Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Bowl 42 leaves us with more than empty pizza boxes and a pile of chicken wing bones....

Sometimes sporting events have little or no meaning, except maybe to the participants.

Sometimes there's a lot of meaning -- for all of us.

Take the Feb. 3, 2008 Super Bowl 42.

Glamor boy and ladies man to actresses and models Tom Brady and his undefeated Patriots vs. self-described "mama's boy", plier of the family business, Eli Manning, long overshadowed by his older brother Peyton.

Down for the most of the game, with four minutes remaining, Manning and his Giants mount a comeback. With one minute left, 3rd and 5 to go, Manning drops back, swarmed by a herd of Patriots, surely to be sacked, ESCAPES!, looks downfield, heaves the ball to David Tyree, who goes up and pulls the ball down on top of his head, while getting tackled -- but holds on!

But holds on! There's the operative phrase.

With 0:59, Manning and the Giants go on to score a touchdown, and win Super Bowl 42 by a score 17-14. The Patriots came into the game undefeated, 18-0, leave 18-1.

The Giants? They were 12 point underdogs.

Tyree, the hero of the game, had quite a back story turns out. He had just lost his mother, 59, to a heart attack six weeks earlier. Of the catch that was called one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, coming down with the ball pressed against the top of his helmet, and holding on somehow, he said it was: "Something that didn't make sense, and when things don't make sense, I attribute them to God."

He added: "If nothing else great happens to me in my career, it will still be all icing on the cake with cherries and ice cream on the top."

After a past that included major troubles with drugs and alcohol, Tyree and his mother became Christians several years earlier, and he cleaned up. She died while working for a ministry; he said she had experienced the presence of God, and while the loss hurt, he knew he would see her again. His faith made it bearable.

"God has a plan for everyone," Tyree said in post-game interviews. "My mother has gone to be home with her Lord, and since she's gone there, the team's been on fire."

When receiving condolences from teammates back in December, 2007, Tyree said: “I’m actually very excited for her. Because that’s what we’re working toward. We’re living to live again.”

After the former special teams member scored the first touchdown of the game, he pointed to the heavens in her honor.

Lots of Super Bowls are forgotten, but from this one we can take several things that are worth remembering.

Sometimes the dorky, plodding mama's boys can beat the glamor boys.

You can start over ---- and succeed.

And while sometimes life can be a battering one day, full of loss, and an exultation the next, the key, like Tyree, is to 'hold on.' Through it all.

Even if there's only one minute to go, great things can happen.

And if things don't work out that way, as David Tyree told his teammates, this life is not the end of the story.


You can see his great catch at ABC and on You Tube.