As NFL Network winds down their Top 100 Players of 2013 list, they have also continued their decade series, which focuses on the top teams, players and plays from each decade of the Super Bowl era. And earlier this week, they finally released both their Top Players of the 2000s list, as well as their Top Plays of the 2000s list.
While no members of the New York Giants made the Top Players of the 2000s list, they were well-featured in the Top Plays of the 2000s list. However, the results were a bit shocking as Eli Manning's game-changing pass to David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII, which was pinned miraculously on his helmet, was beaten out by not just a play, but a controversial call that resulted in a later rule change (in 2013) — the New England Patriots/Oakland Raiders "tuck rule."
"The Tyree catch launched a Super Bowl champion; our next play launched a dynasty." Elliot Harrison said of the pick. "Little different deal here — 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, Raiders at the Patriots, snowing everywhere and the Patriots were down 13. … Tom Brady never sees Charles Woodson come off the edge, he pumps and tries to bring the ball back in…"
The plays are, legitimately, apples and oranges. One was logic-defying and, ultimately, ended the dynasty the "tuck rule" allegedly started and the other was, well, a mess that had a greater emphasis on the rulebook than the actual play on the field. As such, it's hard to justify the latter over the former, but NFL Network managed — and in our opinion, got it wrong.
But E-to-Tyree wasn't the only Giants-related play that made the cut, as "Trey Junkin" reared its ugly head again.
"This is one of those plays that people tend to forget about, but at the time it was huge," Harrison said. "The 2002 NFL wildcard — it was 49ers/Giants. Jeff Garcia led a comeback for the ages — they were down 38-14; they come all the way back and then the Giants were trying to answer with a field goal. Rutt-roh. Try Junkin."
What else needs to be said? Rutt-roh, indeed.
But, to their credit, the NFL Network analysts acknowledged it was a bad call to end that game, as offensive lineman Rich Seubert was interfered with. League referees later admitted their mistake and wrote an apology to the Giants, but the damage had been done. The 49ers won the game on a bad call and Big Blue was sent home.
So, what say you, Giants fans? Are these the right plays for tops in the 2000s? And should the "tuck rule" and what it meant to the Patriots franchise have been placed over E-to-Tyree?
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