We now know the Rams and the Patriots will square off in Super Bowl LIII, but New England's opponent in Super Bowl XLVI seven years ago could have been much different. 

Manning led the Giants to a 20-17 overtime win over the 49ers in the NFC Championship on Jan. 22, 2012, at Candlestick Park. He completed 32 of 58 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns. 

But he nearly missed the game.

David Carr, Manning's backup quarterback that season in New York, revealed Sunday that Eli missed multiple practices leading up to the game because of the flu. 

"We roll into Friday, he's still sick -- can't practice. He's literally in the training room getting IVs all day," Carr said. "Has the flu for like four straight days. So I practice on Friday with the team. So now Eli hasn't had any practice time, I've taken all the reps for the NFC Championship Game.

"He shows up on Saturday, looks fine, he goes through the walk-through, goes to the game. Everything is normal. No one knew. He didn't practice all week."

Oh, what could have been.

Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns in the 2011 regular season. Carr, on the other hand, didn't attempt a single pass.

 

Two weeks later, Manning led the Giants to a 21-17 Super Bowl win over the Patriots.