“The game’s over,” Manningham said today. “There’s about to be a new game. I know people want to talk about it, but I’m tired of talking about it.”
The play has been reviewed a million times since last Feb. 5. The Giants trailed the New England Patriots, 17-15, when they took possession at their own 12-yard line with 3:46 remaining. On the first play of the drive,
In degree of difficulty, importance and drama, Manningham’s reception rivaled that of David Tyree’s phenomenal helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII. But now that he’s a member of the San Francisco 49ers, Manningham would prefer not to discuss it.
Asked if he ever watches the play, Manningham said, “Yeah, if the remote ain’t around.”
But Mario, it might be the most significant play of your career.
“I know, but I’m tired of talking about it,” Manningham said. “I don’t want anybody talking about that. These men are about to go play a Super Bowl. I don’t want to take anything away from them by saying anything about the catch last year. It’s a new team, new year.
“If you see David Tyree, ask him if he’s tired of talking about that. I talked to David.”
What did he say?
“I talked to him,” Manningham said.
Well, okay then.
Manningham is here with his 49ers teammates as they prepare to face the Baltimore Ravens Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But Manningham will be unable to deliver any repeat heroics. He is on injured reserve with a torn left ACL, suffered in a loss at Seattle on Dec. 23.
While his teammates spoke to throngs of reporters today on the Superdome floor, Manningham sat in an end zone section of the stands. A bulky black brace kept his knee ruler straight and a pair of crutches balanced on the seat next to him.
“I can’t complain,” Manningham said. “Somebody goes down, the next person steps up. I’m just glad I’m here. The team’s going to win. I’m rooting for them a hundred percent. I’m behind them. I can’t go out there. I’m cool. I just hope they just go out there and do their thing.”
“I’m a little banged up, but I can’t complain at this time of the year to be down here. I’m trying to double up (on Super Bowl rings).”
Forty seven players have won Super Bowls with more than one team. But the injury will prevent Manningham from becoming only the third player in history to play in and win consecutive Super Bowls with different teams. Linebacker Ken Norton was with the Dallas Cowboys when they won Super Bowl XXVIII and the San Francisco 49ers when they won Super Bowl XXIX. Cornerback Deion Sanders was with that 49ers team and played for the Cowboys when they won Super Bowl XXX a year later.
Can Manningham win two rings with two teams in two years?
“God willing, I hope so,” he said.
Manningham joined the Giants as a third-round draft choice in 2008. In four seasons with the team he played in 59 games and caught 160 passes for 2,315 yards and 18 touchdowns. After becoming a free agent at the end of the 2012 season, Manningham signed with the 49ers, the team the Giants defeated in the NFC Championship Game on the way to Super Bowl XLVI.
“It was tough,” Manningham said. “But I understand the business side of his league. I felt like I played pretty good while I was there. It wasn’t going to be a problem me playing football. It was just, who was I going to play for. I wanted to come back there. But I’m not there anymore. Oh well – it is what it is.
“I feel like I did something most people are scared to do – go to the team you beat to go to the Super Bowl. Not too many people do that. I felt I could come in and make an instant impact.”
In 12 games for the Niners this season, Manningham caught 42 passes for 449 yards and a touchdown.
“For me to leave one system and go to another and produce, I felt like I produced pretty good,” Manningham said. “I have no reason to hang my head down. I’m just hurt right now.”
His weirdest moment of the season occurred on Oct. 14, when the Giants visited Candlestick Park and whipped the 49ers, 26-3.
“I went out to warm up and I barely warmed up,” Manningham said. “I take a lap (when he comes out of the locker room) and I took a lap and just stopped and started talking to (Giants senior vice president of medical services) Ronnie Barnes and all them in the training staff. Then I got to the players and got to the other players. I got a chance to talk to Hakeem (Nicks) for a long time when I was out there. Hakeem, that’s my dude still.”
Manningham has begun his rehabilitation and hopes to return to the field early in the 2013 season. In the meantime, he is with his teammates and hopes to leave town with another championship. His week will be even better if he doesn’t have to answer any more questions about the tremendous catch he made last year.
“I know they’re going to be showing it,” Manningham said. “But we’re about to play Sunday. Somebody, at some point in the game, is going to have to make a play. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”
Just as it was for Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI.
*Manningham wasn’t the Super Bowl-winning Giant to join the 49ers in 2012. Running back Brandon Jacobs also moved west. But Jacobs suffered a preseason knee injury and played in only two games, rushing for 7 yards on 5 carries.
Jacobs was suspended by the 49ers late in the season for conduct detrimental to the team after griping on Twitter and Instagram about his lack of playing time. He was cut when the postseason began.
“Things happen that we don’t have any say-so about,” Manningham said of Jacobs’ issues. “That’s a part of the game – injuries, waives – that’s all a part of what we have going on. I wish the best for him. I wish he was still here, but he’s not. There’s nothing we can do about it.”