No. 2: David Tyree, Wide Receiver, Super Bowl XLII
The Super bowl has brought out many an unlikely hero, and although Tyree was a Pro Bowl player on special teams, no one expected him to come up with perhaps the greatest play in the history of the Super Bowl – and the Giants.
Except real Giant fans. They knew. How? Because every time the Giants were in a close game and needed to score, Tyree was on the field. He didn’t always come through, but you knew that was sign that they trusted him.
In the Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots, Tyree’s line – five targets, receptions 43 yards and a TD – were not enough to garner him the MVP, but his one catch was the game-changing, game saving one and the Giants would not have hoisted any hardware had he not made it.
The Giants were trailing, 14-10, with 1:15 remaining in the fourth. They were facing a crucial 3rd-and-5 from their own 44. Manning took the snap and came under intense pressure from the Patriots’ rush. He somehow wriggled out of a sack and threw up a prayer down the middle of the field intended for Tyree, who was blanketed by New England defenders. Tyree somehow managed to trap the ball against the side of his helmet and maintain possession for a 32-yard completion. The Giants scored the go-ahead touchdown four plays later.
After the game, Manning was asked how the Giants were able to pull off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
“David Tyree,” he said. “That’s all you gotta know.”