After 24 years as an NFL official and 19 as a referee, Mike Carey quietly retired from the league on Thursday. And while many NFL fans may not be overly familiar with him, those who bleed blue most certainly are.
Carey cemented himself in New York Giants franchise history during Super Bowl XLII after refusing to blow a play dead and declaring a sack on quarterback Eli Manning. That play later became known as E-to-Tyree, and not only propelled the Giants to a remarkable upset of the then 18-0 New England Patriots, but has been voted the Greatest Play in New York Giants History.
Yet, it was a moment that almost never happened.
"I anticipated a sack," Carey wrote in New York Daily News article in 2008. "I didn't assume that was going to happen, but rarely do you see a quarterback escape when he's got that much weight on his back and being dragged by two or three guys who had a hold of him. I could see his head was just straight ahead. He was trying to break free with desperation. Then all of a sudden he spun out and then he started to come right back at me."
"Luckily for him, he was driving forward instead of them pulling him backwards," Carey said. "And I was just waiting for that little pendulum swing where, right as they grab him the quarterback usually gets a little bit forward and then they yank him back. Once he starts to be yanked back, that's when it's really imminent that it's grasp and control, or just a sack.
"It was like a scene out of 'The Planet Earth' or National Geographic, where it's a lion jumping on the back of a wild horse. You could see him just desperately trying to pull out and somehow he did. Usually a quarterback goes straight ahead when that happens and just tries to get yardage. For some reason he turned around and ran back deeper in the pocket. Lucky for him that he did. He had a little safe haven."
In addition to Carey, Scott Green and Ron Winter will also be retiring from the NFL and be replaced by Brad Allen, Ronald Torbert and Craig Wrolstad.
In his retirement from officiating, Carey will join CBS Sports as a rules expert.
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