Best play/fluke in the NFL.

After reading through some of the worst plays, I thought why not see what people think about the best play(s) they have seen. So, how about it?

I can’t really remember many indiviual plays, and I have not seen games dating back more than about 6 years.

The most recent one I can think of is the catch Antonio Freeman made for the Packers against the Vikings. It was on Monday night football at the beginning of Nov (6th, I think). Both he and the DB were going for the ball and both fell over. The ball bounced of the back of Freeman, then onto his shoulder and he turned on the floor to catch the ball before it hit the ground. Then he got up and ran it in for a score.

What do the rest of you think?


RickQ, we here in MN don’t remember vital(friggin lucky) plays that help the Cheeseheads win a game, so I don’t know to what catch you refer to.
But I do remember the “Emmaculate Reception” by Franco Harris of the Steelers against the Raiders in an AFC Championship game. Scenario; close game, waning seconds, Terry Bradshaw throws the ball downfield, Raider defensive back and Steeler receiver go for the ball, it’s batted back at least 15 yards and just before it hits the ground, Harris catches it and runs 40-50 yards for the touchdown. The controversy was whether or not the Steeler receiver touched the ball or not, the refs ruled not. That win took the Steelers to thier first Super Bowl and the rest is history.
That game also sparked a rule change, of which it became legal for two offensive players to consecutively touch a forward pass.

The best play I remember seeing was a running play by the best running back, IMHO, to play the game. It was a game between the Lions and the Patriots. Barry Sanders ran 68 years for the touchdown. During the run, he made a DB fall down without touching him, with a step to the right, then back to the left. The DB tried to do a 360 to get to him, but fell over instead. I’d never seen anyone make someone miss an open field tackle like that, and probably never will.

Imthjkaz: Right play, wrong history.

The “Immaculate Reception” game was a divisional playoff (i.e., first-round game), not an AFC Championship. The Steelers went on to play the next week–and lose to–the Dolphins, who went on to the Super Bowl and their legendary undefeated season. The Steelers didn’t reach the Super Bowl for two more years.

That game is burned into my brain. I’m a longtime Raider fan.

Greatest pure fluke play has to be, as ImthJkaz posted, the “Immaculate Reception.”

Greatest improvised, semi-fluke play: “Sea of Hands.” 1974 divisional playoff, Dolphins at Raiders, Miami trying for its third consecutive championship. After a seesaw game that’s one of the greatest ever played, Kenny Stabler and the Raiders worked their way down the field in the closing minute. Inside the Miami ten with no timeouts left and less than thirty seconds remaining, Miami pressures Stabler out of the pocket. As Vern DenHerder (IIRC) is taking Stabler to the ground, Stabler lobs a pass to RB Clarence Davis, who’s surrounded by three defenders. The crowd wrestles for the ball and Davis–the smallest guy of the four–comes out with it. The extra point makes a 28-26 lead. Oakland kicked off and intercepted Bob Griese to preserve the win. (Raiders lost the next week to Pittsburgh.)

Greatest designed play: Miami’s “Hook-and-Lateral.”
1981 or '82 divisional playoff game, Chargers and Dolphins. Very late in the first half the Dolphins, struggling and deep in their own territory, the Dolphins have two WRs go down the same sideline. A pass goes to one WR and the Charger DBs home in on him, but as they do he flips the ball to the other WR who’s in full stride and unguarded. The Dolphins score and get back into the game. The game ultimately goes into double-overtime, where the Chargers finally win it. The Hook-and-Lateral is almost forgotten after the scene of exhausted Charger Kellen Winslow being helped off the field by two teammates.

