There's something about facing the Patriots that brings out the best in Giants receivers.
Back in 2008, there was David Tyree elevating above Rodney Harrison to pin a ball to his head and increase the Giants' chances of dashing New England's hopes of an undefeated season. It was the final catch of Tyree's career, most of which was spent playing special teams, and the miraculousness of the grab was made all the greater by the unlikely nature of the man who made it.
On Sunday night, it was Mario Manningham's time to shine. With the Giants facing a 17-15 deficit with less than four minutes to play, Manningham reeled in a pass between two Patriots deep down the left sideline by dancing his feet inbounds before falling to the turf and holding onto the ball.
Two amazing catches separated by four years that will forever be a part of Giants highlight videos and NFL Films retrospectives. It should be enough to simply salute both men and both catches while counting ourselves lucky enough to have seen them both unfurl before our eyes.
Alas, this is not the world we live in. So, in that spirit of competition, we ask which is the greatest catch in Giants history?
The Tyree play was remarkable when you watched it live, but it became even more incredible when you saw replay after replay of it. Not only did Tyree get up high enough to get his hands on the ball, he also had the presence of mind to pin the ball to his helmet because he couldn't secure it any other way and then somehow held onto the ball when he came down to the turf.
It was a one-in-a million play that we've never seen before and probably won't ever see again. And it was made at the most crucial moment of a Super Bowl.
Manningham's catch was more routine, in that we see receivers tap their feet before going out of bounds quite often over the course of a season, but no less impressive. The multitude of things Manningham has to do -- catch the ball, get his feet in, brace himself for a hit from the defensive back, hold the ball all the way through contact with the ground -- makes you marvel at the fact that he could do them all at once, but, unlike Tyree, we've seen players do that before.
But that doesn't take anything away from Manningham actually making it at that moment in time. Wheras Tyree's play had a heavy component of luck, Manningham's catch was pure, insane talent.
That's something that extends to the throws that led to both of the catches. On the Tyree play, Eli Manning was running for his life from the Patriots pass rush and threw up a jump ball that could have been intercepted as easily as it was completed.
Manning made a much better throw on the Manningham catch, looking off the safety long enough to create a window and then dropping the ball right into that window where it was either going to be a catch or incomplete. It was precise and pristine as opposed to the hopeful heave of five years ago.
Ultimately, it's the skill involved with the Manningham catch that gets our vote. The talent involved, on all sides of the play, trumps the fluky nature of Tyree's catch.