It’s February 3, 2008, and the New York Giants have their backs against the wall in Super Bowl XLII. For nearly fifty-nine minutes of football, the Giants have put forth a remarkable effort against the undefeated and heavily favored New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. But now the Giants find themselves trailing 14-10 with 1:15 left, and facing a crucial third down and five with the ball at their own forty-four-yard line.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning takes the snap out of the shotgun and immediately feels pressure from the Patriots defensive front. Manning steps forward, but finds more blue jerseys, and suddenly he’s firmly in the grasp of lineman Jarvis Green. Just when it appears as though Manning is destined to be sacked, he somehow spins and slips through the rush, backtracks five yards, and heaves the ball deep downfield. Waiting for it at the twenty-four-yard line is unheralded wide receiver David Tyree, who is covered closely by All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison.
Tyree leaps for the ball, and it’s clear that Manning has thrown it in the only possible place where his receiver can catch it. In mid-air, Tyree extends his arms and barely has possession of the football. To hold on, he bends his right arm down and pins the ball against his helmet. Tyree falls on his back, but the ball stays between his hand and helmet, and miraculously never touches the field. Not long after, Steve Sabol of NFL Films would deem the catch, “The greatest play the Super Bowl has ever produced.”
As Tyree caught the ball, many of the 71,101 fans in attendance were able to take cell phone pictures of the moment and immediately forward them to friends, loved ones, and even those with whom they had bet on the game. Members of the media instantly blogged and uploaded photos, thanks to the high-speed wireless connectivity available at the facility. Fox Sports, which had