An interview with Super Bowl champion David Tyree


In November, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady declared that teammate Rob Gronkowski’s one-handed receipt of his pass in a regular-season game against the Denver Broncos was the greatest catch he had ever seen.

That comment riled film director Spike Lee.  In fact, it prompted him to make a documentary about an entirely different catch.

Lee’s resulting 30-minute short film, “The Greatest Catch Ever,” made its world premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.  It takes viewers back to 2008, when the New York Giants faced Brady and the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.  A desperate throw from Giants quarterback Eli Manning to David Tyree, a special teams player, defied physics and stunned spectators when Tyree not only managed to catch the ball, but had it seemingly glued to his helmet the entire time.  The play led to a 17-14 victory for the Giants, spoiling New England’s chance at making history and shining the spotlight on Tyree.

Seven years later, on the Tribeca red carpet before the screening of the Lee’s film, Tyree – now the Director of Player Development for the Giants – spoke with Meniscus Magazine about the catch, the film and what he thinks are the most iconic sports plays of all time.

Yuan-Kwan Chan: Congratulations on the film.  How did you find out that Spike was interested in doing a film about this play and what was your reaction?

David Tyree: Yeah, I actually work with the New York Giants now, since June, and it came in through our PR department as far as the opportunity…when Spike lends an opportunity, when you’re of some interest to Spike Lee – that becomes intriguing.  So I definitely wanted to hear what it was about and it seemed like it was going to be a pretty neat project.  I look forward to checking it out tonight.

Were you involved with the production at all?  Or is this going to be a complete surprise to you?

I was definitely an interview subject, but I don’t know how everything kind of came together and turned out.  I did my part and kind of got that out of the way.  So, you know, he was obviously telling me that he was going to highlight the catch.  I believe it might have came after Tom Brady said that Rob Gronkowski’s catch was the greatest catch he had ever seen.


Yeah, man, you know, some New York City love backing me up, so to speak.

How has your perspective of the play changed over the years, from the catch at the time [to] now?  Has it changed at all?

Well, I think I’m fortunate – and I say this in all humility because I recognize that I didn’t have this banner career, but I had a great moment.  I had a career that I was satisfied with, but I was really a part of something that was way bigger than myself.  And I think, now, more than ever, we find we’re creating so much discussion about what’s the greatest catch of all time.  I’m just happy to be in the discussion.  So I think the catch kind of incited a lot of discussion about what is the greatest catch of all time, or in Super Bowl history.  It seems like every time there is a good catch, my name pops up.

They mention your name.

[My] name pops up.  So, it’s fun.

What to you are some of the most iconic sports plays?  It doesn’t have to be football – it could be any sport.

Obviously, I think our catch is one of them.  I think it’s bigger than just the catch.  It’s about, you’re playing an undefeated team.  So I think I would obviously put that in there.  Even though I wasn’t alive [Ed. Note: Tyree was actually seven weeks old], I certainly remember USA hockey playing the Miracle on Ice [at the 1980 Olympics where they defeated the Soviet Union].  That kind of vaults right up in there.

What are some other moments?  Most of the other moments that I remember – the only reason I remember this was because I grew up a 49ers fan, so to speak – obviously, the Dwight Clark catch [that won the NFC Championship in 1982 for the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboys].  I feel like he kind of got hijacked as far as they call my catch “The Catch.”  But those are some of those significant moments that stick out in my mind initially.

Video: Interview with David Tyree (New York Giants) – 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
interview & video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Plaxico Burress, Chris Snee, David Tyree, Spike Lee – 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Excerpts from the Q&A following the premiere of THE GREATEST CATCH EVER, directed by Spike Lee and focusing on the iconic play by David Tyree that helped the New York Giants win the 2008 Super Bowl.

Photos: “The Greatest Catch Ever” world premiere – 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine