INDIANAPOLIS — Is Giants punter Steve Weatherford the early clubhouse leader for Super Bowl XLVI MVP?
Why not? He’s easily been one of the most impressive players thus far, landing three of his four punts inside the Patriots’ 8-yard line.
His first punt was a 36-yarder that fell to rest on the 6. An intentional grounding penalty on Tom Brady resulted in a safety on the next play, and the Giants took an early 2-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Weatherford boomed a 51-yard beauty to pin Brady & Co. at the 4. But after a false-start penalty pushed the Patriots back even further, Brady drove them 96 yards for a touchdown and a 10-9 lead entering halftime.
Let’s not forget Weatherford’s second punt. It was a near-perfect coffin-corner kick, but the ball bounced into the end zone for a touchback after the Giants’ special-teamers couldn’t reach it in time.
A Super Bowl MVP would be a nice addition to the burgeoning Giants-Jets rivalry. The Jets opted not to bring back Weatherford after he had a poor 2010 postseason. Someone asked Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff during training camp why the punter no longer was on the team, and he said Weatherford “wasn’t good enough” by the end of his final season with the Jets.
He sure looks good enough now.
— David Ely