When Jeremy Shockey was carted off the field with a broken leg, many fans figured that any chances the Giants had of competing in 2007 went with him. But Kevin Boss, an unproven fifth rounder from Western Oregon, stepped in and immediately did…well, not much. But with a touchdown in each of the last two games of the regular season, Boss showed glimpses of a player who could replace a pro bowl tight end without much drop off. It wasn’t until Super Bowl 42 that Boss made what will almost certainly go down as the play of his career. Late in the third quarter, Boss caught a 19-yard pass from Eli Manning, eluded Rodney Harrison, and rumbled for a momentum swinging 45-yard reception. It was the play of the game, until some other stuff happened.
Boss never truly reached his potential as a Giant due to constant concerns with injuries and concussions. Despite putting up solid numbers throughout his Giants career, Boss had the talent to do so much more. Unfortunately, he suffered a potentially serious injury seemingly every few games, and was often unable able to put his considerable talents to use. But even with his health in question, Boss always played through the pain, logging 15 games a year in all three of his seasons as a starter.
Boss' biggest problem was also one of his greatest assets: his fearlessness. He had a knack for making tough catches over the middle, and he almost always paid dearly for it. I've never seen a player suffer more hits to the helmet than Boss, and the referees only seemed to throw a flag a fraction of the time. But almost always, Boss held on to the ball, even when his brain was bouncing around inside his skull (Too graphic? Deal with it. Kevin Boss did).
As a starter, Boss did a solid job replacing Shockey, averaging 37 receptions, 494 yards and 5 touchdowns per year. While these numbers are merely adequate, it should be pointed out that Kevin Gilbride’s system did not utilize the tight end to his fullest ability, and he would have easily topped those numbers had he played in the Giants’ 2011 pass-heavy offense. Boss has since left via free agency, and has experienced more injury issues with the Oakland Raiders. But despite never quite reaching his upside (at least not yet), Boss’ one Super Bowl-changing reception was more than enough payoff for a fifth round pick from a small school best known for its injured softball player.