Let’s get right into the list, but first I wanted to let everyone know the criteria for choosing the plays. I based my decisions off of the skill or luck, or both, the play involved, the circumstances surrounding the play, the impact of the play on the game, and the scale of the game itself. Now for the top 5 Super Plays…
5. Malcolm Butler’s Game-Saving Interception
A brief entry on our list the Seattle Seahawks had the Super Bowl trophy on their fingertips. The ball was on the 1-yard line and there were 26 seconds left in the game. A touchdown here would have resulted in the New England Patriots going down by 3 making it near-impossible for them to march down the field and save their chance at victory. Then one of the most controversial play calls in history happened, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll called for the Seahawks to pass the call instead of run it in with Lynch. Now, though the Patriots defense may have expected this Lynch’s sheer power should’ve been enough to break the plane. Carroll’s gutsy called resulted in the worst possible outcome, Patriots defender Malcolm Butler jumped in front of Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette, making the interception. The Patriots ended up kneeling it out and taking home the trophy yet again.
4. The Philly Special
One of the most unorthodox and boldest trick plays to ever be run in the NFL, let alone the Super Bowl, the Philly special called for a snap to running back Corey Clement, who would they toss it back to Trey Burton, who would pass to quarterback Nick Foles. The play was meant to catch the defense off-guard and either get a first down or get a touchdown, whatever the situation called for. The Eagles decided to run the “Philly Special” on fourth and goal from the Patriots with 38 seconds to go in the first half. The play was executed perfectly and did exactly what it needed to do, stupidly the New England defense. Corey Clement got the snap and lateraled it to Trey Burton. The chain of events disoriented the New England’s defense, allowing Foles to open on the right side of the field caught it and ran it in for the touchdown. This allowed extended their lead to 22-12 with 34 seconds left in the half. The play also set the tone for the Super Bowl, which was a Philadelphia team, stunning the New England Patriots and winning despite being drastic underdogs.
3. Mike Jones’ Goal-line Stop
There isn’t a whole lot to this play and just like it’s name, “The Tackle”, it can be summed up succinctly yet effectively. The clock was winding down as the Tennessee Titans were inside of the St. Louis Rams’ 15-yard line and looking for a touchdown to win close out not only their drive, but also the Super Bowl. The Titans wanted to use their tight end Frank Wycheck as a distraction while Kevin Dyson cuts into the middle of the field. Things went according to their plan, until a heads up Mike Jones’ noticed the pass going to an open Dyson. He quickly ran towards the Titans receiver and wrapped him up by the legs. However, Dyson outstretched his arm, hoping to break the plane, but Jones strength kept Dyson short and he was down the ball inches shy goal-line. This heads up play ended the game and saved the Rams the Super Bowl.
2. Santonio Holmes’ Tiptoe TD
Setting the Scene- After a holding penalty in their own end zone caused a safety, the Steelers gave the ball back to Arizona still leading them with under 3 minutes. However, Arizona fought back and not even 30 seconds later hit Larry Fitzgerald for a fantastic 65 yard pass and TD. The Steelers has allowed their late lead to slip away now down by 3 with about 2 and half minutes left. Then with 1:02 left on the clock Santonio Holmes had a 45 yard catch and run putting the Steelers on Arizona’s 5 yard line.
What happened next is almost indescribable, it was 2nd and 5 with 43 seconds left and the Steelers were looking to bring this home. The snap came and Ben Roethlisberger eyes darted to the right side of the field, where Santonio Holmes was lined up. Then Roethlisberger made one of the riskiest decision in his career, he tossed the ball up to Holmes. He was in the back corner of the end zone and only had inches between him and a Cardinals defender, oh and he was also in triple coverage.
1. The Helmet Catch
Despite it being known I’m a Giants fan I have tried and be an unbiased as possible.
With that being said, I will say out of all my decisions, whether deciding what was the top play of 2018 or who the top prospect for each team was, I don’t think I ever have made a tougher decision, and maybe never will. Santonio Holmes’ catch no doubt is legendary and one the most game-changing considering the other surrounding factors, Tyree’s catch edges it out by the blade of grass between Holmes’ feet and the sideline.
Now, how did David Tyree manage to take the ball out the air and bring it to his helmet. A miracle? An act of God? Pure skill? Call it what you want, but it was undeniably unbelievable.
Setting the Scene- The New York Giants had a rough road to the Super Bowl entering the playoffs as a wild card team. Then, two weeks prior, they barely escaped the frostbite in Green Bay winning by a field goal in overtime. All of had built up to a rematch with the undefeated New England Patriots. The Patriots dodged a bullet in week 17 escaping New York with their perfect season still intact. Tensions and anticipations were running high going into Super Bowl 42 and the teams delivered. They were down by four and had less than 2 minutes left to get a touchdown. They had made it to their own 43 yard line and ran 2 plays. Now their chances were even lower being faced with 3rd and 5, only having a 1:15 left on the clock.
The Play- Though lady luck may have helped Tyree grab the ball it was Tyree’s determination, grit, and strength that allowed him to keep the ball pinned to his helmet. The entire play started with pocket collapsing on Eli Manning. The Patriots defense was coming for him and he managed to escape not one, not two, but three Patriots trying to sack him. Somehow he stayed on his feet and escaped the pressure, now he had time and saw Tyree coming back towards him. He launched the play despite Tyree being surrounded by three Patriots. Manning’s placement was almost spot on. The ball sailed over two of the three Patriots defenders but was a little high and there was still one defender in Tyree. The two of them jumped up for the ball knowing their chances of victory were riding on this play. Tyree got more heigh than Patriot’s defender Rodney Harrison and was somehow able to pin the ball to his helmet. He managed to keep it there and accomplish his miraculous catch despite Harrison clawing at him to dislodge the ball and force an incompletion or interception. Tyree’s catch on a crucial 3rd and 5 not only managed to save the Giants’ drive, but set up their touchdown to Plaxico Burress. That touchdown would boost the Giants and let them defeat the undefeated New England Patriots foreseeing painting a shadow over their season, leaving them 18-1.