NYSD’s Top 10 New York Sports Moments of the Decade

#1) 2007-2008: The Giants’ Incredible Run To A Super Bowl Title

Beyond compare, the Giants run to their Super Bowl XLII title not only tops this list but could top several others. It’s not only the greatest New York sports moment of the decade, but perhaps of all-time, and it might very well be the greatest moment in NFL history as well as one of the greatest moments in sports history, period. The 2007 Giants season was an incredible rollercoaster ride from start to finish. The Giants started that that season by getting torched for 80 points in losing their first two games. From there, they reeled off six straight wins, including a Monday night win in Atlanta to become the third NFL franchise to win 600 games… But, the Giants would go just 3-3 over their next six games and needed a win in Buffalo to keep their playoff hopes alive. They looked awful in pouring rain, trailing the Bills, 14-0, and it looked like their season was over. Remarkably, they turned everything around from there, winning that game 38-14, and clinching the playoffs… Then, in a playoff-like atmosphere in the regular season finale (with the game being the first since Super Bowl I to be simulcast on multiple television networks), the Giants went all out in a game which meant nothing to them in terms of playoff seeding, to try to prevent the New England Patriots from becoming the first NFL team to go a perfect 16-0 during the regular season. They failed to beat New England in a well-played, thrilling 38-35 loss in which Tom Brady set an NFL mark for touchdowns in a season and Randy Moss did the same for touchdown receptions in a season. But, the Giants gained a lot of confidence that they could beat the Patriots if they were to meet again… Defying the odds, the Giants made that meeting happen with the greatest playoff run in NFL history. Taking their 10-6 record to Tampa Bay, the fifth-seeded Giants upset the fourth-seeded Buccaneers, 24-14… The following week, the same defense that got lit up for 45 points in the season opener, played outstanding in Dallas, holding the top-seeded Cowboys to just three second half points, none in the fourth quarter, stopping one long final Dallas drive, to hang on for a 21-17 victory… The next week, in severe cold, on a snow-covered field in Green Bay, the Giants won their tenth straight road contest, an exhilarating NFC championship game, 23-20, over the Packers, on Lawrence Tynes’ 47-yard field goal after Tynes had missed two fourth-quarter field goals, including a potential game-winner with just four seconds left in the fourth quarter… and, the Giants did meet the Patriots again, this time, as 14-point underdogs in Super Bowl XLII in Arizona, as New England sought to become the first NFL team go 19-0. Prior to the game, Giants’ wide receiver Plaxico Burress predicted a 23-17 Giants’ victory. Brady laughed off the comments, saying, “We’re only going to score 17 points?! Okay.” It turned out, Burress should have predicted an even lower number for Brady’s high-powered offense. The official slogan for that Super Bowl was “Who Wants It More?” The Giants answered that question all game and sent an early message, opening the game with the longest opening drive in Super Bowl history (in terms of possession time), going 77 yards on 16 plays in 9:59, taking a 3-0 lead on a Tynes field goal. Though New England scored in the second quarter to take a 7-3 lead, the Giants’ defense repeatedly introduced Brady to the University of Phoenix Stadium turf, and the game was a 7-3 defensive battle entering the fourth quarter. The Giants finally scored the their first touchdown as Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning (19-34, 255 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) engineered a six-play, 80-yard drive in 3:47, to give the Giants a 10-7 lead on 5-yard touchdown pass to little used wide receiver, New Jersey-born David Tyree, who entered the game with just four catches on the season. Brady though, would take the Patriots 80 yards on 12 plays in  5:12, throwing to Moss for a six-yard touchdown pass, to give New England a 14-10 lead with 2:42 left in the game. Manning and the Giants though, had one incredible drive left in them. After getting a break when a sure interception was dropped by Asante Samuel on a pass intended for Tyree up the right sideline, Manning went right back to Tyree on a play that will live in sports lore forever. Manning broke free from not on, but two grasps of his jersey before heaving a third-and-five pass downfield. Tyree incredibly pinned the ball against the side of his helmet and amazingly held on to the ball while falling backwards for a 32-yard gain with pro bowl defensive back Rodney Harrison draped all over him. Given the circumstances of what the play meant amidst the Giants run from mid-season mediocrity and denying the Patriots’ pursuit of perfection, it was probably the single greatest play in sports history, let alone in New York history, or simply being a part of this list. Four plays later, the prophetic Burress caught the game-winning touchdown pass with just 35 second left, giving the Giants a stunning 17-14 victory and their third Super Bowl title.

About the Author

Jon Wagner

Jon has been a credentialed writer with New York Sports Day since 2009, primarily covering the New York Knicks and Hofstra men's basketball. He has also occasionally covered other college basketball and New York's pro teams including the Mets, Giants, Jets, Islanders, Rangers and Cosmos (including their three most recent championship seasons).Jon is former Yahoo Sports contributor who previously covered various sports for the Queens Ledger. He's a proud alum of Hofstra University and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (which he attended on a full scholarship).He remains convinced to this day that John Starks would have won the Knicks a championship in 1994 had Hakeem Olajuwon not blocked Starks' shot in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

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