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How Super Bowl History was Altered by Three Plays Involving the New York Giants

Yahoo Contributor Network

With four Lombardi Trophies to their credit, the New York Giants are one of the most successful teams in the National Football League. But Big Blue's trophy case might be less crowded if not for three fortunate and unforgettable Super Bowls plays. Those three moments altered the history of the Giants and changed the way we look at the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, too. Here's a look back at three Super Bowl plays involving the Giants and how they altered NFL history.

Wide Right (Super Bowl XXV) -- The Giants upset the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, when Scott Norwood famously missed a 47-yard field goal in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXV. The G-Men captured their second Lombardi Trophy. The star-crossed Bills went on to lose the next three Super Bowls. But how would history remember both teams had Norwood's kick sailed through the uprights? It would have been a heart-breaking loss for the Giants, but they weren't expected to win the game. The Bills, on the other hand, would have won at least one championship in the '90s and avoided an ignominious record. Only the Minnesota Vikings have lost as many Super Bowls (four) without winning at least one.

The Helmet Catch (Super Bowl XLII) -- The Giants trailed the New England Patriots, 14-10, and faced a 3rd-and-5 from their own 44-yard line late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII. One play changed everthing. New England's pass-rush nearly swallowed Eli Manning, but the Giants' quarterback broke free and chucked the ball deep for David Tyree, who made the catch by pinning the ball to his helmet. A few plays later, Plaxico Burress was in the end zone with the game-winning touchdown catch to spoil New England's perfect season. Had Tyree dropped the ball, there's a good chance the Patriots would have won the game and become the first team to go undefeated since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Manning to Manningham (Super Bowl XLVI) -- Manning's sideline throw to Mario Manningham late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVI ignited New York's game-winning drive, as the Giants defeated the Patriots, 21-17. It cemented Manning's legacy as a clutch, big-game quarterback -- he won his second Super Bowl MVP -- and prevented New England from winning its fourth Super Bowl. Moreover, a Pats' victory would have given Tom Brady his fourth ring, tying him with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most ever by a quarterback. Instead, the G-Men captured their fourth Lombardi Trophy, moving them into a tie with the Green Bay Packers for the third-most Super Bowl wins in NFL history.

Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.

Sources .

The Official Site of the New York Giants .

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