INDIANAPOLIS – Mario Manningham shrugged off comparisons to David Tyree's miracle catch of four years ago following his own spectacular grab that helped the New York Giants rally for the victory Sunday. Manningham reeled in a 38-yard pass from Eli Manning tight on the left sideline and somehow managed to keep his feet in bounds before falling to the ground with less than four minutes left in Super Bowl XLVI.
"That was in the past man," said Manningham, when asked about former Giants wide receiver Tyree's legendary helmet catch during Super Bowl XLII. "We are thinking about right now. It was two different plays, two different people. We are just taking it how it is – it was a great catch, great ball, all that, but it is two different situations."
Manningham has at times been regarded as the Giants' forgotten receiver, thanks largely to the emergence of Victor Cruz as one of Manning's favorite targets. However, Manningham's five receptions for 73 yards against the Patriots were critical, with three of them coming on New York's final drive with the game on the line.
"I understood that he wanted to make a play all game long, you could see it in his face," Cruz said. "That was just a great grab. Once he got an opportunity, he took advantage of it. He just held onto the moment, he held the catch and propelled us to the next level."
Manningham's big catch came under strong pressure from Patriots defensive backs Sterling Moore and Patrick Chung, who tracked him down but were unable to prevent the miraculous completion. Patriots coach Bill Belichick threw the challenge flag but the call was correctly upheld and the Giants' march was underway.
"He had both feet down," Chung said. "Good throw, good catch, man. We fought down to the end. It was hard fought, but didn't work out in our favor so hats off to them."
Speaking on radio moments after the game ended, Manningham said he had initially feared the ball may be intercepted after Manning hurled it down the left sideline.
"When it went up, I wasn't sure about it, but it turned out to be the perfect throw and I just knew I had to get it," Manningham said. "I was thinking that maybe they could break it up or even intercept it, but I got it."
By the time the Giants had been presented with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Manningham had returned to the locker room, however, he had a different recollection.
"It was great arm by Eli and a great catch by me," the fourth-year wideout said. "We can share the credit – 50-50. I didn't have a lot of room. He throws it in there and I knew I was out of the sideline, so no, I didn't think they could break it up. I knew I was going to be hit or something, but I knew I was going to get that ball though.
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"I knew that one of us was going to have to make a big play. We didn't know when. You just bide your time, be patient and you know the ball is going to come to you."
Manning insisted the play had been the decisive moment of the fourth quarter and had given him confidence to lead the Giants down the field.
"It was a great catch by him, keeping both feet in," said Manning, the Super Bowl MVP. "When you are backed up, to get a -yard gain and get to the middle of the field. That way we can pace ourselves a little bit, run the ball a little bit. It was a big-, big- , big-time play right there."
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