Helmet Catch

The Helmet Catch was an American football play involving New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver David Tyree in the final two minutes of Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. It featured Manning escaping from the grasp of three New England Patriots defensive players and throwing a forward pass, followed by Tyree making a leaping catch by pressing the ball against his helmet. The play, a 32-yard gain during a drive on which the Giants scored the game-winning touchdown, was instrumental in the Giants' 17–14 upset victory over the Patriots, who were on the verge of becoming the first National Football League (NFL) team to finish a season undefeated and untied since the 1972 Miami Dolphins, and the first since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. NFL Films' Steve Sabol called it "the greatest play the Super Bowl has ever produced".[1] The play was also named by NFL Films as "The Play of the Decade (2000s)".[2]

Manning tyree catch
Eli Manning (top) breaks away from several defenders to make the 32-yard pass to David Tyree (bottom) over Rodney Harrison.


Tyree had been used primarily on special teams and had only 4 receptions for 35 yards and no touchdowns during the 2007 regular season.[3] Although Tyree was seldom used as a receiver during the regular season, he caught the Giants' first touchdown of the Super Bowl early in the fourth quarter, (which was Tyree's first touchdown of the season) giving his team a 10–7 lead at the time. The Patriots, undefeated on the season and heavily favored to win the game, scored a touchdown on a pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss to take a 14–10 lead with 2:42 remaining in the game. The Giants then faced a 3rd down with 5 yards needed for a 1st down from their own 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining. On the previous play, Patriots' cornerback Asante Samuel dropped what could have been a game-sealing interception.


Tyree catch
Tyree re-enacts his catch during the victory rally at Giants Stadium after the Super Bowl.

Manning was given the play call "62 Sail-Y Union" from the Giants' playbook in hopes of connecting with a receiver downfield. On third and 5 from the Giants' 44 yard line, Manning took the snap in the shotgun formation and immediately faced pressure from the Patriots defensive ends Richard Seymour, Jarvis Green, and linebacker Adalius Thomas. Green grabbed Manning by the shoulder while Seymour grabbed him by the back of his jersey and attempted to pull him down for a sack. Manning, however, was able to stay on his feet and duck under the arms of the Patriot defenders before scrambling backwards into space at around the 34 yard line. Linebackers Mike Vrabel and Junior Seau attempted to sack Manning, but he was able to throw the ball towards David Tyree. After Eli Manning released the football, he was immediately hit by Mike Vrabel. He threw the ball downfield to Tyree at the 24 yard line of the Patriots. Fox announcer Troy Aikman said after the play, "I don't know how he got out of there." Had Manning been sacked, the Giants would have faced a fourth down with around 8 yards to go for a first, and would have needed to convert for the second time on the drive to keep their chances to win alive (halfback Brandon Jacobs converted on a 4th and 1 three plays earlier in the drive).

Tyree was unable to run his intended route due to a jam by Ellis Hobbs. Starting cornerback Asante Samuel was on the left side of the field, walking to the line of scrimmage right before the snap to jam Plaxico Burress. Tyree saw Manning under pressure and instead came back towards the line to give Manning an option down the field, stopping at the 25 yard line. As the ball arrived Tyree made a fully extended leap for it, while Patriots strong safety Rodney Harrison, also leaping fully extended in tight coverage, attempted to knock it down. Initially, Tyree caught the ball with both hands, but a swipe by Harrison's arm caused his left hand to be knocked off the ball. However, Tyree was able to secure possession of the ball by pressing it against the top of his helmet with his right hand. Harrison pulled him down, and Tyree landed on top of him with the ball still pressed against his helmet. Free safety James Sanders and cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs were there, but neither had the time to assist Harrison in trying to prevent Tyree from making the catch.

The play gained 32 yards for the Giants and gave them a first down with 58 seconds left. After the play, the Giants called timeout. Four plays later, Plaxico Burress scored the touchdown that won the game for the Giants, 17–14. It was the Patriots' only loss of the season, preventing them from finishing with a perfect 19–0 record.


