New York Giants: Ranking the Top 10 Moments of the Past 10 Years
The 2013 season will mark the 10th year that Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin have been with the New York Giants. Following two improbable Super Bowl runs in that span, fans will be hoping for equal amounts of success as their careers begin to wind down.
Of course, it's not just these two stalwarts who are deserving of all the credit. A host of characters are responsible for bringing a third and fourth Lombardi Trophy to New York.
Creating an enduring moment in Giants lore means more than simply crossing the pylon for a critical score. It means you've cemented your legacy as a great player for one of the NFL's most storied franchises.
Here is a list of the top 10 on-field moments in recent Giants history.
No. 10: JPP Keeps Dallas at Arm's Length
Jason Pierre-Paul's uncanny athleticism was put on display in a pivotal Week 14 game in Dallas last year. With the Giants needing a victory to remain in the NFC East title race, Pierre-Paul came up with the greatest performance of his young career.
The Giants defensive end tallied two sacks and a safety prior to his all-important blocked field goal with seconds remaining.
This particular play made by Pierre-Paul is indicative of the dichotomy between the Cowboys and Giants in the past decade. New York has consistently been opportunistic in big moments of key games; Dallas has not.
This blocked field goal (which Al Michaels oddly laments) was a watershed moment in New York's 2011 season.
No. 9: Tiki Barber Carries New York to the Playoffs
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In the final week of the 2006 season, the New York Giants decided to get back to the basics. In what shaped up to be the final game of Tiki Barber's career, the Giants star gave fans an unforgettable performance.
Barber set the franchise's single-game record for rushing yards on that late December night in Washington. His 234 yards improved New York's record to 8-8.
That mark was enough for the Giants to reach the playoffs in 2006, increasing the importance of Barber's achievement.
Tiki Barber was unable to prolong his career any further following a defeat in the Wild Card round against Philadelphia the very next week. Still, his magnificent play in Week 17 was a memorable feat in Giants history.
No. 8: Out for a 99-Yard Cruz
Daryl Johnston wasn't kidding when he said the Giants needed "some positive yards." New York had struggled mightily out of the gate in a Week 16 clash with their in-state rivals.
That all changed when Eli Manning completed a pass 10 yards downfield with 2:27 remaining in the half.
On this Christmas Eve of 2011, Victor Cruz provided Jets fans with a lump of coal en route to a record-tying 99-yard touchdown.
The Giants never looked back after Cruz left the Jets defense in the dust at MetLife Stadium. This was the first of six consecutive victories New York strung together to end the season.
No. 7: Giants Get Sack Happy
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An ominous start to the 2007 season was quickly turned around in Week 4 against the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants recorded an NFL-record 12 sacks of Donovan McNabb, including six from Osi Umenyiora alone.
New York eviscerated their nemesis with the youthful exuberance of Umenyiora, paired with the timeless skills of Michael Strahan.
It's safe to say that the Giants' reputation as a dominant pass-rushing team was reborn following this 16-3 victory at the Meadowlands.
The performance of the Giants defensive line on a national stage gave the 2007 team an identity which would eventually propel them to greatness.
No. 6: Tynes Does It Twice
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Lawrence Tynes' accomplishments in NFC Championship Games are tough to ignore. The Giants kicker has successfully led New York to the Super Bowl on the strength of his leg on two separate occasions.
Both of these kicks were converted in overtime and on the road.
The 47-yard field goal in 2007 was undeniably more impressive when you factor in the sub-zero temperatures on that evening in Green Bay. Tynes had already missed a chance to win the game twice from 43 and 36 yards.
It seemed ludicrous to try for another field goal after failing from much closer distances, but the Scottish-born kicker did not disappoint.
Lawrence Tynes solidified his place in Giants history by duplicating his success against San Francisco in the 2011 season. Yet another overtime winner handed New York a 20-17 victory at Candlestick Park.
