Tyree and Manningham among SI's best ever playoff catches

Posted Jan 20, 2016

David Tyree and Mario Manningham made Sports Illustrated's list of best catches in NFL playoff history

It’s been nearly eight years since David Tyree’s catch in Super Bowl XLII, and its place in NFL lore hasn’t changed.

As the final four teams square off this weekend for a chance to play in Super Bowl 50, Sports Illustrated ranked the top 10 catches in playoff history, and the 32-yard pass that Tyree corralled on the crown of helmet in the closing minutes came in at No. 1. It was one of two plays from the arm of Eli Manning that cracked the top five as the grading was determined by three factors: degree of difficulty, clutch factor, and rewatchability.

“Huge score in that final category (rewatchability) for Tyree’s grab, which might be the most replayed single play in NFL history,” SI’s Chris Burke wrote. “You surely know it by now. With the Giants down four and facing a third-and-five, Eli Manning pulled off an inexplicable escape in the pocket—Jarvis Green had him by the back of the jersey—and heaved one deep for Tyree, who had position on Rodney Harrison. Fighting off Harrison’s efforts to swat it away, Tyree pinned the ball against his own helmet and kept it from touching the ground as he bent back toward the turf. A Manning-to-Plaxico Burress touchdown seconds later handed the Giants a crown and ended New England’s perfect season.”

The rematch between the Giants and Patriots four years later in Super Bowl XLVI didn’t lack in the drama department, either. Once again, Manning led the Giants in a fourth-quarter comeback, sparking the game-winning drive with a 38-yard completion to wide receiver Mario Manningham down the left sideline.


After Steelers wideout Santonio Holmes grabbed the second spot with his Super Bowl XLIII-winning touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone against the Cardinals, Manning-to-Manningham was ranked No. 3 on SI’s list. 

“This was just absurd,” Burke wrote. “Manningham’s tip-toeing grab along the sideline launched what would be a game-winning drive for the Giants. How he managed to stay inbounds and hold onto the ball is almost as unfathomable as how Eli Manning dropped this pass in to begin with. Manningham’s catch was a show-stopper but this arguably was the best throw in Super Bowl history.”