Like other famous plays in the NFL, this play has been given nicknames, but largely due to two separate, unique occurrences in the play, consensus was not reached on a single name for some time. In 2009, readers of the New York Daily News voted on nicknaming the play "Catch-42" as the favored name in reference to Super Bowl XLII and the kind of coverage the Patriots deployed against the Giants' four-receiver set.[4] Since then, David Tyree has adopted the "Catch-42" nickname as well as ESPN.com.[5] Other proposed nicknames include "The Escape and the Helmet Catch", "The E-mmaculate Connection" (a pun on the Immaculate Reception; the 'E' standing for Eli), "The Double Miracle", and "The Reception that Ended Perfection".[2] "The Great Escape" was used by U.S. President George W. Bush during the Giants' White House visit. "David and Eliath" was also suggested by David Tyree due to biblical reference.[6] Bill Simmons named it "The Helmet Catch" five days after the game, and as time passed by, this became the consensus name for the play.[7]


The catch won the 2008 Best Play ESPY Award. The award ceremony featured a spoof by host Justin Timberlake, who "revealed" that he had left gum on David Tyree's helmet, which helped him catch the pass (since he caught it close to the top of his helmet).[8] During the acceptance speech, Tyree jokingly stated, "Justin, thanks for the gum." Eli Manning also jokingly thanked his offensive line, "for giving me zero pass protection."

In an NFC Divisional playoff game against the defending Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers on January 15, 2012, Manning threw a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half, which was caught in the end zone by Hakeem Nicks, giving the Giants a 20–10 lead. Nicks caught the ball by cradling it against his helmet, which prompted commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to note the similarity to Tyree's catch. Incidentally, Buck and Aikman were also the commentators of Super Bowl XLII. The Giants would go on to beat the Packers 37–20,[9][10] as well as win another Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.


Fox Sports lists Eli Manning's pass to David Tyree as the greatest play in Super Bowl history; editor Adrian Hasenmeyer called the play "an insult to physics and Albert Einstein".[12] NBC Sports and NFL.com have also listed the play as the greatest Super Bowl play of all time.[13][14] NFL Films founder Steve Sabol compared Manning to Fran Tarkenton and said that the play "defied logic, history, gravity and just about anything else you care to mention".[15]


  1. ^ Sabol, Steve (February 10, 2008). "Sabol's Shot – Tyree catch". NFL Films. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Play of the decade". NFL Films. February 5, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  3. ^ "David Tyree Statistics". Sports Reference. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Vacchiano, Ralph (December 18, 2010). "Daily News readers pick 'Catch 42'". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Spencer, Sheldon (January 25, 2011). "David Tyree recalls 'Catch-42'". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Tyree, David (February 8, 2008). Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Interview). Interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "The Super Bowl XLII mailbag". ESPN.com. February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  8. ^ "Everett, Tyree, NY Giants win ESPY Awards". Associated Press. July 17, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  9. ^ Borden, Sam (January 15, 2012). "Giants 37, Packers 20: Giants Knock Out the Champs". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  10. ^ "Division Can't Miss Play: Nicks does it again". National Football League. January 15, 2012.
  11. ^ Lynch, Andrew (February 3, 2017). "'Undisputed': Eli Manning admits the 'Helmet Catch' was the luckiest play in NFL history". FOX Sports. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  12. ^ Hasenmeyer, Adrian (February 6, 2011). "Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time". Fox Sports. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  13. ^ Svekis, Steve. "Greatest Super Bowl Moments". NBC Sports. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  14. ^ "Top 10 Super Bowl plays". National Football League. February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  15. ^ Sabol, Steve (November 18, 2008). "Tyree's catch goes down as best play in Super Bowl history". National Football League. Retrieved February 5, 2012.

External links

2014 New England Patriots season

The 2014 New England Patriots season was the franchise's 45th season in the National Football League, the 55th overall and the 15th under head coach Bill Belichick.