No. 5: Defense Takes a Stand
Joe Buck prophetically pondered what this particular moment could mean for the Giants in the 2007 season.
Looking back, it meant absolutely everything.
A goal-line stand Week 3 in Washington provided an early turning point to New York's season.
With the inspirational story of Col. Greg Gadson lifting the entire Giants team, the Redskins were unable to secure a game-tying touchdown at home. Instead, New York avoided a crippling 0-3 start to a season in which they eventually would be crowned champions.
No. 4: Hail Mary to Hakeem
The Giants deserve only half the credit for this particular moment. A slew of blunders by the Green Bay Packers defense also attributed to Hakeem Nicks' spellbinding touchdown at the end of the half of this 2011 NFC Divisional Round game.
New York was positioned at the Green Bay 37-yard line with just six seconds remaining.
On the previous play, the Giants elected to run the ball with no timeouts and 15 seconds left on the clock. The Packers' ineptitude on defense enabled Ahmad Bradshaw to scamper out of bounds for 23 yards.
This bold Hail Mary attempt by New York culminated a shocking turn of events.
The 15-1 Packers were stunned and deflated by their careless play to end the half, leading to an insurmountable 10-point deficit at the break.
No. 3: Caught in Corey's Web
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It may not be as memorable as this playoff interception in overtime at Lambeau Field, but Corey Webster's decision to jump a pass by Brett Favre early in the extra frame punched New York's ticket to Super Bowl XLII.
A tumultuous start to 2007 saw Webster get benched after just three games. It's safe to say the Giants cornerback rewarded the coaching staff for giving him a second chance.
Tom Coughlin's famously purple face from that evening was representative of the Giants' resiliency as a whole.
Many believed New York did not belong on the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field with the NFC title on the line. Similarly, fans worried that Coughlin should be removed from the sidelines to avoid hypothermia.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, Coughlin and his Giants braved the elements and came way victorious, thanks in large part to Corey Webster's heroics.
No. 2 (Tie): Super Bowl XLII Game-Winning Catch
It's obvious Bill Belichick's defense completely sold out on this play. That is due in large part to the number one moment on this list.
Eli Manning's game-winning connection with Plaxico Burress culminated a stunning upset in Super Bowl XLII.
The 18-0 Patriots were double-digit favorites in this contest, but were caught off guard by the Giants' ability to stifle them in Glendale, Arizona.
Manning's high arching pass granted us the luxury of having time to ponder the potential greatness of the play. After all, it doesn't get much better than a game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the Super Bowl. Or does it?
No. 2 (Tie): Manning to Manningham
Eli Manning's perfectly thrown ball between two defenders in Super Bowl XLVI will go down as his greatest. There is not a single thing the Giants' signal-caller can do to change this fact.
From the shadow of their own end zone, the Giants quickly obliged to Bill Belichick's demand of his defense to "Make 'em go to Manningham," completing a pass 38 yards downfield.
This completion forced New England to play an overaggressive style on defense and surrender the eventual game-winning touchdown by Ahmad Bradshaw.
Mario Manningham's terrific display of athleticism and concentration, paired with Eli Manning's poise, helped create one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history.
No. 1: The Helmet Catch
Few moments are as indelible as Eli Manning's 32-yard pass to David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII. In the waning minutes against the 18-0 New England Patriots, Manning eluded multiple defenders and threw up a prayer.
What ensued was nothing short of an unforgettable act of God.
As Eli Manning escaped trouble and referee Mike Carey's whistle, his heave miraculously fell onto the helmet of receiver David Tyree.
This play had all the makings of a great one. It replicated the determination shown by Mark Ingram in Super Bowl XXV. It matched every bit of the concentration Lynn Swann displayed during Super Bowl X. Most of all, it defied all logic and provided us something we've never seen before.
David Tyree's supernatural catch turned the unthinkable into the believable in Super Bowl XLII. It is certainly something fans will never forget.