Super Bowl XLII, Feb. 3, 2008. New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14.
Line: Patriots by 13-14. Halftime show: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
One of the reassuring things about the NFL is that whenever any team threatens to match the unbeaten season of the 1972 Miami Dolphins — all have fallen short thus far — we’re presented with the inevitable images of at least one member of that Dolphins team downing a glass of champagne to celebrate the squad’s continued immortality. But even the most die-hard of Dolphins fans must have thought the jig was up during the 2007 season. The New England Patriots, who had already won three Super Bowls earlier in the decade, dispatched each opponent they faced in the regular season and playoffs with relative ease. In the final quarter of Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants, they were leading 14-10 with 2:42 to play. And that’s when “the catch” unfolded. On third down, Giants quarterback Eli Manning managed to evade three linemen and threw a hopeful pass that David Tyree somehow caught by holding the ball against his helmet. The completion was good for 32 yards and was the key moment in a 12-play, 83-yard drive that gave the Giants a 17-14 lead with 35 seconds left. They held on to shock the Patriots and allow those Dolphins to continue enjoying their bubbly.