Super Bowl Rematch between Patriots and Giants Brings Former Receiver David Tyree Back to the Spotlight

January 31, 2012 – 6:15 am by Eric Schmoldt

As soon as the Super Bowl rematch was etched in stone, the most thought-about name probably wasn’t Tom Brady or Eli Manning. Sure, they faced each other four years ago in the Super Bowl, but SB XLII will  always be remember for David Tyree’s amazing catch against his helmet, a play that allowed New York to win and dispatch the Patriots’ hopes of an undefeated season.

So, of course, Tyree, now out of football, has been a hot commodity in the media as folks reminisce about that game and one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.

David Tyree joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta with Mayhem in the AM to discuss the Super Bowl rematch, Eli Manning’s clutch play in the postseason, his famous play in SB XLII, how he arrived in that spot despite being in jail in 2004 and just what exactly makes the play so special.

What were your thoughts as the playoffs played out and we got a rematch?:

“You kind of get some of those same feelings. It was special, obviously, in ’07. You finally get the right potion. You’re playing with your chemistry set and things begin to fall together in December. Defense begins to click well, speaking to this year. … Giants began to run the ball a little better and Eli put the team on his back and they just got on a roll again. Kind of being a Giant alumni, it’s always nice to see your boys get back there and do it again.”

What is it about Eli Manning in that he seems to flip a switch when it comes time for the postseason?:

“Honestly, I thought this was the year that really set him apart. A lot of people kind of trace it to the beginning of the year where he made his bold statement in confidence that he felt like he was an elite quarterback. Week-in and week-out, I don’t think he really even flipped a switch this year. He was consistent. It was because of him that this team had the success it had. … He just has a cool demeanor. I think what you see is what you get from Eli. He’s never going to be too moved and never be too shaken.”

On the famous play where he caught the ball against his helmet:

“I was running a post route, essentially. I had Steve Smith on the inside running the out route. I’d guess you’d say we could’ve took a shot depending on the coverage, but by the time I was coming out of my post route, he was already under duress. That just kind of gets back to football and instinctual play. On a deep route, you’re coming back toward the quarterback and not running away from him, trying to give him a target. That was half the miracle itself, Eli getting away from three Patriots. So he did that, made eye contact and put the ball up and just gave me an opportunity. By the grace of God, using my head, I pulled that in.”

On overcoming hitting rock bottom, going to jail for drug possession in 2004:

“Yeah, absolutely. Everybody’s moments are a little bit different. Even some guys who might have been in that situation, they’re still hardcore. I just got to a place for me, personally, where I felt like, ‘Man, I was supposed to be a hometown hero and here I am in jail on marijuana possession.’ That moment of clarity came to me. I was never a religious guy, but I guess you could just say I was a needy guy at that point. And all the religion went out the door and Christ became a real person. It was a 180 turnaround. … Football’s been a tremendous avenue.”

When you watch that catch back now, what do you think makes it the most special?:

“What makes it special I think is I make no proclamation as far as where that catch lies in Super Bowl history. I’m honored, but I guess you could say what makes it special was all the factors involved. Being the fact that I was probably the least likely candidate, it was the Super Bowl against a 19-0 New England team about to make history. Obviously Rodney [Harrison] is who he is, one of the toughest defenders, and made an amazing play. So it was kind of like with all those factors involved, that’s what makes the argument so great for what that catch has come to be.”

Listen to David Tyree on 790 The Zone in Atlanta here

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