The Giants didn’t make it to pro football’s peak in 2014, but there are still plenty of memorable moments to look back on.
Big Blue may have fallen on hard times as of late, but Giants fans are fortunate to have a team with a rich history of many great playoff memories to cherish. The team has won eight championships in its 90-year history, four of which came in the Super Bowl era. Since the Giants aren’t partaking in the big game this season, we’ve collected the five best moments in the franchise’s playoff history.
5. Mario Manningham makes a brilliant sideline catch
When we look back at Super Bowl XLVI, it’s always going to be that other time the Giants beat the Patriots. The game just isn’t dramatic as Super Bowl XLII, when New York was a huge underdog and New England was going for an undefeated season. Still, this one had its moments. With the Giants trailing 17-15 late the fourth quarter, Eli Manning and the offense took over at their own 12-yard line. Although the offense had been stagnant for much of the second half, Manning lobbed the ball down the left sideline and found Manningham, who made a beautiful catch while barely keeping his feet in bounds. The 38-yard strike jump-started the offense and led to Ahmad Bradshaw’s game-winning touchdown run.
Giants dismantle Vikings in 2000 NFC Championship Game
The 2000 season is one that many Giants fans would like to forget the end of, but the road to Super Bowl XXXV was memorable because of the way the Giants weren’t considered a favorite despite their status as the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Even while hosting the conference title game at Giants Stadium, New York played as underdog to the offensively loaded Vikings. Only the most optimistic Giants fans could imagine that their team would take a 14-0 lead in the blink of an eye and cruise to a 41-0 victory, but that’s exactly what happened.
3. Mark Ingram extends key drive in Super Bowl XXV
The one play that most fans remember from Super Bowl XXV is Scott Norwood’s missed field goal with time expiring. However, the 20-19 Giants win wouldn’t be possible without a great play from Mark Ingram midway through the third quarter. With New York needing 13 yards to continue the opening drive of the second half, Jeff Hostetler connected on a pass with Ingram well short of the marker. However, Ingram dodged multiple Buffalo tacklers before diving for first down yardage. The drive continued, with the Giants eventually scoring on an Otis Anderson 1-yard run with just six minutes left in the period. The nine-minute long drive was key in the Giants’ ball-control strategy.
2. Phil Simms completes 88 percent of his passes in Super Bowl XXI
Not only does Simms’ 268-yard, three-touchdown performance still hold up as one of the best quarterback performances in Super Bowl history, but it helped the Giants win their first NFL title in 30 years. Although the Giants trailed the underdog Broncos 10-9 heading into halftime, Simms and the offense exploded for 30 second-half points. That kind of domination is easy when you’re completing 22-of-25 passes. Even when Simms saw one of his passes bounce off of Mark Bavaro’s hands in the end zone, Phil McConkey was right there to make a sliding catch. It was that kind of day for the Giants, who cruised to a 39-20 win.
1. The Helmet Catch
Even with all the great moments in the Giants’ past (and hopefully future), David Tyree and his game-saving catch in Super Bowl XLII might never be topped. We all know how it went down by now. The Giants were trailing the heavily favored Patriots 14-10 in the waning moments of the game. On 3rd-and-5, Manning dropped back to pass but found himself heavily pressured by Patriots defenders. After appearing to be done for, Manning somehow escaped the rush and heaved a desperate pass downfield. Tyree leaped up and made the catch despite being blanketed by safety Rodney Harrison. Even more remarkable than that, Tyree held onto the ball as he fell on his back, pinning it against his helmet so that the tip wouldn’t hit the ground. With the ball on New England’s 24-yard line following the 32-yard play, Manning would hook up with Plaxico Burress for the winning score just a few plays later.