As another Super Bowl approaches this coming Sunday, it's hard for many, including Philomath football legend Kevin Boss himself, to believe that a decade has passed since the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII.
Boss thrilled not only Giants fans, but his admirers back in Philomath, with a fourth-quarter catch that covered 45 yards, a key play that gave New York a 10-7 lead at the time.
Boss, who played tight end, said the play was a basic seam route and wasn't even in the team's game plan leading up to the historic contest against the unbeaten Patriots.
"Going into a game, you have certain plays, 40, 50, 60 plays ... that one wasn't in the script, wasn't in the game plan," Boss said Thursday night during a phone interview.
But the play entered the game plan based on how a Patriots strong safety was playing.
"Rodney Harrison was trying to cheat down and stop the run and we felt like I could just run by him," Boss said. "I was having a hard time getting off the line of scrimmage and getting into routes clearly because Mike Vrabel and the other outside linebacker being aggressive with me and jamming me at the line of scrimmage."
But coaches realized that they could take advantage of what the Giants were doing on defense.
"We drew it up on the sideline right there and we did what we called yo-yo motion," Boss said. "You give yourself plenty of room to get off the line of scrimmage ... get in the slot a little bit. It gave me a cleaner release into the secondary and yeah, just like we saw, Rodney Harrison was up there trying to stop the run."
The rest is history.
"I ran right by him and Eli (Manning) threw me a good ball there," Boss added. "I wasn't quite fast enough to make it to the end zone."
Boss, 34, said the past 10 years have gone by pretty fast since that memorable Super Bowl run by the Giants. In fact, he said it feels like a lifetime ago.
"It was one of those things where I look back on it now and realize how blessed and fortunate I was," Boss said. "It was a pretty crazy ride to be at Western Oregon a few months earlier in Monmouth, then New York City and playing for the New York Football Giants."
Boss had loved ones around him at the game, which was played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Players received two complimentary tickets that they could give out and those went to his parents. They also had the option of buying up to 13 more tickets at face value.
"I ended up buying almost all of them and brought my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, aunts and uncles, cousins, best friends," he said. "It was one of those situations where you look back on it now and wish I would've taken more pictures and had a video camera."
Boss's brother, Terry, was also there for the game.
"You want to be able to share that moment with as many people as you can," he said. "Two of my closest friends from Philomath went as well."
Meanwhile, back in his hometown, a community celebration was organized. Steve Bennett helped put together the event and served as its narrator.
"We packed the gym at the high school with people coming from all around Oregon and even some from Washington to celebrate Kevin," Bennett recalled, adding that Terry Garvin, C.A. Rath and others were also heavily involved.
Asked what he remembers most about the game, Boss immediately brought up what has famously been referred to as the "helmet catch."
"Certainly the David Tyree catch is going to go down as one of the most remarkable plays in Super Bowl history," Boss said. "That's always going to be associated with our game."
On the play, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw to Tyree, who made a leaping catch while pinning the ball against his helmet. Coming in the final two minutes, the play covered 32 yards and was a key part of New York's game-winning drive.
The Giants ruined New England's bid to become the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to finish a season undefeated. And for Boss, that's a big part of the experience that he'll always remember.
"For me, I think it's looking back and realizing just how good that Patriots team was," Boss said. "I think that's what was really special for me, playing against a bunch of legends."
New England definitely had several high-caliber athletes on its roster and Boss knocked helmets with them.
"For me particularly on the offensive side and playing against their defense, it was just stacked with guys like Junior Seau, Rodney Harrison, Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi," he said. "I remember being a rookie and looking across at that line and being like, 'holy cow, this is a pretty stout defense we're going up against.' ... just studying them for the couple of weeks leading up to the game and stuff. That's what will always be kinda memorable for me."
Boss had an opportunity to reconnect with his Giants teammates this past fall.
"We just had our 10-year anniversary game earlier in the season when the whole team got back together and was honored at halftime at one of the games," Boss said. "Coaches and players, almost everybody got back for that, which was a really incredible experience to see old teammates and friends you haven't seen for 10 years."
The Super Bowl teammates were involved in activities all that weekend with the halftime recognition coming during the Sept. 18 Giants-Lions game at MetLife Stadium.
Newsday reporter Tom Rock wrote a story about the reunion and Boss was one of those interviewed.
“The biggest takeaway from that season was really the relationships and the friendships,” Boss told the newspaper. “I was never part of a better locker room. That locker room was just amazing. Being a young guy and having guys, veterans to look up to like (Michael) Strahan and Amani (Toomer) and Sam Madison, it was a really unique locker room."
Boss stays busy these days training elite athletes as Boss Sports Performance in Bend. In fact, during the NFL offseason, he'll be working with Nate Sudfeld, who will be the Eagles' backup quarterback for Sunday's Super Bowl behind starter Nick Foles.
The Super Bowl experience that Boss had a decade ago has come in handy for an athlete like Sudfeld. They've been texting each other back and forth as Sudfeld maneuvers his way through the hype that comes along with heading to the big game.
Since the 2008 thriller was played, Boss has only seen clips.
"I've never watched the entire game," Boss said. "We always talk about sitting down and re-living it and watching it from start to finish but we haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I'm waiting until the kids are a little older."
Boss and his wife have three children and the oldest, a 5-year-old son, is "really big into football right now," he said, adding that he's getting to the age where he might want to see Dad playing in the big game.
As for this year's Super Bowl, Boss has that connection to the Eagles through Sudfeld, but he admits that it would be amazing if quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots to another ring.
"I almost find myself rooting for the Patriots just because it's incredible what Tom Brady's doing," Boss said. "I like seeing his legend grow and it's cool that we were one of the few teams that beat him."