David Tyree: Troubled Path Led to Football Fame

With the season and the championship on the line, and only a minute left to play, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning heaved the ball to David Tyree to score the winning touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday.

"I just wouldn't let go. They were trying to say they had the ball," Tyree said.

The amazing catch required focus and dogged determination, two characteristics the football player acquired on his difficult life and career path.

Tyree came to the Giants in 2003 out of Syracuse University — 210 men were picked ahead of him in the draft. He struggled with alcohol and marijuana, and separated from his wife for eight months. At his mother's urging, Tyree became a born-again Christian and was able to straighten himself out.

Tyree became a member of the Giants' special teams — an unheralded player. This year, in the regular season, he caught four passes but scored no touchdowns.

Then Tyree lost his mother to a heart attack in mid-December. She was 59 years old.

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

The team was, indeed, on fire, and so was Tyree.

As he scored the Giants' first touchdown, you may have noticed — he pointed to the heavens.

"If nothing else positive happens for me in my career," he said afterwards, "I couldn't complain. It's all icing on the cake, with cherries and ice cream on top."