We’re back on NFL Thursday for another edition of our second miniseries, examining awarded Super Bowl MVPs (15-for-41 so far) and Rookies of the Year (29-for-50). And as much as we despise cheating at The Daily McPlay, we will go to our graves convinced this Super Bowl was fixed to prevent the “Spygate” New England Patriots from going 19-0. The NFL also really wanted its “Manning Bros” marketing campaign, and you sadly still can see this ridiculous money grab existing today.

Super Bowl XLII MVP: Eli Manning, QB, New York (original); Plaxico Burress, WR, New York (revised)

The New York Giants scored with 35 seconds left in the game to claim a controversial 17-14 victory over the Patriots, and Giants quarterback Eli Manning—with just an 87.3 QB rating for the game—was named the MVP in a contrived vote, for sure. He threw an interception and completed just 56 percent of his passes, so Manning would never get our vote. Only one skill-position player gained over 100 yards from scrimmage, and that was New England wide receiver Wes Welker (103 yards).

In terms of recognizing impact on the game, what we come up is this: New York WR David Tyree and his fellow wideout Plaxico Burress. Both scored a TD, and both also added significant moments in the Giants victory. First, Tyree: This catch goes down in Super Bowl history, although the officials ignored at least 3 holds by the N.Y. offensive line in the process—not to mention swallowing their whistles instead of blowing the play dead when the QB was in the grasp of multiple defenders.

Regardless, Tyree made the catch that set up Burress’ game-winning score. As for Burress, he famously guaranteed the victory before the game and then followed through on it more so than Joe Namath did. We see either receiver here as much more valuable than Manning was, for many reasons. Manning was the beneficiary of many non-called penalties; the WRs still had to do their jobs, either way, even though, yes, none of their heroics would not have been possible without the officiating favors shown to Eli.

So, is it Tyree or Burress? We are going to go with Burress, because it takes a lot of guts to speak out and then follow it up with the game winner. We’d be fine if someone else thinks it’s Tyree who is more deserving, because we know we’re splitting hairs here. So be it; this is our column, and anyone else is welcome to write their own elsewhere. Just remember, the Giants defense gave up 351 points in the regular season, while the Patriots scored 589 points. There’s no way this game wasn’t fixed, people.

2007 NFL ROTY: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota & Patrick Willis, LB, San Francisco (original); Peterson (revised)

Neither vote winner played for a winning team, although the Minnesota Vikings (8-8) did miss out on the postseason by just one game in the NFC standings. Therefore, we will keep Peterson—1,609 scrimmage yards and 13 TDs—in the discussion and look for other candidates to consider in the meantime. However, the reality is there were no rookies who had any sort of profound impact for a postseason team, so Peterson will get this award without any more discussion at all.