What are the best moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
5. Trading for Eli Manning
In the 2004 draft, the San Diego Chargers owned the No. 1 overall pick and expected to draft Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning. However, prior to the draft, Manning’s camp told the Chargers and owner Dean Spanos that Eli would sit out the year if the Chargers selected him due to concerns over the franchise’s stability. That opened the door for New York, who owned the No. 4 pick, to move up in the draft and select the highly coveted Manning. On draft day, the Chargers still picked Manning and the Giants selected N.C. State quarterback Philip Rivers, but the teams soon swapped signal callers, with New York also sending three draft picks to San Diego. Although both quarterbacks have had successful NFL careers, the Giants went on to to win two Super Bowls with Manning at the helm, making them the unquestioned winners of the deal.
4. Mario Manningham’s catch
Another Super Bowl against a heavily favored Patriots team and another spectacular catch to facilitate a Giants upset victory. This time around, in Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants trailed the Patriots 14-17 with 3:39 remaining in the fourth quarter and were pinned deep in their own territory. On the first play of the drive, Manning lofted a deep ball down the sideline to wide receiver Mario Manningham in double coverage. Not only was Manningham able to secure possession with strong safety Patrick Chung ready to deliver a blow, but he also managed to somehow tap his toes in bounds before falling down to secure a 38-yard completion. The play jump-started the drive that ended with the go-ahead touchdown strike that gave the Giants a 21-17 victory and their second Lombardi trophy in four years.
3. Drafting Lawrence Taylor
With the drafting of linebacker Lawrence Taylor with the No. 2 overall pick in the ‘81 NFL draft, the Giants revitalized their franchise and set the wheels in motion for one of the most successful runs in team history. Taylor, who went on to win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year honor, made an immediate impact, propelling the Giants to their first playoff appearance in 18 years. His best season from an individual and team perspective came in 1986. He recorded 20.5 sacks en route to winning the NFL MVP, while also leading the Giants to the team’s first championship since 1956. At the tail-end of his career, Taylor helped the Giants secure another Lombardi trophy in 1991. All-told the Hall of Famer recorded gaudy statistics of 132.5 sacks, 1,088 tackles and nine interceptions and can be credited with playing a central role in re-establishing a winning culture in New York and redefining the linebacker position.
2. Wide right
In the NFL’s silver anniversary Super Bowl game, Bills place-kicker Scott Norwood lined up a 47-yard field goal with his team trailing the Giants 20-19 and only eight seconds remaining. Norwood’s kick had plenty of leg, but floated wide right ensuring that the Giants would take home their second Super Bowl title in franchise history. Other than the obvious in-game drama, the geopolitical climate that surrounded this Super Bowl makes Norwood’s miss stand out in Giants history. Played in Tampa, Florida, in the midst of the Gulf War, patriotic spirit engulfed the country. Further emphasizing the peculiarity of the moment was the fact that ABC aired a special report by Peter Jennings regarding the progress of the war in lieu of the scheduled halftime theatrics. A dramatic Super Bowl win, coupled with the tension of an ongoing war ensured that Norwood’s infamous wide right kick would live on in Giants’ lore for posterity.
1. David Tyree’s catch
Well, this was an easy choice. With 1:16 left in Super Bowl XLII and leading 14-10, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots looked poised to complete the first unblemished season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. That all changed quickly on a broken play in which the usually immobile Eli Manning escaped several Patriots pass rushers and heaved a desperation jump ball down the field to a receiver who had a grand total of four catches on the season. That wideout, David Tyree, out-jumped Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison and pinned the ball to his helmet in unthinkable fashion to secure the catch. The 32-yard completion led to the game-winning touchdown, sealing one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history and thwarting the Patriots’ quest for perfect immortality.