The 2014 season would mark the ten-year anniversary of the Patriots third and most recent Super Bowl win, when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Despite their championship drought, Belichick’s Patriots remained historically dominant throughout much of the 2000s/2010s. They qualified for the playoffs nine times (missing only the 2008 postseason), reached the AFC Championship five times, appeared in two Super Bowls and, in the eyes of many, solidified Tom Brady’s status as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. In 2007, the Patriots completed just the second undefeated regular season in the history of the modern NFL (the first being their division rival Miami Dolphins in 1972), as well as the first since the league expanded its seasons to sixteen games (though only the '72 Dolphins were able to win the Super Bowl). It was achievements such as these that made the Patriots a particularly intriguing media target. A miserable loss in week four against the Kansas City Chiefs, where New England dropped to 2-2, frequent off-field antics of tight-end Rob Gronkowski and highly publicized Deflategate scandal were all important chronicles of the 2014 Patriots’ wild season, the latter of which would ultimately result in the four-game suspension of Brady for the beginning of the 2016 NFL season. Despite all this, the Patriots managed to emerge victorious in the end.

The Patriots finished 12–4 for the third straight year, winning their sixth straight AFC East title, as well as the top-overall seed and home field advantage for the AFC playoffs. With their seeding, New England was awarded a first-round bye in the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, the first such occurrence for any team since the league switched to a 12-team playoff format in 1990 (surpassing the 1992–95 Dallas Cowboys). They finished fourth in the NFL in scoring (468 points) and eighth in points allowed (313), and first in point differential (with an average margin of victory of 9.7 points).

The Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 35–31 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, advancing to their fourth straight AFC Championship game. There, they defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45–7 to advance to their 8th Super Bowl, their 6th under Bill Belichick. On February 1, 2015, the Patriots played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. After tying the game 14–14 at halftime and falling behind ten points in the third quarter, the Patriots rallied in the final quarter of the game to secure a 28–24 lead. The win secured their fourth championship in franchise history. The game is widely considered by many to be one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.

2019 NFL season

The 2019 NFL season will be the 100th season of the National Football League (NFL). The season will begin on September 5, 2019 with the NFL Kickoff Game with the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers. The season will conclude with Super Bowl LIV, the league's championship game, scheduled for February 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Asante Samuel

Asante T. Samuel (born January 6, 1981) is a former American football cornerback. He played college football at UCF, and was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Samuel also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.

Best Play ESPY Award

The Best Play ESPY Award has been conferred annually since 2002 on the play in a single regular season or playoff game contested professionally under the auspices of one of the four major North American leagues or collegiately under the auspices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association adjudged to be the most outstanding or best.

Between 2002 and 2004, the award voting panel comprised variously fans; sportswriters and broadcasters, sports executives, and retired sportspersons, termed collectively experts; and ESPN personalities, but balloting thereafter has been exclusively by fans over the Internet from amongst choices selected by the ESPN Select Nominating Committee. The ESPY Awards ceremony is conducted in July and awards conferred reflect performance and achievement over the twelve months previous to presentation. In the last few years, the format has been: sixteen plays are placed in brackets (1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, etc.) The winners in voting then advance to the second round. The winners go to the finals, where voters select Best Play.

David Tyree

David Mikel Tyree (born January 3, 1980) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. He is currently the Director of Player Development for the New York Giants. He played college football for Syracuse University. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Baltimore Ravens. He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2005 as a special teams player.

Tyree is best known for the Helmet Catch in 2008 on the Giants' final drive of Super Bowl XLII. The catch came at a crucial moment and was instrumental in continuing the drive that eventually resulted in the Giants scoring a last-minute touchdown, resulting in a 17–14 victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots.

Gil Santos

Gilbert A. Santos (April 19, 1938 – April 19, 2018) was an American radio play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots of the National Football League, and morning sports reporter for WBZ radio in Boston. He was an inductee of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.He retired from WBZ radio in January 2009, and was inducted into the WBZ Radio Hall of Fame on July 9, 2009. The Patriots 2012 season was his final season of radio play-by-play.

Jermaine Kearse

Jermaine Levan Kearse (born February 6, 1990) is an American football wide receiver for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and later won Super Bowl XLVIII with the team, beating the Denver Broncos. Kearse played college football at Washington.

