before halftime in Green Bay. And the fumbled punt by Kyle Williams that helped sink San Francisco.

But none of these would be nearly as memorable if the Giants didn’t finish the job against the Patriots.

That was an upset, too. New England had the much better regular season, with a record of 13-3. The Pats had won 10 straight, after a loss to the Giants back in November.

The G-Men trailed 17-9 in the third quarter. But the fourth quarter belonged to Eli Manning -- as it had seemingly all season long.

The 88-yard game-winning drive began with a gorgeous 38-yard pass, hauled in by Mario Manningham. And it ended with an Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown run, conceded by Bill Belichick.

Fifty-seven seconds later, the Giants were champions, for the second time in five years.

So when the ESPNNewYork.com staff put together its list of the top 10 stories of 2012, numero uno was a no-brainer.

Yes, Linsanity was, well, insane. Tebowmania kept us talking (and talking, and talking), and the Yanks and Mets had their moments, too.

But 2012 belonged to the New York football Giants. A fifth Super Bowl, and a fourth Lombardi Trophy. Top of the heap, for sure.

Read the full list -- and vote! Top 10 Stories of 2012Photo Gallery Rank 'EmLive