Super Bowl hero David Tyree talks New England Patriots CB Malcolm Butler and moving on from a legendary play
The top four cornerbacks from the New England Patriots Super Bowl XLIX-winning team are gone, leaving the Super Bowl hero as, potentially, the team's top corner in 2015.
As Malcolm Butler told reporters this offseason, "I don't want to be known as a great player for one play." The quest to prove himself as a viable NFL starter, to build momentum from his interception, began this spring. His former college teammate and workout partner, Chad Toocheck, talked about Butler's evolving goals.
"He went from 'I just want to get to camp' to 'I just want to make the roster' to now he's thinking, 'I want to be a Hall of Fame cornerback.' That's something about the kid...The goals are always going to change."
As part of the story, I spoke with David Tyree (you may remember him), who never caught another pass in the NFL after he pulled down the one that crushed the Patriots' perfect 2007 season. Tyree hurt his knee the following offseason, and never got back on track.
In some ways, Butler is in a situation similar to the one Tyree experienced after The Catch (although Butler is expected to become a starter this season and Tyree was not).
Here's what the Giants' Super Bowl hero had to say.
On the importance of putting the play in the past: "I'm sure (Butler) understands what's expected of him and he's trying to get past the moment more than kind of live in it. Financially, the opportunities that present themselves, you want to capitalize, but everything else, let it go by the wayside."
"If you're going to be successful, you can't stay in any particular memorial type of place. Memorials are great because it's a place of remembrance. It is something that brings a sense of gratitude, but if you stay there you're living with something that's dead. At the end of the day, that's kind of what The Catch is. It's a memorial, something I get the chance to revisit. It has an eternal lure to it, for lack of a better term. And I think in some kind of way, Malcolm has his own play like that."
On the aftermath of The Catch: "It was exciting at specific times but not that often it was overwhelming. But I was never stressed about the process. It was one of those deals where much is given much is required type of deal. Of course the element of affirmation kind of plays into it, where you're finally coming out of that dark room. Of course there's a small sense of satisfaction, but also you have to realize that it was not really, there was a sense of fairy-tale-ish. It wasn't really real. I think everybody applauded the catch, but as far as the affirmation of me as a player wasn't there. So I was anxious to prove it, excited about presenting myself to the world and using a platform that I had now got for something positive."
On how the validation that comes with one play can be carried forward: "I didn't spend much time wondering, but I would have much rather been healthy if I had that opportunity. There's nothing like obviously coming off a game where you left that impression, and I've always had the respect of my peers, even as a receiver, but there's nothing like kind of a validating moment to bring my level of excitement and you play with a different air versus kind of being perceived as a guy who was just a role player. You're now a guy who's a playmaker. That changes things, as far as the respect level, the confidence level and kind of the assurance level as far as knowing where you stand with your team."
On the pressure of not being defined by a single play: "The pressure was I wanted to get back to football and be myself again...and that was hindered by the injury.
"I would have loved to be healthy and see how that (would have) worked out, but at the same time I had far exceeded, when I look at my career, probably everybody's expectations."