Chase Blackburn has reportedly signed with the Panthers, but he will never be forgotten by Giants fans as the guy who picked off Tom Brady in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. What gets lost in that play was that Blackburn could have just as easily have been a goat instead of a hero. If that ball had come out on time, there’s a good chance Blackburn might have been beaten for a TD. The Giants player who really made the play, but rarely gets any credit, was actually DT Linval Joseph.
At the snap, Joseph made LG Logan Mankins whiff, and got a free run at Brady:
Brady was forced to pull the ball down, messing up the play:
Had Brady gotten even a smidge of protection from Mankins, he would have had Gronkowski streaking (or limping) down the seam, with no safety help over the top, and Blackburn beaten:
Instead, Brady was flushed out of the pocket:
And he tried to get it to Gronk anyway, but simply didn’t have the arm strength to throw the ball 55 yards down the length of the field, and about half the width of the field across it. The line shows Brady’s throw:
Gronkowski had, by then, outrun Brady’s range, Blackburn had the chance to recover, and to his credit, made a play on the football:
But that play was all about Linval Joseph’s initial pressure.