His top target was receiver Victor Cruz, who caught 82 passes for a franchise record 1,536 yards (3rd in the NFL) and 9 touchdowns.
Per convention as an even-numbered Super Bowl, the Patriots as the AFC representatives had the home team designation.
Super Bowl XLVI was the sixth Super Bowl in which the two teams had competed in a previous Super Bowl matchup, as the Giants and Patriots had previously met in Super Bowl XLII.
New York's offense was led by Super Bowl XLII winning quarterback Eli Manning, in his seventh season as the team's starter.
Manning set new career highs in nearly every statistical category in 2011, throwing for a franchise record 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns, with 16 interceptions, giving him a 92.9 passer rating.
Working around a series of injuries, the Giants ended with a 9–7 record during the regular season and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, winning the NFC East and finishing the season as the NFC's No. Finally back to full strength, the Giants entered their week 17 matchup with the Cowboys with both teams tied for the division lead with 8–7 records.
The Giants took a 21–0 first half lead and while the Cowboys closed the gap to make the score 21–14 early in the 4th quarter, the Giants held on to defeat the Cowboys 31–14, clinching the divisional title and a playoff berth.
Two years later, the Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos, from the NFC/AFC West, would continue this trend when they met each other for Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Giants jumped to a 9–0 lead in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI before the Patriots scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17–9 lead in the third quarter.
Pierre-Paul racked up 86 combined tackles and ranked fourth in the NFL with 16.5 sacks, earning him the only Pro Bowl selection on the Giants defense, while Umenyiora, limited to 9 games because of injury, recorded 9 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
The Giants secondary was led by Corey Webster, who intercepted a career-high 6 passes.
The broadcast of the game on NBC broke the then record for the most-watched program in American television history, previously set during the previous year's Super Bowl.