David Tyree was besieged by the media as soon as he walked into the Giants locker room Friday.
Naturally, the topic of conversation turned to Happy Feet himself: Victor Cruz.
“He’s like me on steroids,” joked Tyree.
Known best for his jaw-dropping “Helmet Catch” in Super Bowl XLII, Tyree was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection as a special-teams player in 2005 and had just 35 yards on four receptions during the 2007 regular season.
Cruz, on the other hand, has been lighting up the field en route to a record-breaking season.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a season like this before for a receiver in NFL history. Just from the anonymous detail of his life, to coming in and [being third in the NFL] in receiving,” said Tyree, who grew up in Montclair, N.J., a short drive from Cruz’s hometown of Paterson.
“…It’s something to be excited about.”
As for all those comparisons between 2007 and now – you know, the ones Tom Coughlin’s always shooting down? Well, Tyree said the there are “some moments that make you say hmm.”
"I think the majority of the comparisons are probably there, from the way the defense has come on, not just the D-line, which has been fairly great, but the secondary playing well down the stretch," he said. "Of course, you’ve got Eli, with what at this point in the season you can say is a really good group of receivers, playing really well. That’s really the main thing. It’s always going to be really tremendous. Eli is playing the best football of his career, hands down. It’s really exciting.”
There’s a striking similarity, Tyree said, between his catch in the Giants’ Super Bowl win over New England and the reception by Jake Ballard (who wears Tyree’s old number, 85) in the Giants’ Week 9 victory over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
“I believe the score when they played Green Bay was the same score when we lost to New England,” added Tyree, who said he “absolutely” will be in attendance Sunday. “So there are a lot of cool little markers that you can look at that kind of get you wondering and excited. But more importantly the New York Giants are playing their best football on into the playoffs.”
That’s why – unlike Michael Strahan five weeks ago – Tyree didn’t feel the need to address the team Friday.
“I think they’re focused,” he said. “And that’s right where they need to be. I don’t want to be a distraction.