Manning to Tyree Miracle Highlighted Superb Super Bowl
The Immaculate Reception? Taken. The Catch? Also been used. How about The Immaculate Catch? Nah.
Whatever the nickname of the incredible play that was key on the Giants' winning touchdown drive in Super Bowl XLII becomes, it still will not fully describe the magnitude that it had. Not only in the game, but the entire season and football history.
That particular play catapulted the G-Men into scoring territory and Eli Manning became an instant Super Bowl MVP, pending the Giants scoring on the drive, of course. But he cemented any doubt that he would pan out as a highly successful overall number one selection in the NFL Draft.
"People were asking me how I got out of that jam I was in, and I really don't know," Manning said in reference to his escape from two New England defenders before launching the ball downfield. "They were pulling me down. I felt them holding me, but I never felt anybody pull me to the ground. I stayed alive and I saw David in the middle of the field.
"I gave him a shot to make the catch, and it was an) unbelievable catch. For him to catch that ball - kind of hold it against his helmet - I think he pulled back and guys (were) swiping at the ball. It's just a great individual effort by him."
Tyree, who had only four catches and zero touchdowns during the regular season, picked a good time for a breakout game in Arizona. He also caught Manning's bullet for the Giants' first touchdown on the night.
For the Giants to knock off the previous undefeated Patriots 17-14, this became perhaps the second biggest upset in Super Bowl history after the Jets' 16-7 win in SB III versus the Baltimore Colts. Big Blue had an up and down 10-6 regular season and qualified for the playoffs as a wild card entry. That meant that they had to go on the road in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay.
Three wins later, they seemed to be ready for a letdown against the 18-0 juggernaut from the stronger AFC. The odds makers in Las Vegas had New England as 12 and a half point favorites. Everyone expected the Pats to wrap up the greatest season in football - and perhaps - sports history. The only problem is that no one told the Giants.
Winning head coach Tom Coughlin, who was nearly fired at the end of last season, took the high road instead of basking in the glory. "The real distinguishing factor was that we just kept getting better and our confidence grew," he said. "Our players actually felt that they could win under any circumstance. Each game that we approached, they believed it."
What has been attributed to spring boarding the Giants' success has been the regular season finale against the same Patriots. On December 29 at Giants Stadium, Big Blue gave the 15-0 Pats all they could handle, but still came out on the short end of a 38-35 final. Instead of sitting back and playing second stringers, Coughlin decided to play all his starters for four quarters and the organization gained a good amount of respect throughout the league for their effort.
"As I told the players, there would be nothing but positives out of the game," the coach said. "As it turns out, it was a great bridge for us from the regular season and into the playoffs because the caliber of our play just continued to escalate."
All the way to the Vince Lombardi Trophy, regardless of what name is given to that play.