There shouldn’t even be a debate about which catch was better, the Santonio Holmes back corner dragging the feet touchdown catch to give the Steelers the lead or the David Tyree high in the air helmet catch to keep the underdog Giants alive against the vaunted New England Patriots. The only reason the Holmes catch is great is because it just looks so damn beautiful. Roethlisberger lasering the ball past three or four Cardinals defenders as Holmes catches and barely has room to drag his feet. The problem with the catch is that it is not unique; the dragging the feet catch is all too common in the NFL. Whether it’s in between the goal lines or in the endzone, many receivers have had one of those types of catches in their careers. Amani Toomer of the Giants had several of those just this past season and even in the playoffs last year. It’s just cool because it still looks so beautiful. However, the Eli Manning scramble to David Tyree catch is not something you see every season, let alone every decade. It is a play that you rewind and replay over and over again and still be in complete amazement that the play unfolded all the way through. Here is a list of reasons why it is such a better catch:
1. Uniqueness – Players practice the Holmes catch in practice. They practice the diving and dragging of feet to stay in bounds catch during the week. And you see this catch almost every week in some game during the season. There is no way to practice the Tyree on the helmet getting tackled holding the ball catch. That just happens in real-time… once in a blue moon.
Giants' David Tyree's catch (courtesy of Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger)
2. Step by Step Drama – The Manning-Tyree catch had at least 3 instances in which the play should have died but somehow stayed alive. One, Eli was engulfed in a sea of pass rushers almost instantly as the play began. Two, as he tried to navigate out of the pile, some defender grabbed Eli’s jersey. Yet he managed to break free. Three, Tyree leapt to grab a catch that was almost over his head but he was able to get his hands on it. Four, Harrison had his arm inside Tyree’s arms and could have easily broken the play up. Five, somehow Tyree was able to keep the ball one inch from the ground as Harrison tackled him with their arms tangled. Wow. The Roethlisberger-Holmes didn’t have this same step by step drama. Roethlisberger had several seconds of safety before the pass rushers closed in, yet he didn’t feel the pressure that Eli felt. He lasered it to the back corner and luckily went through three defenders into Holmes hands. Great play but not too much drama.
3. Pressure situation – The Steelers and Roethlisberger had just won a Super Bowl a few years ago. Everyone expected them to win this one. Instead they let the Cardinals come back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. That means they finally played to their expectations on that last drive. However, the Giants were massive underdogs at the Super Bowl. They were playing against history, a vaunted team on the verge of going 19-0. Manning was a mediocre player before the playoffs and he stepped up majorly on that last drive. Plus, it was third down and without making that long play, the game was pretty much over. The Holmes catch was only second down, and even with a miss there, the Steelers still had two downs to laser it into the end zone.
4. Caliber of receivers – If you follow the Steelers, you have heard Holmes many times before. Although he’s the third receiver, he has been known to make some big plays before. He is easily a number two receiver on many teams. However, Tyree has only been known to be a good special teams player. He was way down on the receiver chart of the Giants and didn’t even play this year for the Giants (pseudo-injured reserve). He was definitely not the guy you’d expect to make such a big catch in the Super Bowl.
5. Where and when the play occurred – The Steelers were at the 6-yard line of the Cardinals. It was second down. Cardinal fans were already somewhat resigned to the fact that the chances were the Steelers would score a TD there. However, the Giants were in desperation mode. It was third and long and they were near midfield. As a Patriots fan, you’re tentatively happy at that situation that the chances of Eli making a first down there was against the Giants.
When you look at these four reasons, they not only validate that Tyree’s catch was more remarkable but that the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl was better than the Steelers-Cardinals game this year. Last year was completely David and Goliath, fighting against history. While this year, albeit a great game, was not a greatly played game. Cardinals should have had the lead at halftime, if not for that stupid intercepted pass, can’t tackle for 100 yards play. As a Cardinals fan, you gotta be pretty upset that you played so well against the Steelers except for that halftime play and the last drive. As a Steelers fan, you gotta be relieved that you were able to pull it out on that last drive after losing a big lead in the fourth quarter. All in all a great game to watch, but it still didn’t compare to all that last year’s game signified and the suspense and excitement of it.
As a disclaimer, I am a Giants fan. However, my second favorite team is the Steelers, so this article is not that biased. It was a great game, and the Steelers proved how great and respected the franchise is. They deserve to be called “America’s Team” instead of those sorry Cowboys. The Super Bowl should have been Steelers-Giants. Now that would have been an amazing game!
There are some familiar leaders, such as Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss. Don’t mix up Calvin Johnson of Detroit with Chad Johnson, aka Ocho Cinco. So where do Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, and Plaxico Burress rank in yardage??
