Eli Manning on Beating the Patriots and David Tyree’s Iconic ‘Helmet Catch’
Since retiring at the end of the 2019 NFL season, Eli Manning has been enjoying some well-deserved time off. In his 16 seasons as a quarterback for the New York Giants, Manning set several franchise records, including records for passing yards, touchdown passes, and completions (over 4,800 of his throws met their intended target). On top of that, he’s known for leading the Giants to one of the greatest Super Bowl upsets in history—beating the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in 2008. But is he flaunting his success and flashing his Super Bowl rings around? Absolutely not.
“They don’t come out much,” he tells Men’s Journal. “My kids didn’t even know I had them.”
That fateful Super Bowl XLII created all kinds of incredible moments, but perhaps none is more iconic than Giants receiver David Tyree’s incredible one-handed “Helmet Catch” in the fourth quarter of the game. That catch was a key part of the offensive drive that ended with the Giants scoring the go-ahead touchdown to win the game. Looking back, Manning couldn’t believe the catch was real. After running down the field to catch up with Tyree after the play, he had just one question for his teammate: “Did you catch it?”
He did. And soon enough, Manning and the Giants would be Super Bowl champions.
Of course, not every game in his career was so glorious. We also talked with Manning about some of his toughest opponents; linebacker DeMarcus Ware was a particular standout. Ware racked up more sacks on Manning than any other player, and he became a scary presence on the opposing defensive line—especially when he played for the Cowboys, who played the Giants two or even three times a season.
“He’s such a nice guy,” says Manning, “but I was happy when he left and went to Denver.”
Recently Manning’s been getting involved in other ventures, including joining the investment firm Brand Velocity Partners and dabbling in cryptocurrency.
“I’m still kinda learning what exactly it is and how it’s to be used,” he says, “but I think it’s here to stay.”
Other things in his life haven’t changed, however: He still gets into arguments with his brother, Peyton. One recent spat ended with them stranded on the side of the highway in Louisiana. Check out the video above to see how that story ends.