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New York Moment – The Helmet Catch

The stage was set;  The upstart New York Giants against the undefeated and invincible New England Patriots.  The Giants had barely snuck into the 2007 NFL Playoffs, and the Patriots were coming into the Super Bowl with history on their mind.  Their 18-0 season up to that point was the greatest team achievement in NFL history.  Super Bowl XLII became one of the greatest Super Bowls in recent memory.  It was a true David vs Goliath battle, and it culminated in one of the most unique and jaw dropping moments ever.

The potent Patriots offense stalled against the Giants defense, with Michael Strahan and the rest of the defensive line having their way with Tom Brady.  For such a great game, there really wasn’t all that much offense.  Up to that point there were only 24 points scored, and Eli Manning looked like a mere mortal.

The Patriots re-took the lead with 2:42 left in the fourth quarter, on a great pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss.  The game looked to be all but sealed, but the pesky Giants would just not go away.  It was third and five with 1:44 remaining in Super Bowl and the Giants offense faced a daunting task.  They had only been able to score 10 points and chances were slim that they would even get a first down.

Eli Manning took the shotgun snap, tried maneuvering around the pocket but was met with the giant paws of Richard Seymour.  Seymour tried ripping Manning down, as did Jarvis Green, but Manning was somehow able to squirm out of the sack and throw a prayer into the air.  Mike Vrabel immediately knocked Manning down and the ball felt like it was in the air forever.  As it was coming down, this happened;

David Tyree, a lifetime special teams wide receiver up to that point, was knocked off his route and found himself in the middle of the field.  The ball dropped onto his helmet and he hung on for dear life as Rodney Harrison tried to wrestle the ball away and tackle Tyree.  Tyree held on, and the rest is history.  The Giants continued their drive on the 24 yard line and eventually scored on a beautiful toe-tap touchdown catch by Plaxico Burress.

The giant was slayed, and the “Helmet Catch” became one of the best moments in NFL history.  In addition, David Tyree became a household name and New York legend, regardless of how little he produced before and after this catch.  The Giants won Super Bowl XLII 17-14 and etched their name as the ultimate underdog champion.  None of that would have been possible without David Tyree or Eli Manning.

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