There are a few football plays so miraculous or so spectacular that they defy description and become firmly ingrained in the minds of sports fan everywhere. Some of them have names, like “The Catch,” the scrambling throw by Joe Montana against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which ended up in the hands of Dwight Clark at the end of the end zone, and sent Montana’s 49ers to the first of many Super Bowls. That improbably play was so defiant of description that it received but the simplest of names, “The Catch.”
The Super Bowl has had its shares of such plays. One that comes to mind is the ballet catch made by Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X against the Dallas Cowboys. On that play, Swann had Cowboys cornerback Mark Washington beat on a third down takeoff pattern, but an under thrown pass by Terry Bradshaw gave Washington a chance to tip away the ball. As the two players tumbled to the ground, Swann snagged the ball out of mid air for an improbable 53 yard catch. The play has been replayed countless times on TV, and along with three more spectacular plays that Swann made that day, are still part of football folklore.
There have also been infamous memorial plays like the Scott Norwood field goal attempt that sealed the Buffalo Bill’s fate in Super Bowl XXV in 1991, and gave the New York Giant a Super Bowl victory that year, or the devastating drop on a wide open pass in the end zone by Jackie Smith in Super Bowl XXIII that led the TV commentator Verne Lundquist to say, “Bless his heart, he’s got to be the sickest man in America.”
Well, move over and add one more fabulous play to the annals of Super Bowl. The play that help seal the fate of the undefeated Patriots in this past Super Bowl, the pass from Eli Manning to David Tyree during the Giants final drive. Trailing by 4, and facing a third down with 59 seconds left to play, Eli Manning scrambled away from the clutches of the Patriots defense and launched a long pass down field. David Tyree then made a spectacular catch, as he out jumped Rodney Harrison and tumbled backwards for a 32 yard gain, giving the Giants the break they needed to mount their final score. The catch of course can be described as nothing short of “Swann-like,” and while it is still remains unnamed at this point in time, I see nothing wrong with christening it, “The Catch II.” So move over Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann, and make room for two freshly minted Super Bowl heroes, Eli Manning and David Tyree.
“Super Bowl stage provided Lynn Swann’s ticket to Canton,” www.Post-Gazzette.com
“Great Moments in Verne Lundquist History,” www.lubbockonline.com