(CNN) -- A ticker tape parade awaits the New York Giants this week when the team returns home as Super Bowl champions after defeating the New England Patriots 21-17 on a last-minute touchdown.
The Super Bowl victory Sunday night was the fourth for the Giants; the team defeated the Patriots 17-14 in the 2008 title game.
New England fans who had hoped their team would avenge the 2008 loss were left crestfallen. But for Giants supporters, the celebration was just beginning.
Early Monday, the Empire State Building was bathed in Giants blue. Later in the day, New York City will conduct a public giveaway for 250 winners for a post-parade ceremony on Tuesday at City Hall Plaza where the team will be given keys to the city.
"After nearly missing the playoffs, the Giants have made history by becoming the first NFL team to win the Super Bowl after going 9-7 in the regular season," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said after the Sunday night win. "I look forward to celebrating this victory with all New Yorkers."
Clutching the championship trophy, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the MVP award winner, said "I just stayed positive" during the seesaw struggle.
Assisted by crucial late receptions by Mario Manningham, Manning marched the Giants down the field in the closing minutes of the game. The go-ahead touchdown was scored by running back Ahmad Bradshaw from 6 yards out with 52 seconds remaining.
But the Patriots and Tom Brady, who was vying for his fourth championship ring, weren't quite done. They moved the ball, but had only enough time for a "Hail Mary" pass that bounced away from receivers in the end zone.
After trailing the Patriots 17-9 early in the third quarter, the Giants put up the last 12 points of the game to win 21-17.
In the final three minutes of the game, Twitter saw an average of 10,000 tweets per second, the company said.
An estimated 111 million U.S. TV viewers were expected to tune in to the game. Exact figures were not available early Monday morning.
As in years past, many watched as much for the ads and the halftime show as for the game itself.
Halftime entertainer Madonna provided an eclectic set, morphing from a Roman Empire theme to a high school cheerleader, complete with pom poms and a marching band. She led a collection of performers through a medley that included "Vogue," "Music," "Like a Prayer" and "Give Me All Your Luvin.'"
But it was a guest performance by artist M.I.A. that generated most of the show's buzz. She gave network cameras a middle finger salute, while rapping "I don't give a sh*t."
The apologies from the NFL and the broadcaster, NBC, came quickly -- they blamed each other.
"There was a failure in NBC's delay system," said Brian McCarty, the league's vice president of communications. "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans."
"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC said. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."
The episode was reminiscent of the 2004 Super Bowl when singer Janet Jackson's nipple was briefly exposed during a performance with singer Justin Timberlake.
A bevy of celebrities, including Jerry Seinfeld, Clint Eastwood and Elton John, showed up in commercials during this year's broadcast.
David Beckham provided eye candy in an H&M underwear ad, which tended to spend more time on his chiseled and tattooed looks than the briefs he was wearing.
Another commercial featured a slimmed-down dog chasing after a Volkswagen Beetle.
The ads went for a record $3.5 million per 30-second spot.
Pop singer Kelly Clarkson started off the festivities with a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," managing to get through the lyrics without a hitch, unlike Christina Aguilera, who caught flak after botching the words at last year's game.
The city itself strove to prove it could be a major player.
It kept one key goal in mind.
"I honestly think the best report would be people saying, 'The game was great and -- oh yeah, by the way, Indianapolis was really nice. I had a really good time,' " said Tom Griswold, longtime co-host of the Indy-based syndicated radio program "The Bob & Tom Show."
CNN's Thom Patterson and Dan Moriarty and HLN's Jonathan Anker contributed to this report.