Continued from page 1

After leading for much of the game, the Patriots watched Eli Manning engineer an 88-yard, go-ahead drive. New England got the ball with 57 seconds left, and Brady got the Patriots close to midfield. But a deep pass to Branch fell short.

With 5 seconds left, Brady let loose with a desperation heave to the end zone. Aaron Hernandez went up among three defenders, and the ball was tipped _ out of reach of a lunging Rob Gronkowski as the ball fell to the ground and time ran out.

It was the second time the Patriots had lost to the Super Bowl in the last four years. This one ended much like the first, a last-second Giants win.

Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are some of Kraft’s closest friends in the NFL, and he said earlier in the week that if he had to lose to someone, at least it would be to them.

But some losses cut a little deeper than others. Kraft spoke to a few players in the locker room before making a quick exit.

“It’s tough for all of us,” Brady said. “Certainly I wish we would have gotten it for him.”