Tom Brady may well be the best quarterback to ever play the game of football, but his Super Bowl losses to the New York Giants continue to haunt him to this day, including one play in particular.
On the latest installment of the “Man in the Arena” documentary series detailing his illustrious career, Brady shared intimate details of his memory of watching from the New England Patriots sideline as quarterback Eli Manning completed a clutch pass to wide receiver David Tyree. The catch made by Tyree will live in Giants football lore for as long as football is played, and it will plague Brady for as long as he lives.
“He escapes, wheels out of the pocket, throws it. I’m watching the ball flutter in the middle of the field. Rodney Harrison is right there on the play, goes up, hits the ball, hits the helmet, and the guy catches the f****** ball on his helmet,” Brady recalled, seemingly still in disbelief.
The official ESPN Instagram account posted an excerpt of the interview with Brady online Tuesday, December 7.
Giants Version of ‘The Catch’ that led to a Super Bowl Title
The Giants inflicted extra pain on Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, ending an undefeated season for what would have been considered the best team in NFL history had they been able to put New York away in the sport’s biggest game.
The circumstances of Tyree’s catch also poured salt into the eventual wound the loss would leave among the New England faithful. It came late in the 4th quarter, on a 3rd down and 5 play. Before making the toss, Manning evaded a sack that would have forced the Giants to punt and likely would have ended the game. A punt still would have been the likely outcome had Tyree not pinned the ball to his helmet and come down with the reception.
Down four points at the time, Tyree’s now famous grab extended a drive that ended with a 13-yard Manning touchdown pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining in the game, which sealed the Giants’ 17-14 Super Bowl win.
It was the third championship in the franchise’s history, and their first time sitting atop the NFL in nearly two decades (17 years). The Patriots finished the season with a somehow disappointing record of 18-1, one season off a scandal that branded New England as cheaters for being caught videotaping opponents’ practices to gain an unfair advantage.
Giants Proved to be Brady’s, Patriots’ Only Real Kryptonite
As New York fans know, the 2007-08 Super Bowl championship was only the beginning of their role as a thorn in the side of the Patriots’ dynasty.
Brady and New England would go on to win six titles together, losing in the Super Bowl three times, once to the Philadelphia Eagles and twice to the Giants. Manning got the better of the Pats again in the 2011-12 championship game, besting New England 21-17. That game also ended with a late fourth quarter score, as Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 6-yard touchdown run with 1 minute and 4 seconds left to play to put New York up for good.
Brady went on to leave the Patriots and win his 7th Super Bowl ring as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. They are in position to potentially repeat this year.
And while it is a near certainty Brady will go down as the best quarterback to ever play the sport, the Giants will forever be remembered as the team football’s best player could never beat in the sport’s biggest game.