Was Odell Beckham Jr.’s Catch the Greatest of All Time? Top Ten Greatest NFL Receptions
Everyone is still riding high from Odell Beckham Jr.’s spectacular catch against the Dallas Cowboys. ESPN, who quite honestly talks about a handful of things ad nauseam, will probably have this highlight on repeat for the next month. But is it the greatest catch of all time? Many will speculate, but can a random play during a Sunday night game in the middle of the season be considered the best of all time? So to take a better look at the debate, uSports decided to list the ten greatest catches of all time to see where Beckham’s reception would rank.
Victor Cruz’s 99-yard Catch and Run
An honorable mention that most people forget, Victor Cruz’s catch against the New York Jets in 2011 is wrongfully underplayed. The game was a must win to keep playoff hopes alive, it tied the record for the longest touchdown of all time and Cruz’s ankle-breaking move on Antonio Cromartie should at least elevate this to a honorable mention.
10) ‘Sea of Hands’ Catch
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This 1974 play is more memorable for the overall game than the catch, with the Oakland Raiders defeating the powerhouse Miami Dolphins to advance to the Conference Championship. However, the overall throw and catch is still spectacular to watch. QB Ken Stabler was hit while throwing — he released the ball right before his knee hit the ground — and somehow in between a ‘Sea of Hands’ RB Clarence Davis came up with the ball.
9) Randy Moss’ One Handed Grab
There are dozens of Randy Moss catches that could be on this list, but the Randy Moss one handed grab against the New York Jets is memorable for one reason: Moss did it over Darrelle Revis — arguably one of the greatest corners of the last decade. Further add how he makes an over the shoulder one handed grab at full speed look easy and you have the number nine catch on this list.
8) Steve Young to T.O., 1998 Wild Card Playoff Game
Before Terrell Owens cried, worked out for the media and created elaborate touchdown celebrations, he made some truly amazing grabs. One in particular happened in the 1998 Wild Card Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers. With eight seconds left and the 49ers down 27-23, Steve Young dropped back and fired a bullet into the end zone. Miraculously, Terrell Owens made a leaping catch, despite there being at least four yellow jerseys in the vicinity.
7) ‘The Catch’
A play that NFL films described as “ the end of one dynasty and the birth of another,” Joe Montana to Dwight Clark is so famous that all you have to say is ‘The Catch’ and people know exactly what you are talking about. For a person who is removed from the time, I tend to believe this catch in the NFC Championship Game between the Cowboys and the 49ers is overrated. But at the same time, I understand its importance and appreciate the late game heroics of Joe Montana.
6) Lynn Swann’s Leap, Super Bowl X
Simply a great play in the NFL’s biggest game, Swan’s grab during Super Bowl X will go down in history as one of the most acrobatic catches ever. With the Steelers backed up in their end zone, QB Terry Bradshaw threw up a pass to Lynn Swann, which he proceeded to tip to himself and catch over Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Mark Washington.
5) Immaculate Reception
The Immaculate Reception will go down as one of the greatest catches not because of skill but blind luck. Not to mention, NFL Films called it the greatest play in NFL history. The play had Terry Bradshaw in a last act of desperation throw to John Fuqua. But a collision between Fuqua and Raiders safety Jack Tatum caused the football to go flying back into the hands of Steelers fullback Franco Harris, allowing him to run for a touchdown.
4) Antonio Freeman’s Overtime Heroics
The famous overtime catch by Antonio Freeman is without question in the top five greatest receptions of all time. The Monday Night Football game, which was between division rivals Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, went into overtime at 20-20. During the now famous play, the downed Freeman used great balance and awareness to realize the ball bounced off his shoulder and never touched the ground. Even better, he was able to get up and run fifteen yards for the game-winning touchdown.
3) Odell Beckham Jr.’s Acrobatic Touchdown
So finally we get to the Odell Beckham Jr. catch in question and obviously, in my opinion, it is not the greatest catch in the history of the NFL. But from a pure athletic perspective, it certainly needs to be in the top five argument. However, even though Odell wowed crowds with a near impossible grab, other factors will affect how people remember this. Specifically, how it happened during a regular season game that the Giants ultimately lost.
2) Santonio Holmes’ Game-Winning Reception, Super Bowl XLIII
A receiver who has now become an afterthought, Santonio Holmes made one of the greatest receptions in Super Bowl and NFL history. With 43 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers were down a field goal on the Cardinals’ 12-yard line. The play, which should be remembered for Ben Roethlisberger’s throw as much as the catch, had Santonio Holmes make a diving catch out of the end zone. The most miraculous aspect is how he was able to get both feet in bounds and still control the ball as he was tackled.
1) David Tyree’s Helmet Catch, Super Bowl XLII
As many could have guessed, the David Tyree helmet catch is, in my opinion, the greatest reception of all time. There is simply no bigger platform than the Super Bowl for an astonishing play like this. With the undefeated New England Patriots on the verge of winning Super Bowl XLII, Eli Manning was able to elude a sack to heave the ball downfield. Tyree, who had safety Rodney Harrison draped all over him, secured the ball by pinning the football against his helmet. Afterwards, the drive was eventually capped off with a Plaxico Burress touchdown, squashing New England’s attempts at an undefeated season. While many can make the argument for Santonio Holmes’ touchdown scoring catch, in my eyes nothing beats this improbable end to a Cinderella Giants season.
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