The New York Giants and their fans don’t have much to be thankful for this season. New York enters Week 13 tied for last place in the NFC East with a 3-8 record, and a division-worst -61 point differential. The Giants had a chance to play spoiler on Sunday night, but allowed the Dallas Cowboys to overcome an 11-point deficit, as the hated Cowboys won 31-28 over the Giants.
It was a forgettable night in East Rutherford, right?
Odell Beckham Jr., New York’s first-round draft choice out of LSU in the 2014 Draft, made what many are calling the best catch of all-time, giving the Giants a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. The catch was nothing shy of spectacular. Running a go-route down the right sideline, Beckham amazingly caught Eli Manning’s 43-yard pass in the most spectacular fashion, despite being interfered with by Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr.
By now, you’ve already seen the catch – Beckham, falling down on his back, reaches back with one arm, and amazingly catches Manning’s pass with the ball already by him, with just two fingers and his thumb, before securing it while falling into the end zone. Oh yeah, Beckham stayed in bounds, too.
As good as Beckham’s catch was, it still wasn’t even the best catch in Giants history, nor was it the best catch by a Giant in the last decade.
Super Bowl 42 was supposed to be a coronation for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. After blowing an 18-point lead in the 2007 AFC Title game to the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots reinvented themselves – they added Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth and Adalius Thomas, and the results were phenomenal. The Patriots cruised to a perfect 16-0 regular season, the first time that any team has won 16 games in a regular season, before knocking off the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers en route to the team’s fourth Super Bowl appearance in seven years.
The Patriots were perfect. The Patriots were supposed to win, and it was going to be the perfect team, the perfect dynasty, and Tom Brady was supposed be the perfect quarterback.
That song and dance, however, will have to wait another day.
After a Brady-to-Moss touchdown put the Patriots up 14-10 with just 2:42 left, everybody expected the New England defense to put the finishing touches on a perfect 19-0 season.
David Tyree had other ideas.
After Manning inexplicably escaped the grasp of both Jarvis Green and Richard Seymour, he flung the ball toward the middle of the field, where Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was covering Tyree. Both Tyree and Harrison went up for the ball, but it was Tyree who got his hands on it. While being tackled by Harrison, Tyree used his helmet to secure the catch, and keep New York’s drive alive.
The rest is history, as the Giants scored a touchdown, and upset the Patriots 17-14.
Imagine the NFL if Tyree hadn’t made that catch. Brady and Belichick would have at least four Super Bowl titles, including a perfect 19-0 season to their resume. Brady’s ACL wouldn’t have blown out in 2008, as the Patriots would have opened on Thursday Night Football, rather than a Sunday afternoon game – and New England sure wouldn’t have played the Chiefs in a season-opening, primetime game.
Without a Super Bowl 42 title, it’s feasible the Tom Coughlin doesn’t last as long as Giants head coach – and perhaps he would never have had the opportunity to lead the Giants to another Super Bowl title in Super Bowl 46.
Sure, Tyree’s catch took a little luck, and it’s something that can never be practiced – but aren’t sports just lucky sometimes?
Go ahead and tell me Beckham’s catch in a Week 12 game of a losing season was better or more important. It wasn’t.