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Rematch presents a reel horror show for Patriots

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By Glen Farley
ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER

FOXBORO — Pssssst.

Hey, buddy; over here.

Want a little inside advice about Super Bowl XLVI?

Bet the over.

I'm not talking about the total number of points that the two teams will combine to put on the scoreboard before Super Bowl XLVI is over.

I'm talking about the number of times New Englanders will be subjected to watching David Tyree's catch in Super Bowl XLII before Super Bowl XLVI begins.

But, seriously folks, does it get any better than this?

Both literally and figuratively, this is a Giant rematch.

For New Yorkers, it presents a chance to deny New Englanders for a second time in a span of five Super Bowls, an opportunity for a XLII deja vu.

For New Englanders, it presents an opportunity to right a perceived wrong when a pursuit of perfection was denied on a fling and a prayer.

It'll be a reel horror show for Patriots fans as they're subjected again and again to clips of Giants QB Eli Manning's great escape in the pocket leading to his throw downfield to a wide receiver who maintained employment on special teams and had the numbers to prove it (54 receptions over six NFL regular seasons; four catches over his postseason career).

In one dramatic sequence, David Tyree transformed himself from Hall of Famer Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X, seemingly suspending himself in midair, to "Velcro Man," pinning the ball to his head while being physically assaulted by one of the hardest hitters of his era.

It's often been said since then that nine times out of 10, the 2007 Patriots win that game.

That matters not.

Nor does it matter that 99 times out of 100, Harrison dislodges that ball, perhaps Tyree's shoulder as well, and the Giants are staring at fourth down on their own 44 with less than a minute to go.

But just as the groundball that rolled through Bill Buckner's legs in Game 6 in 1986 didn't end the Red Sox hopes of winning that World Series, Tyree's grab didn't end the Patriots' bid in Super Bowl XLII.

Essentially, Plaxico Burress' 13-yard catch with 35 seconds left on a fade pattern on which he faded out of sight from Ellis Hobbs, who was isolated on him one-on-one, ended it, earning the Giants a 17-14 win at University of Phoenix Stadium.

With Sunday's miss (by Baltimore's Billy Cundiff from 32 yards away in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' 23-20 AFC Championship Game win) and make (by New York's Lawrence Tynes from 31 yards away in overtime of the Giants' 29-17 NFC Championship Game win over San Francisco), let the replays begin.

They have met since then, of course, that game again resulting in New England heartbreak when Manning tossed a 1-yard TD pass to TE Jake Ballard with 15 seconds remaining to lift New York to a 24-20 win at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 6, the last time the Patriots lost this season.

Don't expect to see a whole lot of Ballard's catch over the course of the next couple of weeks, though.

Somehow a 1-yard TD reception by a tight end in a regular-season game isn't quite as sexy as a once-in-a-lifetime catch on football's biggest stage.

Four years later, even with Tyree now a retiree, there are guaranteed to be countless replays of a catch made on Feb. 3, 2008, ironically enough the last catch he made in his NFL life.

How many replays?

Bet the over.

 

Glen Farley covers the Patriots for the Brockton (Mass.) Enterprise, a GateHouse Media newspaper.

 

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