David Tyree made arguably the greatest catch in NFL Super Bowl history, but according to referee Mike Carey, almost never happened.
Tyree's catch propelled the New York Giants to their Super Bowl XLII upset over the undefeated New England Patriots and Carey was lucky enough to officiate one of the NFL's greatest upsets. Carey, now retired, recently admitted that he was out of normal position when the play was snapped. Had Carey been standing in his normal place, the play would've likely been whistled dead before Manning threw the pass.
"For some reason, I don’t know why, I ran all the way around here to get to that window," Carey said to Tony Siragusa, via Yahoo Sports.
Carey explained to Siragusa that his usual position is behind the quarterback and to the front side. Having said that, the Patriots' pass rush got there so fast on the play that he couldn't get in that position.
"Had I stayed here, I think the outcome would have been different," Carey said. "I probably would have blown the whistle."
Carey added that had he been on his normal side, he would have seen the pocket collapse on Manning -- a sign that it's usually time to blow the whistle.
Here's another look at the iconic play. You can judge for yourself whether or not you think Manning was held long enough for the play to be ruled a sack.
It looks an awful lot to us like Manning broke free from a brief hold -- we've seen quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger escape from grasps that have held longer than this one.
Here is Carey's complete explanation:
Had Carey blown the whistle and called the sack, the greatest play in arguably the greatest Super Bowl in NFL history would have never gone down.