No one was singing the praises of David Tyree heading into Super Bowl XLII.
In fact, the wide receiver's teammates and coaches didn't exactly have high hopes for him following the Friday practice before the big game.
"David Tyree had the worst practice in the history of practices at any level," quarterback Eli Manning recalled in the wake of the Giants' 17-14 victory over the then-undefeated New England Patriots.
"David did not have a good day that Friday, let's put it this way," coach Tom Coughlin added.
"[The passes] were hitting off his chest, off his helmet, straight off his hands, to the point where [linebacker] Antonio Pierce and I started yelling, 'Beat him up, ball, beat him up,'" Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan said. "Because the ball was beating him to death that day."
But that is the magic of sports.
Two days later, Tyree made a catch for the ages off his helmet that propelled the Giants to their third Lombardi Trophy. Which is why NFL Network recently ranked Tyree the No. 1 unsung hero in Super Bowl history, one of two Giants to make the top five.
"This guy clamps it to his helmet with one hand and then brings the other hand back and pins it and lands on his back and keeps the ball off the ground,"
Strahan said of Tyree's 32-yard catch, which kept the Giants' go-ahead drive alive. "That right there let me know we're going to win this game because for something that magical to happen in a season that's been so magical, you could not lose."
NFL NETWORK'S TOP 5 SUPER BOWL UNSUNG HEROES
5. QB Jeff Hostetler, New York Giants
20-32, 222 yds, TD in Super Bowl XXV win vs. Buffalo Bills
- LB Mike Jones, St. Louis Rams*
*Game-saving tackle on Kevin Dyson in Super Bowl XXXIV vs. Tennessee Titans
3. RB Timmy Smith, Washington Redskins
22 rush, 204 yds, 2 TD in Super Bowl XXII vs. Denver Broncos
2. CB Malcolm Butler, New England Patriots
Game-winning INT in Super Bowl XLIX vs. Seattle Seahawks
1. WR David Tyree, New York Giants
*"The Helmet Catch" in Super Bowl XLII vs. New England Patriots
January 27, 1991, the Giants defeated the Bills 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV!