By Scott Greer
It was third down and five yards to go on the New York Giants’ own 44-yard line. They were down 14-10 with only 1:15 remaining in Super Bowl XLII. The last play had almost resulted in an interception and would have sealed the game for the undefeated New England Patriots.
The Giants needed a miracle to stay alive in the game. And, according to some, that’s exactly what they got.
Giants’ receiver David Tyree approached the line of scrimmage with the feeling that what would happen next would change his life. The roar of the 72,000 fans in the stadium filled Tyree’s ears and with nearly 100 million people watching the game all over America, everything was on the line.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning yelled “hut” and Tyree shot off from the line of scrimmage.
What happened next is considered one of sports’ greatest moments – known simply as “Catch 42.” Tyree recalled the moment that changed his life in his book, “More Than Just The Catch.”
Manning had improbably avoided a sack to make a desperate 32-yard pass to Tyree. Tyree was being defended by one of the top safeties in the game, Rodney Harrison, when the ball came his way.
Tyree, who only had four receptions during the entire regular season, leaped up behind Harrison and caught the ball between his right hand and the top of his helmet with the Patriots safety coming down with him. Despite the odds, Tyree had managed to secure possession of the ball – giving his team the chance to win the game
Just a few plays later, the Giants scored the touchdown to win the Super Bowl and deal the “invincible” Patriots their only loss of the season.
But what might be more incredible than the actual catch is that Tyree had been told he would make this play all the way back in September – and the message came from the unlikeliest of sources.
This prophetic insight was given to Tyree by a man of faith with a track record of providing spiritual visions to high-profile believers.
It’s the type of story that Hollywood would reject as unbelievable – except that it actually happened.
While the end of Tyree’s 2007 season might have been one for the record books, the season began less spectacularly for him
Tyree started the season on the sidelines, nursing a wrist injury that kept him off the field for the first three games of the year.
It was during his time on the injury list that he came in contact with a man who would later have a profound impact on his life. That man was Hubie Synn, a devout Christian and accountant, who first met Tyree while working on his taxes.
“I met David’s financial adviser and I started to do some work with him and he took me to David’s house and that’s how I met him. His financial adviser said ‘this is Hubie, he’s going to handle your taxes,’” Synn told WND.
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Synn said they had a good working relationship and everything was going smoothly.
But a short time after meeting, Synn began feeling an almost overwhelming power to speak with Tyree on a subject that had little to do with taxes – he felt had a prophetic message that he had to give to his new client. But he felt a reluctance to talk to him due to the fear that it would cross a professional line.
“The Lord prompted me to get into contact with him because I had to tell him something. There’s a fine line between ministry and professional – you can’t really cross the line. But it just got worse, so then I said ‘I have to do this,’” Synn said.
Synn finally worked up the courage to call Tyree and give him the message that was compelling the accountant to reach out to him.
“I called him on a Friday night. He answered and I said ‘This is Hubie, your accountant,’ and then I said ‘I’ve got something to tell you – the Lord wants you to know ‘ and out comes this really long word,” Synn recalled.
A long silence emerged after Synn relayed his message to Tyree and Synn was the first to break the silence.
“I said ‘Dave, are you there?’ and Dave said, ‘Yeah, I was just talking to my wife yesterday and a lot of the things we were talking about you just answered. I really want to get to know you better,’” Synn said.
He said that they soon began hanging out and praying together and that fateful phone call is when he received word that he would make the all-important play in the Super Bowl.
“It was during that initial phone call that he got the word about what was going to happen,” the faithful accountant said.
Tyree had had a rough start to his professional career. Back in 2003, he had been arrested and charged for marijuana possession during his first year in the league and had developed an alcohol problem as well.
But with the help of his new-found faith in God, he managed to get his life and career back on track.
He credited his faith with the profound change in his life. In his book, he wrote: “God brought me out of alcohol and women, but He did more than that: He brought me out of the bondage of the enemy.”
But his 2007 season did not go so well after his conversation with Hubie Synn. On the field, he only had four catches for 35 yards with no touchdowns during the entire regular season. Off the field, his mother unexpectedly passed away and left him devastated.
According to Synn, Tyree wanted to use his time on the field to spread the word of God, but he was relatively unknown and received little playing time.
But the Super Bowl was a reversal of fortune for Tyree. He scored the Giants’ first touchdown early in the game and performed well on special teams play.
As Synn prepared to watch the game on TV with his wife, he had a strong feeling that the game would have something very important in store for his new friend.
“On the day leading up to the Super Bowl, we were praying for him and my wife and I felt a kind of ‘jumping’ in our chests, like the spirit was jumping inside of us. We knew something was going to happen – we just didn’t know what it was,” Synn retold.
He knew that Tyree’s big plays early on in the game were only the tip of the iceberg and he would be involved in something much larger in the game. Synn turned out to be right.
“When Eli almost got sacked and he just threw the ball, I shouted ‘It’s to David!’ He made the catch and when I spoke with another player on the team, the other player said that everybody had a feeling that they were going to win,” Synn said.
Synn talked with Tyree the next day and the man who had just made one of the greatest plays in sports wept for joy when he recalled it.
“He was weeping on the phone, saying, ‘Can you believe what God did?’ He said he was not going to take credit for it and he was going to give all the glory to God,” Synn remembered.
Synn calls his ability a gift – and Tyree is not the only one he has helped.
He also provided a vision for a writer struggling with a new book he was working on. That writer was Jonathan Cahn, and the book turned into the New York Times bestseller “The Harbinger.”
Cahn recalled his encounter with Synn as occurring completely by chance in an airport.
“The man to my left begins a conversation and says, ‘So what’s the good word?’ I said, ‘God loves you.’ He said, ‘I know that, but what’s the good word?’ We begin to talk. He tells me, that I’ve written a book that will go forth. That God will do it. The book will change things. It will change lives. It will change my life,” Cahn recalled.
Cahn said that Synn wasn’t even supposed to be on his flight and that, like his conversation with Tyree, showed reluctance in telling him his powerful message.
“He was afraid – because apparently I look Jewish. But he found himself literally in pain until he opened his mouth and gave me the word,” Cahn said.
This happened only two years after the Synn gave the word to Tyree and “The Harbinger” went on to sell over 1.2 million copies and spend an unprecedented 100 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list.
Synn even got to share in the book’s success and went on numerous media programs with Cahn to promote his message.
He remains in contact with Tyree, who has since retired from the NFL and devoted his time to spreading his own ministry. He still remains friends with the man who gave him the message that would change his life forever.