Starting Lineups: David Tyree Made Me Believe In Football

Super Bowl XLII

It was Super Bowl Sunday, 2008, and I was watching soccer. I've never been a rebel, but I suppose that's the closest I've come. I knew that later in the evening I would be watching the 18-0 New England Patriots take on the something-and-6 New York Giants, and frankly, I wasn't as excited as I should be. My friend Chuck would be hosting his annual Super Bowl party, which would consist of two soccer players, including myself, and approximately 53 varsity football players basking in the glow of America's sport. I had to get my fix.

So in the a.m. I was happy to take in the Fulham-Aston Villa Premier League game on Fox Soccer Channel (RIP). Fulham was well-entrenched in the relegation battle but included American standouts Clint Dempsey and the almighty air-god Brian McBride. Villa was at the peak of its powers. The Birmingham club would finish comfortably in sixth place that season, good enough for a spot in the UEFA Cup (Now the Europa League).

The match played out like you might expect. The Villains (yes the Villains, Premier League clubs got lazy when choosing nicknames) dominated for much of the game and took the lead through an Aaron Hughes own goal.

Fulham, though, threw the game into full-on desperation mode. Current England boss Roy Hodgson subbed on McBride. The American's presence swayed the match, and the Cottagers (again, don't really know what to say here) equalized through Simon Davies.

Thirteen minutes later, Fulham won a free kick some 25 yards out from the Villa goal. Jimmy Bullard stepped up and promptly curled the ball into the top left corner of the net, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. There have been better free kicks, really, but few have meant more. Fulham desperately needed three points. Bullard delivered them in one swift motion. In fact, the London club would finish tied in points with relegation-bound Reading at the end of the season, only to survive on the back of a superior goal difference. That goal saved their season.

Needless to say, the moment wasn't lost on me. I stood up in my living room, let out a gasp, and thought to myself, "Nothing in tonight's Super Bowl will surpass this highlight," and that made me bitter.

Not nearly enough Americans watched what I watched. Too many would watch later.

As the clock wound down in the fourth quarter, my prediction had been vindicated. While the Pats and G-Men played an inspired game, it wasn't all that entertaining. And then David Tyree happened:

My first two thoughts after the catch: 1. Okay, I was wrong. 2. I just witnessed the greatest play in Super Bowl history.

Well played, football. Well played, indeed.

Thursday Links:

Ranking all 30 farm systems- ESPN

14-year-old Beargrease competitor carries on a family tradition- Duluth News Tribune

How Spotify Made Lorde A Pop Superstar- Forbes

Tesori back on Simpson's bag, couldn't be happier- Golf Channel

'Permanently disabled', Harrison fighting for benefits NFL took away- Sports Illustrated

Harris Pole Reveals Golf's Decline- Or Does It?- USGolfTV

California Love- Grantland

The 100 Best Albums of the Nineties- Rolling Stone

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