American Football Database
David Tyree
File:Tyree Head Catch (2245527996) (cropped).jpg
Tyree reenacting the "Helmet Catch" during the Giants Super Bowl XLII victory rally
New York Giants
Position:Director of Player Development
Personal information
Born: (1980-01-03) January 3, 1980 (age 42)
Livingston, New Jersey
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Montclair (NJ)
NFL Draft:2003 / Round: 6 / Pick: 211
Career history
As player:
* New York Giants ( 2003 2008)
As executive:
* New York Giants (2014–present)
Director of Player Development
Career highlights and awards
* Super Bowl champion (XLII)
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:650
Receiving touchdowns:4
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

David Mikel Tyree (born January 3, 1980) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. He is currently the Director of Player Development for the New York Giants. He played college football for Syracuse University. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Baltimore Ravens. He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2005 as a special teams player.

Tyree is best known for the Helmet Catch in 2008 on the Giants' final drive of Super Bowl XLII. The catch came at a crucial moment and was instrumental in continuing the drive that eventually resulted in the Giants scoring a last-minute touchdown, resulting in a 17–14 upset of the heavily-favoured New England Patriots.

Early years

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, Tyree grew up in a one-bedroom house in Montclair, New Jersey with his mother and two older sisters after his parents divorced.[1] He played high school football and was a three-year varsity letterman at Montclair High School, where he was selected as a Blue Chip Illustrated All-American.[2] He was also known for his performance in Montclair's annual modern pentathlon competition, where he broke numerous county records and made the cover of NJ Equestrian Weekly.

College career

Over Tyree's career at Syracuse, he ranked 13th on the career receiving record list with 1,214 yards, including 229 yards against Virginia Tech in 2002. He also developed a reputation for being an excellent special teams player, amassing six blocked punts.[3]

Professional career

New York Giants

Tyree was selected in the sixth round (211th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. While with the Giants, he was primarily a backup, never catching more than 19 passes in a single season. However, he was best known for his special teams play, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2005 as a special teams player.

The Helmet Catch

During the 2007 season, Tyree had four receptions for 35 yards with no touchdowns; however, his utilization in Super Bowl XLII was his most relevant contribution.[4]

Tyree made two key plays in Super Bowl XLII. First, he caught a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning, Tyree's first of the season, that gave the Giants a 10-7 lead late in the game.[5] Later, on a third-and-five with 1:15 remaining and trailing 14-10, Manning eluded a sack and threw 32 yards downfield toward Tyree. In Manning's words, the ball "floated" high.[6]

Tyree leaped and caught the ball fully extended, bringing it down against his helmet with his right hand, while the New England Patriots' Rodney Harrison pulled violently downward on that arm, simultaneously wrenching Tyree arching backwards towards the turf. Tyree, who got a second hand on the ball during the descent, seemingly kept the ball only inches from the turf, thereafter struggling successfully for possession while Harrison tried to steal the ball away from him on the ground. The play became known as "The Helmet Catch".[5][7] "I told you. He's a gamer," Manning commented to his brother, Peyton, regarding Tyree, after the game.[8] ESPN SportsCenter named it the greatest play in Super Bowl history the following day. It was later voted for the 2008 ESPY Award for Play of the Year. The pass moved the Giants to the Patriots' 24-yard line with 59 seconds left. Four plays and 24 seconds later, Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown. The final score of Super Bowl XLII was Giants 17, Patriots 14.[9] Tyree dedicated this catch, which remains the last catch he has made in an NFL game, to his mother, Thelma, who died of a heart attack that year.[citation needed]

In 2008, Tyree was placed on injured reserve for a knee injury suffered during training camp after being on the physically-unable-to-perform list most of the season. He was released during the final cuts on September 5, 2009.[10]

Baltimore Ravens

Tyree was signed by the Baltimore Ravens on October 13, 2009 after working out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in ten games with the Ravens, but had no receptions.