Greatest blatant ripoff play: Oakland’s “Holy Roller.”
Regular-season meeting between Oakland and San Diego, early Eighties. With the Raiders trailing with time running out, Kenny Stabler goes back to pass. No one’s open and he’s sacked. But as he’s going down, he “accidentally” fumbles the ball in the direction of RB Pete Banaszak. Banaszak is tackled far short of the goal line, so he “accidentally” fumbles it forward to TE Dave Casper, who bumbles, bobbles, and generally kicks the ball along until he reaches the end zone, where he drops the stooge act and falls upon the ball for the winning score. The play nearly kills San Diego’s KGB chicken and prompts new league rules on who can recover fumbles in the last two minutes of each half.

Lest we all have such short memories.

What about the Music City Miracle in last year’s playoffs. I am not sure of the score details, but the Titans were losing by less then 6 with the Bills having just taken the lead. The Bills kickoff to the Titans for the last play of the game. The ball is squibbed to Frank Wycheck in the middle of the field, who throws a lateral - unless you are Bills fan, in which case it was an illegal forward pass - to Kevin Dyson. Dyson escorted by several teammates and not a Bills player in sight, takes it down the left side of the field for the winning touchdown. The Titans go to the Super Bowl. The Bills have not yet recovered.

Speaking of short memories, anyone catch the Ravens/Broncos game the other day? Great fluke play there. Dilfer, the Ravens QB tosses a quick out to the wide reciever, but the ball floats up on him. The wide receiver tips it, and it looks like it’s going to be an interception by the cornerback. But that guy can’t handle the ball, either, and it squirts out right into the face of the Ravens TE, Shannon Sharpe, who grabs it and rambles sixty-some-odd yards into the end zone.

Let’s not forget the college football fluke in the California-Stanford(?) football game awhile back. California losing with seconds left, Stanford kicks off, and after a halfdozen laterals, the Cal runner runs through the band who had come onto the field and scores the game winning touchdown…That was plain weird

Super Bowl…uh, 22? Anyway, Redskins-Broncos. Broncos go ahead 10-0, and kick off to the 'Skins, who fumble - clearly with about zero chance of recovering, as the ball disappears into the pile. Already we Redskins faithful are thinking, 17-0, no way to come back from this.

But somehow, out of the pile comes Redskins sub/special teams player Alvoid Mays, with the football.

The Redskins take advantage of this opportunity to regroup, and by the half, the 'Skins are up, 35-10, thanks to a passel of Doug Williams TD passes. But it’s hard to believe it would’ve happened that way without Alvoid Mays.

Three years ago, AFC cahmpionship. Jets were up 10-7 after Broncos scored their first TD in the game in the third Q. The ensuing kickoff landed twenty yards short in front of the Jets’ middle coverage (and the kicker was trying to kick it deep), rolled backward, and the Broncos recovered it. They scored another TD, and the Jets and fans like me never recovered.

Best improvised play. There was that game in Dallas in which Emmitt Smith caught a quick lateral from Aikman. Two defenders were on each side and three yards in front. He took a step back and ran right between them untouched as if they were swaying trees, and ran for a TD.

About the “Holy Roller” I believe there is now a rule in the books that prohibits a player from advancing a fumble on fourth down to prevent things like this from happening. I remember seeing the rule being put into effect earlier this year, can’t remember which game though.

Music City Miracle: Actually Lorenzo Neal is the one that recovered the kick and he handed it off to Wycheck, I also believe that the guy that was supposed to be the one to get the lateral was Derrick Mason, but he was hurt, so Kevin Dyson (who hadn’t practiced the play at all) was the one to get picked to take the lateral.

A good play: I think Nebraska ran a “fumblerooski” back some years ago. Dean Steinkuhler was the guard that scored. I think it was early 80’s.

Great pick! In California (and possibly other Pac-Ten states) it’s still known simply as “The Play.”

A few months after that game, I saw a tee-shirt for sale that diagrammed that whole play as if on a blackboard, replete with squares and O’s for the players and triangles for the band members (IIRC) and arrows for the path of the ball. Needless to say, it was a comically busy shirt–looked like spaghetti. I kick myself for not having bought a few of them.