List of 2009 all-decade Sports Illustrated awards and honors

This is a list of Sports Illustrated magazine's all-decade awards and honors for 2000–2009.

Rodney Harrison

Rodney Scott Harrison (born December 15, 1972) is a former professional American football player of the National Football League. Harrison played strong safety for the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and winner of two Super Bowl rings. During his career, Harrison set and still holds the record for sacks by a defensive back, as well as becoming the first NFL player with 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. He currently serves as a commentator for Sunday Night Football on NBC.

Sports in the New York metropolitan area

Sports in the New York metropolitan area have a long and distinguished history. New York City is home to the headquarters of the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Women's Hockey League, and Major League Soccer.

New York City anchors one of only two metropolitan areas (along with Los Angeles) in the United States with more than one team in each of the country's four most popular major professional sports leagues, with nine such franchises. Counting these along with its two teams in Major League Soccer, the New York metropolitan area is home to a total of eleven organizations competing in the five most prestigious professional sports leagues in the United States, and have been crowned champions of their respective leagues on a combined 53 occasions. As of 2019, five of the Metropolitan Area's nine "Big Four" franchises play their full schedules within the New York City limits.

In addition, Queens is host of tennis' US Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The New York City Marathon is the world's largest, and the 2004–2006 runnings hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006. The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a very prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year.

New York City hosted portions of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Goodwill Games. The 1984 Summer Paralympics were conducted in the city as well.

Super Bowl XLII

Super Bowl XLII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2007 season. The Giants defeated the Patriots by the score of 17–14. The game was played on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The game is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in the history of professional sports, as well as one of the finest Super Bowl games. The Patriots entered the game as 12-point favorites after becoming the first team to complete a perfect regular season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins, and the only one since the league expanded to a 16-game regular season schedule in 1978. The Giants, who finished the regular season with a 10–6 record, were seeking to become the first NFC wild card team to win a Super Bowl, and were also looking for their third Super Bowl victory and first since they won Super Bowl XXV seventeen years earlier. This Super Bowl was also a rematch of the final game of the regular season, in which New England won, 38–35.

The game is best remembered for the Giants' fourth-quarter game-winning drive, often considered the greatest drive in NFL history. Down 14–10, New York got the ball on their own 17-yard line with 2:39 left and marched 83 yards down the field. In the drive's most memorable play, David Tyree made the "Helmet Catch" on 3rd down, a leaping one-handed catch pinning the football with his right hand to the crown of his helmet for a 32-yard first down conversion. After a second first-down conversion by Steve Smith on 3rd and 1, wide receiver Plaxico Burress scored the winning touchdown on a 13-yard reception with 35 seconds remaining.

The game was tight throughout, with both teams' defense dominating the competition until near the end of the game. Only 10 total points were scored in the first three quarters. The Giants consumed a Super Bowl record 9 minutes and 59 seconds on their opening drive, but could only manage a field goal. The Patriots then responded with running back Laurence Maroney's 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. After a scoreless third quarter, the fourth quarter saw a Super Bowl record three lead changes. After Tyree's 3-yard touchdown reception at the beginning of the quarter, New England wide receiver Randy Moss made a 6-yard touchdown reception with 2:42 left to play before New York's game-winning drive. Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, was named Super Bowl MVP. Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who retired following the victory, had two tackles and one sack. This game was the first since Super Bowl IX in 1975 (the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16–6) that neither team scored at least 20 points.

The telecast of the game on Fox broke the then-record for the most watched Super Bowl in history with an average of 97.5 million viewers in the United States.

Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl XLIX was an American football game played to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2014 season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion and defending Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle Seahawks 28–24 to earn their fourth Super Bowl title and their first since Super Bowl XXXIX 10 years earlier. The game was played on February 1, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It was the second time the stadium has hosted a Super Bowl (following Super Bowl XLII seven years earlier), and the third one held in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

With the loss, the Seahawks became the fourth defending Super Bowl champions to lose in the following year's title game, after the 1978 Dallas Cowboys, 1983 Washington Redskins and the 1997 Green Bay Packers. After finishing the previous season by defeating the Denver Broncos, 43–8, in Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle completed the 2014 regular season with a 12–4 record. The Patriots, who also posted a 12–4 record, joined the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers as one of the three teams to have made eight appearances in the Super Bowl. For the second straight season, but only the third time in the prior 21 seasons, the number one seeds from both conferences met in the league championship game. Seattle became the first team to appear in consecutive Super Bowls since New England won two straight (XXXVIII and XXXIX).

After the teams were tied 14–14 at halftime, the Seahawks built a 10-point lead to end the third quarter. The Patriots, however, rallied to take a 28–24 lead with 2:02 left in the game. Seattle threatened to score in the final moments, driving the ball to New England's 1-yard line. With 26 seconds remaining in the game, Seattle decided to pass the ball in a highly scrutinized call that resulted in Patriots undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler making a game-saving interception of Russell Wilson's throw. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a then Super Bowl-record 37 completions on 50 attempts for 328 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions (a record Brady himself would break 2 years later in Super Bowl LI).

NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX remains the most-watched program in the network's history, as well as the most watched program in American television history, surpassing the previous year's game. The game was seen by an average of 114.4 million viewers, with it reaching to 118.5 million during the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show featuring Katy Perry, and then peaking to 120.8 million during New England's fourth-quarter comeback.

The Catch (American football)

The Catch was the winning touchdown reception in the 1981 NFC Championship Game played between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on January 10, 1982, as part of the 1981–82 NFL playoffs following the 1981 NFL season. With 58 seconds left in the game and the 49ers facing 3rd-and-3, San Francisco wide receiver Dwight Clark made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone to complete a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Montana, enabling the 49ers to defeat the Cowboys, 28–27. The Catch is widely regarded as one of the most memorable events in National Football League (NFL) history. It came at the end of a 14-play, 83-yard drive engineered by Montana. The game represented the end of the Cowboys' domination in the NFC since the conference's inception in 1970, and the beginning of the 49ers' rise as an NFL dynasty in the 1980s.

The International 2016

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The tournament awarded one of the biggest prize pools in esports history at over US$20 million. The best-of-five Grand Finals took place between the China-based Wings Gaming and U.S.-based Digital Chaos, with Wings Gaming taking the series 3–1, winning them over $9 million. The event, seen by millions of viewers globally, was considered to be one of the greatest esports tournaments of all time, with multiple upsets and Cinderella stories throughout.

The Timeline

The Timeline is a documentary series developed by NFL Films and airs on NFL Network that documents select events of the National Football League.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era

The Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era, as commonly referred to by sports writers and fans, is the sports dynasty formed by quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who have led the New England Patriots in the National Football League (NFL) since 2000. The dynasty has also been referred to as the Patriots Dynasty.Brady and Belichick have been considered to be the greatest in their respective positions in league history, and are considered responsible for one of the sport's longest and most dominant dynasties. Whereas the Patriots had only appeared in (and lost) two Super Bowls prior to the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots have appeared in nine Super Bowls since (more than any other franchise), of which they have won six (tied for all-time with the Pittsburgh Steelers). The team also appeared in eight straight AFC Championship games between 2011 and 2018, and have recorded the only undefeated 16-game regular season. During the Brady-Belichick era, no team in the league has had a winning record against the Patriots, culminating in 18 consecutive winning seasons from 2001 to 2018, while they boast a .784 win percentage against their division opponents. The Patriots played in 50% of all the Super Bowls played since 2001, and won 33% of them.

In addition to their role in setting the Patriots' franchise records, Belichick holds the records for most Super Bowl appearances and victories as a head coach, and is tied with George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most NFL championships overall. Brady holds the records for most Super Bowl appearances, victories and MVP awards as a player in any position.

Belichick and Brady have also been credited with helping to create and sustain the culture around the team, dubbed the "Patriot Way", where there is an emphasis on personal accountability, consistent improvement, and a focus on team success over personal gain.

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