The Helmet Catch- great games have defining plays, and this was it. It was 3rd and long for the Giants in their own territory with around 1 minute left in the game and a big play was required. It starts with a snap. Within moments, New England's defense had gotten through the offensive line's wall, as the Giants play, known as the Phantom begins to fall apart, and the Patriots get to Manning himself, with Adalius Thomas even grabbing a hold of the young gun slinger's jersey. Through sheer will, he tore himself from the clutches of the mighty defensive playmaker and found himself a bit of a clearing in a disintegrating pocket. Then, he waited a moment to gather himself (and possibly look downfield), before he launched what could only be referred to as a Hail Mary to Tyree, or more likely anyone who was beyond the first down marker. Already an incredible play becomes legendary as the ball hangs in the air for seconds, apparently destined for Patriot hands. But, out of nowhere, Tyree sticks his mitt in the air to try to catch it. Because the ball was out of his reach, the embattled receiver could not catch the ball with two hands, and because the ball was not thrown in a spiral, he had no chance to catch the ball in one palm (a rare feat that I have seen a select few players accomplish during a game, including Randy Moss). So, he brought the ball down with his hand and pressed it firmly against the back part of his round helmet. Did, I forget to mention that he was being hit by Rodney Harrison, one of the most feared and dirty players in the league, doing everything he could to prevent the catch. Harrison knocked Tyree flat on his back. To sum up, this guy must have reached 10 feet in the air, grabbed the ball with his outstretched hand and pushed it against his helmet, while being hit, and landing from that great leap, flat on his back. Of course he kept holding the ball long after his body collided with the floor resulting in a giant thud. If that was the go ahead touchdown play, that would perhaps be the finest moment in Superbowl history. Alas, it wasn't a touchdown, and Manning's touchdown pass to Tyree (yes, the same unheralded guy,) which occurred minutes earlier, was notable only as a good play design, a good route, and a great pass from Manning. But, the Helmet Catch will live on as the defining play of one of the greatest Superbowls ever and one of the great upsets in sports.
by Dav.McDowell February 04, 2008