1. David Tyree’s Helmet Catch in Super Bowl XLII
The New York Giants were out to do the improbable: handing the 18-0 New England Patriots their one and only loss of the season. With 2:39 left in the game, trailing 14-10 in the fourth quarter, nobody thought the Giants were going to make history on the ensuing drive. The Giants moved the ball methodically — if not unspectacularly — to their own 44-yard line. On second-and-five, Patriots’ cornerback Asante Samuel almost intercepted a pass intended for wide receiver David Tyree, but the ball bounced off his hands, stopping the clock with 1:15 left to go. On 3rd-and-5, all hell broke loose. Manning faced heavy pressure from the Patriots defensive line, almost getting sacked by two different players. But he somehow eluded them both, ran backwards, found a space deep in the pocket to throw the ball from, and basically just threw it up in the air. About 40 yards down the field, David Tyree was standing between four Patriots defenders, but he jumped up to catch the ball, and somehow managed to come down with it by nesting it against his helmet while Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison did everything he could to rip it away from him. It was as improbable a throw-and-catch as we’ve seen in Super Bowl history. Four plays later, Manning found wide receiver Plaxico Burress in the endzone to complete the 12-play, 83-yard drive and give the Giants a 17–14 lead with 35 seconds left. The Giants, obviously, held on to win the game, pulling off what could be considered the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.