EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 6, 2012

The tale of two catches and two titles

INDIANAPOLIS — NBC's Cris Collinsworth called it one of "greatest catches in Super Bowl history."

Unfortunately, it was not a four-year-old quotation from a Super Bowl played in Glendale, Ariz. — see ex-New York Giants receiver David Tyree's ridiculous catch to prolong the eventual game-winning drive against the then-undefeated New England Patriots.

You remember the ball clinging to his helmet as he if used some illegal substance, right?

This Collingsworth synopsis was as fresh as the confetti that fell from the Lucas Oil Stadium rafters after the Giants' 21-17 win in Super Bowl XLVI.

He was talking about Mario Manningham's 38-yarder on first down with 3:46 left in the game and the Giants trailing 17-15 and pinned down at their own 12-yard line.

Manning threw a missile down the left sidelines. It appeared to be too close to the sidelines. Two Patriots were bothering Manningham.

Manningham not only caught the ball before he was croaked by Patrick Chung, but he got both of his feet in. To the human eye, it didn't seem possible. To the referee right there and the video replay, it was a catch ... a great catch.

In fact, Patriots coach Bill Belichick threw his red challenge flag, thus blowing a timeout he desperately could have used on their final attempt for a miracle play.

Compare that with a pass play just 24 seconds earlier. The Patriots had the ball on 3rd-and-11 from the Giants' 44. If the Patriots converted, because the Giants only had one timeout left, the game might have been over.

As Brady went back to pass, he saw Wes Welker alone streaking down the field, and I mean by himself. He floated the ball. It appeared a tad high, forcing Welker to dive for it. It wasn't easy. But he has made a lot tougher.

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