By Chad Bonham
Super Bowl XLII (February 3, 2008): New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14
In the days that preceded Super Bowl XLII, most reporters, pundits, and fans were talking about New England’s undefeated season and its star-studded team that featured superstar quarterback Tom Brady and vaunted head coach Bill Belichick. Could the Patriots become the first 19-0 team in NFL history?
There was also chatter about the New York Giants and its unlikely appearance in the big game as the fifth seeded NFC Wild Card team. Could quarterback Eli Manning and veteran head coach Tom Coughlin pull off a stunning upset?
But no one was thinking about Giants reserve wide receiver and special teams player David Tyree. To that point, Tyree had only caught four passes for 35 yards and no touchdowns. He also missed the first four games of the season with a fractured wrist. There was no reason for anyone to believe that Tyree would have a significant impact on the game. Despite those facts, he entered the game hoping to find some way to make a difference.
For a while, it didn’t seem like anything special was going to happen, but with 11:05 remaining in the contest, Manning found Tyree in the end zone for a five-yard score that gave the Giants the 10-7 lead. Much deeper into the fourth quarter, the Patriots retook the lead, 14-10. Just a little over two minutes remained and the Giants had one last chance to pull off the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.
Then at the 1:15 mark, New York faced a critical third down play. Needing five yards to continue the drive, New England’s defense brought immense pressure and nearly sacked Manning for a huge loss. But the Giants quarterback (not known for his nimble moves) somehow managed to avoid the would-be tacklers and even escaped the clutches of one defender who had grabbed his jersey.
Manning scrambled to his right and heaved a pass down the middle of the field where Tyree leapt higher than he can ever recall and trapped the ball on his helmet with his right hand. As Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison attempted to swipe the ball away, Tyree maintained control and never allowed it to touch the ground even after landing on his back.
Later dubbed “the helmet catch,” that 32-yard gain led to a game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Buress. But everyone was still talking about Tyree’s play, which was immediately being referred to as one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.
Tyree, on the other hand, called it “the Ephesians 3:20” catch. It was his belief that there was more to the catch than an amazing athletic feat.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“I stand in awe of God,” he said. “You have so many emotions throughout a game like that and an experience like that. But there was nothing but awe.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: AP Photos/NFL; Ted Kerwin)