The catch was brilliant, but overcoming interference to make the play elevates ODB’s famous catch to the top play of 2014
*Tis the time of year for Top 10 football rundowns, but here at FBF, we aim to delve more profoundly than the typical rankings.
While the dazzling results tend to grab our focus, the underlying factors often set the stage for the extraordinary – the catalysts that paved the way for the grand finale.
We’re unveiling the Top 10 plays from the previous NFL season, placing less emphasis on their ultimate sequence and more on the subtle elements that contributed to their brilliance.
Enjoy the highlights!
Acknowledging that the objective here was to highlight the most extraordinary (rather than the most pivotal) plays of 2014, I must confess it still feels a bit peculiar not to have New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler’s interception somehow in the mix.
If we were evaluating based on importance, Butler’s game-shifting interception in the Super Bowl would dominate the top ten.
There’s simply nothing that comes close. While it may not feature in this countdown, I want to extend the heartiest of acknowledgments, offering a special honorable mention that deserves a category.
While no play in 2014 could rival Butler’s in importance, none could match the sheer spectacle of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s once-in-a-lifetime catch against the Dallas Cowboys.
As I compiled this list, I revisited it countless times, juxtaposing it against numerous water-cooler debates I’ve encountered in favor of other plays.
I simply can’t overlook my limited athletic experiences in comprehending how incredibly demanding this feat is to execute, let alone witness replicated.
The renown of this catch centers on the elastic extension and the three-fingered snatch of the ball.
These are undeniably impressive aspects that rightfully draw attention to the extraordinary catch.
However, what truly elevates this is the battle Beckham waged in that critical moment when he had to ascend and elongate.
The forceful tug on ODB’s jersey by Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (the motion that led to the flagged play you see in the gif below) truly sets this play apart.
To gather and launch into that unprecedented position immediately after being pulled in the opposite direction is where the genuine magic resides.
Beckham achieves one of the most athletic receptions ever witnessed in a sporting event… and he accomplished it under the specific pressure that makes such a catch improbable.
Picture your cherished Michael Jordan dunk from the past, and contemplate what would have happened if he’d been forcefully pulled downward just before that pivotal moment when he leaped.
It wouldn’t have unfolded in the same remarkable fashion. For all the aspiring athletes who’ve attempted to mimic this ODB catch with their YouTube tutorials in recent months, they’re overlooking the most crucial element.
Execute it under the pressure and tug of a top-tier NFL cornerback who’s perfectly positioned until nearly the final instant.
That’s when you’ve genuinely replicated the ODB catch. Until then… it’s just not quite there.
And this is precisely what renders this catch so astonishing.
There’s additional football context to glean from the footage. Still, this play stands out as one of the Top 10 brilliant moments where the brilliance predominantly manifests in the individual’s sheer determination.
As we’ve witnessed, this hasn’t always been the case in our countdown.
Upon viewing the tape, the initial detail that jumps out is how Dallas has packed the box with eight defenders – all clustered within four yards of the ball.
There’s only one safety stationed high in the middle of the field, and cornerback Brandon Carr is in aggressive press coverage.
The Cowboys’ defensive strategy was a display of underestimation of the specific skills of this opponent, a devaluation that won’t likely be repeated from this juncture onward…
The Giants deployed just two receivers in the formation, opting to keep eight men in for protection.
A throwback to NFL offenses from the 1990s, a scheme far less prevalent in today’s game. The defensive setup and pass rush posed no particular challenge.
The coverage was notably straightforward. Eli Manning lofted an impeccable pass.
Despite ODB running a rather ordinary route, which Carr shadowed with ease down the field, he persevered through the interference, reserving his finest effort for the ultimate moment.
For that, the world witnessed a highlight reel gem, solidifying this play as the proud recipient of the “FBF Top Play of 2014” accolade.