IRVING, Texas --The biggest catch of Super Bowl XLVI -- and one of the best we've ever seen on that stage -- wasn't made by Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz, the top two options for Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
It was a dazzling 38-yard grab on the left sideline by No. 3 wideout Mario Manningham that got the Giants to midfield on their winning 88-yard, fourth-quarter drive against the Patriots.
The Giants became the NFL's first nine-win Super Bowl champion because their defense and their running game simultaneously got healthier and more productive in December. But Manning doesn't best Tom Brady for a second time in four years without that fabulous catch from Manningham, who wasn't able to get his feet in bounds on a back-shoulder throw earlier in the game.
The point here is, Manning has no shortage of options. Tony Romo's got a pretty good group of pass-catchers, too, with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant on the outside and tight end Jason Witten working the middle of the field.
But he needs free agent Laurent Robinson back next season, too. Like Manningham, he emerged as a viable No. 3 option, often playing outside in three-wide sets with Austin moving into the slot.
In this game, Manningham was able to beat single coverage with the Patriots paying so much attention to Cruz. That's how Robinson ended up with a team-high 11 touchdown catches here.
He might not be viewed as a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver around the league, and he has said publicly this offseason that he would like to return (due to his veteran minimum contract, he can't actually sign a new deal with the Cowboys until the new league year begins March 13). But those 11 touchdowns are attractive, and he might wind up with a nice offer if he decides to test the market.
Romo's gotta hope it doesn't get to that point. He needs his Manningham back. After Robinson, the Cowboys' depth includes 2011 sixth-round pick Dwayne Harris, Jesse Holley and Kevin Ogletree, who's a restricted free agent.