Tyree signed a one-day contract with the New York Giants to announce his retirement from the NFL as a Giant on July 29, 2010.[11] On February 5, 2012, he watched from the Giants sideline as his former team beat the Patriots again in Super Bowl XLVI.[12] On July 22, 2014, he was named Director of Player Development for the New York Giants.[13]

Personal life

Tyree battled with alcohol addiction beginning in middle school, and in March 2004, he was arrested by the Fort Lee Police Department[14] for possession of marijuana.[15] His then-girlfriend Leilah told him she was pregnant with their second child the day he was released from jail. Later that month, Leilah "presented Tyree with an ultimatum — her lifestyle or his."[15] He began reading a Bible on her bed, and "for the first time, the words on the page made sense" to him. Tyree said from that day he never drank again.[15] He and Leilah were married in June 2004.[16] Tyree and his wife Leilah have seven children.[17]

He is a born-again Christian[16] and has made appearances at the 2008 and 2009 Christian concert "BattleCry".[18] In 2006, he and his wife started Next In Line, a project that counsels teenagers in his hometown.[15]

In 2011, Tyree became an advocate against legalization of same-sex marriage in New York with the National Organization for Marriage.[19] Tyree said in an interview that the passage of the Marriage Equality Act would "be the beginning of our country sliding toward...anarchy".[20] He said he would trade his famous catch and the team's Super Bowl title to keep marriage between a man and a woman.[21] In 2014, he said he was no longer in support of gay conversion therapy.[22]

See also


  1. Dillon, Dennis. "The miracles in David Tyree's grasp" Archived October 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Sporting News, June 19, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2011. "Born in Livingston, N.J., Tyree had something of a hardscrabble life. He was 1 when his parents, Jesse and Thelma, divorced. When he was 10, Thelma moved Tyree and his two older sisters to Montclair, where they lived in a one-bedroom house. Thelma slept in the bedroom, David had the living room and his sisters took the dining room."
  2. "NFL Players: David Tyree". Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  3. "David Tyree Profile". Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  4. "David Tyree".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Youngmisuk, Ohm (February 4, 2008). "David Tyree catches on in Super way". Daily News (New York). Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  6. [Post-game mic recording Fox News Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.]
  7. "Name the Eli Manning-David Tyree pass". Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  8. {Fox & Friends microphone session.}
  9. "'Supernatural' catch by Tyree a play for the ages". Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  10. "News - Around the NFL".
  11. Youngmisuk, Ohm (July 29, 2010). "David Tyree to retire as a Giant". Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  12. "NY Giants' David Tyree says this Super Bowl run was similar to the last".
  13. Eisen, Michael (July 22, 2014). "David Tyree hired as Director of Player Development".
  14. Vacchiano, Ralph (March 5, 2004). "BIG BLUE'S TYREE IN POT ARREST". New York: Daily News. Retrieved October 21, 2008.[dead link]
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Bishop, Grey. "Super Bowl Spotlight Shines on A Changed Man"
  16. 16.0 16.1 Bell, Jarrett (June 12, 2008). "The Catch: Super Bowl moment small part of Tyree's journey". USA Today. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  17. Bishop, Greg (January 18, 2017). "After The Helmet Catch, David Tyree took a winding road to his second Giants job". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  18. Michael Eisen. "Moving forward, Giants GM Jerry Reese has put SBXLII in his rearview mirror". Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  19. "David Tyree on Marriage: The NOM Interview". National Organization for Marriage. YouTube. June 15, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  20. Kessler, Jason (June 16, 2011). "Super Bowl hero warns of 'anarchy' if NY approves gay marriage". CNN. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  21. Lovett, Kenneth (June 20, 2011). "David Tyree, hero of Giants' Super Bowl upset of Patriots, said he'd trade win to block gay marriage". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  22. O'Keefe, Michael (July 24, 2014). "NY Giants director of player development David Tyree reverses gay stance". The New York Daily News. Retrieved August 24, 2019.

External links