The Super Bowl stage is huge and the place where every football player hopes to have the game of their life, or the play of their life. There have been many great plays in Super Bowl’s and unlikely heroes, as was the case in the Super Bowl XLII when the Giants were facing down the undefeated New England Patriots and David Tyree made what can be argued as the best catch ever in a Super Bowl.
It was deemed “The Catch II” (The original “The Catch” belongs to Dwight Clark of the 49ers from the 1981 NFC Championship Game) The Catch II was remarkable, as David Tyree made a leaping attempt at a ball over his head, all the while being grabbed and pulled by Rodney Harrison, and managed to pin the ball to his helmet with his right hand and then secure the catch before hitting the ground. It was a great catch, but the reason it can be argued as the greatest ever is based on the circumstances.
The Giants were a big underdog to the New England Patriots (who were trying to be the first team to go undefeated since the 72’ Dolphins) and after a masterful Tom Brady 12 play 80 yard drive, the Giants found themselves trailing 14-10 with 2:42 left in the game. The Giants were facing a 3rd and 5 at their 44 yard line when the magic struck. David Tyree did make a great catch, but first there was the Houdini like escape made by Eli Manning. Manning was under immediate pressure and was nearly sacked by Adailus Thomas and then by Jarvis Green. Green had Manning by the jersey and the Referee almost called it in the grasp, but Eli shook loose and threw the pass towards Tyree. Tyree made the amazing leap and dramatics of the catch for 32 yards and a first down inside the New England 30, which led to the game winning TD catch by Plaxico Burress.
The catch by Tyree is what took the wind out of the sails of the Patriots. Manning should have been sacked, not once but twice. Then Rodney Harrison knocks the ball out of Tyree’s hands only to have Tyree pin the ball on his helmet. More improbable is that Tyree lands on top of Rodney Harrison, so that while the ball is pinned on his helmet and being secured the ball does not hit the ground knocking it loose, which could have happened without Harrison cushioning the impact. All in all it was improbable, amazing and the play that will make sure David Tyree is remembered in football history.