Tyree ran off the field as tight end Kevin Boss was inserted into the game. On the sideline Tyree high-fived inactive (and since released) quarterback Jared Lorenzen. The crowd gasped as the play was rerun on the stadium's huge video screens. "I knew it was a good play," says Tyree, who had endured a dreadful practice two days before the Super Bowl, dropping every pass thrown to him, at least half a dozen. "I didn't know the degree. But I would be a hypocrite to take credit. That goes to God."
Four New England players had surrounded Tyree as he made the catch: Harrison, corners Samuel and Hobbs, and free safety Sanders. In the weeks following the catch, Patriots players would privately gripe that Samuel—since departed to the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent—should have laid a hit on Tyree as the ball arrived but instead merely watched.
Four plays later Manning threw 13 yards to Burress for the game-winning touchdown, a play that was climactic and at the same time anticlimactic.
SHORTLY AFTER the game ended, Sabol boarded a private plane for the trip back to New Jersey, where work on the official Super Bowl film would begin early the next day. He fretted on the flight—"flop sweats," he says—over whether NFL Films cameras had fully captured the Tyree catch. His memory went back to 1972, when Ernie Ernst was the only NFL Films cameraman to get footage of Franco Harris's Immaculate Reception.
Sabol also ran through a mental checklist of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history: Lynn Swann's juggling catch against the Cowboys in 1976, John Riggins's 43-yard fourth-down run to carry the Redskins over the Dolphins in '83, Joe Montana to John Taylor with :34 left to beat the Bengals in '89, Mike Jones's tackle of Kevin Dyson to save the Rams' win over the Titans in 2000. He thought about Harris and Dwight Clark (the Catch that beat Dallas in '82), whose historic plays did not occur in Super Bowls. But Sabol kept seeing Tyree in the air.
He was in his office at 5 a.m. on Monday and watching video of the Super Bowl by seven. Three tape machines unspooling action. Eight people in the room. "We went right to the Tyree catch, before anything else," says Sabol. The angles were covered. The pictures were good. And the play was unlike anything they had ever seen.