Eli Manning's desperation heave to David Tyree during Super Bowl XLII may be one of the most memorable plays in the history of the NFL. Tyree is now retired from football, but his catch that helped secure the Giants 17-14 victory, a win that broke up the New England Patriots historic perfect season still haunts quarterback Tom Brady.
"The hardest loss, I would say, is when we lost to you guys in '07," Brady told Fox Sports 1 analyst and former Giant Michael Strahan in an interview from Saturday. "That was just like, whether that will ever be duplicated again, I don't know. But the stars aligned for us on that year. I mean, just an incredible season, the players that we had that all came together, Randy Moss and Wes (Welker), Kevin Faulk, Laurence (Maroney), we had great offensive lineman." "And then, the way we were winning those games was incredible. Blowing good teams out. We beat you guys, you guys played a great game. We beat the Super Bowl champs.
The Patriots marched their way into the Super Bowl with a 16-0 record, trying to become the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated in a season. The Patriots defense blew teams out of the water and opposing defenses didn't stand a chance when they lined up against Brady and his crew.
Brady set the record for touchdown passes in a single season with 50 and was named the MVP for that year. Randy Moss also broke Jerry Rice's single seasonby touchdown mark set in 1987. Brady connected with Moss for an eye opening 23 times during the 2007 season.
The Giants and Patriots squared off during the final week of the 2007 and the Patriots had a late rally to win the game 38-35. Something about that game brought good vibes to the Giants, who showed they could stick around with the best team football had to offer. The Giants eventually made a miracle run in the playoffs and thanks to a spectacular Manning to Plaxico Burress touchdown connection; Big Blue got the last laugh by holding a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Of course, this was not the last time the Giants and Patriots met in the big game. The Giants defeated the Patriots 21-17 during Super Bowl XLVI. Brady is in a tough situation this year. He has to control a locker room that lost their starting tight end Aaron Hernandez because he was charged with six crimes, including the murder of Boston resident Odin Lloyd.
The offense also has major questions to be answered. After losing four of their top five leading receivers, Brady will have slim pickings when it comes to offensive weapons. To say Brady has his work cut out for him this season is an understatement, but he has excelled with his back to wall in the past, who's to say he can't do it again?
As for the Giants?
Brady still has hard feelings after losing to them twice in the big game. After winning three Super Bowls to begin his career, Brady has had trouble securing his fourth title. It would be something special if he can lead the Patriots to the field in 2013 and win a championship after all Boston has gone through in the past year.