None of the four have lost playing time due to injury. Although Burress was suspended a game and a quarter, as per diva rules. Of the 36 games played by all four of them, they have combined for only four 100+ yard games (Moss 3, Burress 1)!! It’s easy to blame their lack of production on injuries to their quarterback. Brady is injured for the entire season, and both Romo and Palmer have been injured for a majority of the time. However, Moss has had three 100+ games with QB Matt Cassel, so it’s not just due to the Brady effect. Burress’ lack of production with a healthy Eli Manning definitely has to do with his diva distractions resulting from being suspended twice. Additionally, when you look at some of the top receivers now, they are getting their yards even from bo-bo and/or inexperienced QBs. Johnson from Matt Schaub in Houston, Jennings from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, White from upstart Matt Ryan in Atlanta and Johnson from pathetic QBs in Detroit.
Their touchdown numbers are still respectable (they average 4.5 while the top 10 yardage receivers average 4.6). However, when you start looking at average yards per catch (YPC), the four divas’ performance starts to degrade. The four average 12.3 YPC while the top 10 average 15.4 YPC. Then, when you look at their total average receptions, 37.5, compared to the top 10’s 49.8 you start getting a better picture of what’s going on. That translates to an average of 4.16 receptions per diva per game while the top 10 receivers are averaging 5.08 receptions per game.
All four divas are playing far below their career performances. Moss’ four TDs are on pace to rank this year with his trouble years in Oakland (3 and eight) and that crazy year in Minnesota (7). His three fumbles so far are already the most he’s had in any season. He has only averaged 0.7 fumbles per season in his career. This shows a lack of concentration and motivation on Moss’ part. To give a little credit to Moss, he has remained quiet this year and has been a team member, although he has been known to shut down and be quiet at times.
T.O. on the other hand has continued to complain and even cried once about his close bond with his ‘boy’ Tony Romo. Today he made another selfish comment that this year’s Cowboys should follow the same blueprint as last year’s, an obvious jab that he should get the ball more often. Someone should remind him with some videos of how many balls he has dropped or how many times balls thrown his way have been defended.
Burress height advantage
The main troublemaker this year has been Plaxico Burress, having been suspended twice for lack of time management. At least, he doesn’t show the frustration towards Eli anymore when passes are badly thrown to him or aren’t thrown to him at all. Burress has yet to have a strong game since the first week of the season when he had 10 receptions of 133 yards. Burress at least understands the importance he plays in drawing double teams and does a respectable job blocking even in his off games. However, he knows if he steps too far out of bounds, the Super Bowl champs will make him a pariah.
Chad Johnson? Ever since his pre-season news of changing his name to Ocho-Cinco, there has been no national news about him. His highest yardage game so far has been 57. His 9.4 YPC is far below his career 15.0 YPC. He has had only one 20+ yard reception this year!! Compared with 27 last year. Ocho-Cinco has been reduced to Nacho-Cero.
These four receivers need to realize they need their QBs just as much as their God-given talent. Because of their selfish attitudes, they tend to give up and play non-chalantly when QBs they don’t respect take over. Imagine other position players doing that? Cornerbacks? Offensive linemen? Taking games off for cornerbacks and offensive linemen would prove detrimental to a team’s chances of winning that game. So why should wide receivers, especially the best ones, do that at times? The mind of the diva wide receiver.
It has been four months since Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix when the vastly underdog New York Giants upset the conceited New England Patriots. It has also been four months since (I think) the greatest play in the history of the Super Bowl, … when Eli Manning escaped four linemen to throw a desperate pass to David Tyree, who caught it with his helmet. That play was all anybody could talk about the week after. And it became the one unresolved issue from the Super Bowl. What do you call it? The Play? Taken. The Slip and Grip? Too long and gimmicky. Catch 42? Hmm, what about Eli’s escape? Phoenix rising? Again, what about Eli’s escape?
Well, four months later, it still hasn’t been resolved, but I have noticed some of the big websites, such as nfl.com, all referring to it as “The Great Escape”. When I first heard this name, I thought well, it only refers to one-half of the play, Eli’s. But now, I kind of like it. In leaping into the air against the vaunted Patriots secondary and catching the ball with his helmet while Harrison had his arm in there is in itself a great escape. Plus, the way the Giants came back on that drive to sneak out a 17-14 victory is also a great escape.
On a totally different area, The Great Escape with Paul Newman is one of the best war movies ever made in America. Although in this game it was the Giants escaping the Patriots and all-too-American Tom Brady…
The Giants received their humungous Super Bowl rings a couple of days ago. Each ring cost over $25,000 to make, but Tiffany’s only charged $5000 for each of them? Why? Because they had a huge press conference with Tiffany logos all over the place. It was a good trade, expensive rings for cheap while corporation gets free advertising. Gotta love capitalism. In any case, the next day the Giants had their first OTA, organized team activities. The turning of the page to the 2008 season.. That means football is almost here!