Manning, Tyree Combine for Super Play

GLENDALE, Ariz. – It's a replay you'll surely be seeing for decades to come. An instant classic, if you will. Of all the key, clutch plays that added up to New York's Super Bowl XLII victory over New England, none was bigger than Eli Manning imitating Randall Cunningham and David Tyree clutching a ball as hard as humanly possible.

"That drive and the play to Tyree, the scramble will go down as one of the greatest plays of all-time," Colts QB Peyton Manning said. "Everybody will get to see that play played over and over again. It was fun to say you were here to witness it and the fact that I'm related to the quarterback who threw it makes it neat as well."

"That was the biggest play of the game," rookie receiver Steve Smith added. "I was so amped up after the catch. I was talking smack to Rodney Harrison (saying), ‘that was a catch, that was a catch.' He was trying to steal the ball away. That was unbelievable."

As was the fleet-footed Manning who appeared to be all but sacked before getting free and launching the key pass to Tyree. New York was facing a third-and-five from its own 44-yard-line with a mere 1:15 to play. Manning spun away from multiple defenders, somehow kept his feet and connected with Tyree, who refused to let the ball escape his grasp during the acrobatic catch, pinning it against his own helmet in the process.

"I saw Eli break a tackle, which I don't think he has ever done before in his life," center Shaun O'Hara said. "It was very Steve Young and Joe Montana-like. I don't know how he had the composure to get away from that. He made a heck of a throw and for a second there, we weren't sure who was going to come down with the ball. That's what you do when you are from New Jersey, you make big plays."

The pair of Jersey boys sure did combine to knock a lot of the wind out of New England's sails. Four plays later, the Giants were in the end zone with the victory.

"The escape by Eli and the throw that is caught by David Tyree, that ball was challenged," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "That wasn't like he just jumped in the air and caught the ball. That was challenged, you had two people ripping for the ball and he brings it down. That might be one of the great plays of all time in the Super Bowl."

"Eli's not a runner like that," Smith said. "It was unbelievable just to see him break away from the defense. I was just so excited...I thought he was going to go down, but he kept his feet and did a great job."

As for the catch, Tyree's mates never had a doubt in the sure-handed wideout.

"David Tyree played this game full, went up and made a hell of a play," Plaxico Burress said. "Nobody knows how he came down with it. We call him ‘Lead Hands Incorporated' because when he gets his hands on it he clamps down and holds it in."

Not surprisingly the two humble parties involved gave all the credit to one another.

"That's really what it comes down to, making the play," Tyree said. "Eli did an unbelievable job. I honestly don't know how he got out of it. And when the ball is in the air you have to go get it. That's the job."

"It was just a great catch by David Tyree," Manning said. "I found a way to get loose, and just really threw it up. He made an unbelievable catch and saved the game."

Not only was Tyree on the receiving end of the play of the game, but he chipped in with New York's first TD as well. With 11:10 to go in the game, Tyree got free across the middle and caught Manning's pass to give Big Blue a 10-7 lead.

"It's a lovely feeling," Tyree said. "I honestly came out here and expected to have a great day."

Eli Manning and David Tyree. The two will forever be linked for their contribution to Super Bowl lore. Without superb individual efforts on both of their parts, the Giants would likely have ended up on the wrong side of this one.

"That catch won us the Super Bowl," right guard Chris Snee said. "That's the number one catch in my book."

Super stats

The Giants were only the second team in Super Bowl history to win after trailing in the final minute of the fourth quarter. In Super Bowl XXIII, San Francisco's John Taylor caught the game-winning touchdown pass with 34 seconds to play vs. Cincinnati…

The Giants were the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing at halftime since Dallas defeated Buffalo, 30-13, in Super Bowl XXVIII after Buffalo had led at halftime, 13-6. In the interim, all 12 halftime leaders had won the Super Bowl…

Eli Manning joins Joe Montana as only the second QB in Super Bowl history to throw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a winning effort…

Manning became the 27th different starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl. He also becomes the first starting QB to wear the number 10 to win a Super Bowl, meaning that every number between seven and 19 is now represented on the list of Super Bowl-winning QBs…

Tom Coughlin, in his 12th season, becomes the 26th head coach to win a Super Bowl…

There have now been six Super Bowl games that have been decided by three points or less, and the Giants and/or Patriots have been involved in the last five. They include the Giants' 20-19 win in Super Bowl XXV and the three Super Bowl victories of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era.

The usual suspects

There were no surprises among New York's list of inactive players for the Super Bowl. The unfortunate Giants that didn't get to play were RB Danny Ware, DB Geoffrey Pope, OT Adam Koets, DT Manny Wright, WR Sinorice Moss, TE Jerome Collins and DT Russell Davis. Jared Lorenzen was the club's third quarterback. As expected Corey Webster started at right cornerback over Sam Madison.

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