Patriots

The NFL's Greatest Play? Here's 20 of them from Tom E. Curran

The NFL's Greatest Play? Here's 20 of them from Tom E. Curran

I didn’t include the final play from the Greatest Game Ever Played Or Bart Starr capping the iconic Ice Bowl with a quarterback sneak. I didn’t include the Butt Fumble, the Miami Miracle, the River City Relay or Billy Sims’ karate kick run.

As iconic, outlandish, memorable or indelible as those plays are, they just didn’t make the cut. Your results may vary.

With the NFL entering its 100th season, the league partnered with the Associated Press and asked a panel of 50 voters (the same panel that votes for the NFL Awards and the All-Pro team) to make their selections on a series of polls. The first one was Greatest Play. We were provided with a list of 100 plays and charged with whittling those down to 50.

We’ll also vote on Greatest Teams, Greatest Games, Game Changers and Greatest Characters.

Since any list like this is going to be subjective based on the voter’s definition of “great”, no two lists will be identical. I’d be surprised if many of us even agreed on the top five. It was left up to us. And, knowing how much people will care about this ranking when it’s unveiled, it was both daunting and an honor.

When I made my selections, I gave the most weight to the importance of the game and when the play occurred in said game. So I’m Super Bowl-heavy at the top.

Next, I weighed the play for improbability/degree of difficulty. Call it the “Fall Off The Couch” quotient.

I gave added importance to the plays that “launched” something. Say, a dynasty. Like The Catch, Adam Vinatieri’s kick through a blizzard to tie the Snow Bowl and the Immaculate Reception.

After that, I was going by feel. The most incredible plays (Odell Beckham’s catch), the most stunning plays (Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary against the Lions) and plays that summed up the essence of some of the game’s legendary players (Jim Brown’s 5-yard gain where it took most of the Cowboys defense to bring him down, Gale Sayers’ 85-yard punt return for a touchdown, Jerry Rice’s one-handed catch against the Rams, Barry Sanders undressing the Cowboys).

The omissions are what drove me crazy. Some were easy to excise. Garo Yepremian’s gaffe in Super Bowl VII. Jim Marshall’s wrong-way jaunt for the Vikings in 1964. Refrigerator Perry bulldozing in from the 1 in Super Bowl XX. The Butt Fumble. We remember them but they weren’t “great.”

But Derrick Henry’s 99-yard touchdown run? De’Andre Hopkins tipping the ball to himself for a toe-tap touchdown? John Mackey and Mike Ditka bulldozing humans like they were toys? Steve Gleason’s blocked punt for the Saints in the first game in the Superdome post-Katrina? A case could be made for any of those – and some others – bopping off Leon Lett getting tracked down by Don Beebe at the end of a Super Bowl blowout, for instance, which I had at 32.

The Patriots were involved in 11 of the 100 plays on the list. Malcolm Butler’s pick, Julian Edelman’s catch, Vinatieri’s Snow Bowl kick, Randy Moss’ one-handed catch over Darrelle Revis, the Butt Fumble and Ben Watson’s chase-down of Champ Bailey were all there. So were the Helmet Catch, Miami Miracle, Philly Special, Mario Manningham’s catch in Super Bowl 46 and Barry Sanders spinning Maurice Hurst like a top.

One oversight, in my opinion, was failing to include Tom Brady to Randy Moss in the 2007 season finale that clinched the 16-0 season and set the touchdown pass and touchdown reception record. Another would be Vinatieri’s game-winner in Super Bowl 36 but kicks – made and missed – were virtually absent except for the Snow Bowl.

But there won’t be a fanbase in the league that isn’t left wondering, “Hey, what about (fill in the play)!?” That’s bound to happen when you take 100 years worth of football and try to catalog the best of the best ever.   

Here’s my Top 20 (click to watch each play): 

1. Malcolm Butler’s interception in SB49

2. Santonio Holmes game-winning catch in SB43

3. Rams WR Kevin Dyson tackled at the 1 on the last play of SB34

4. The Immaculate Reception

5. Snow Bowl Kick

6. The Catch

7. James Harrison’s Immaculate Interception in SB43

8. Joe Montana to John Taylor in SB23

9. Helmet Catch

10. Edelman’s Catch in SB51

11. Minneapolis Miracle in 2018

12. Sea of Hands

13. Music City Miracle

14. The Original Hail Mary

15. Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary vs. Cardinals

16. Lynn Swann’s tip catch in SB10

17. Elway to Mark Jackson to complete The Drive

18. OBJ’s one-handed catch

19. Tony Nathan’s Hook and Lateral

20. Philly Special

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

 

Behind the scenes of the Patriots' virtual 2020 NFL Draft

Behind the scenes of the Patriots' virtual 2020 NFL Draft

The 2020 NFL Draft was a unique one for the New England Patriots, along with the rest of the league.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the draft was held virtually and brought along an entirely new set of challenges for organizations. Fortunately, the draft went on without a hitch and was a major success.

Friday, the Patriots released a behind-the-scenes video of their virtual draft that is a fascinating watch for fans.

Watch below:


Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

We could have used more of Bill Belichick's dog Nike, who was the star of the draft, but it's still a cool video nonetheless. It just goes to show how much work is put in behind the scenes, and how great of a job each NFL organization did to make it as smooth as possible.

Report: Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez talking to Robert Kraft about buying Mets

Report: Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez talking to Robert Kraft about buying Mets

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez appear to be making another run at purchasing the New York Mets.

According to Thornton McEnery of The New York Post, A-Rod and J-Lo are working with senior bankers at JPMorgan Chase to buy the storied baseball franchise from the Wilpon family. McEnery notes the celebrity couple is willing to part with "hundreds of millions" of their own money to make it happen. They also may get some assistance from the Kraft family.

"Two clients whom Rodriguez and Lopez have apparently been speaking to are Patriots owners Bob and Jonathan Kraft," McEnery writes. "Sources tell The Post that the Krafts are not interested in buying a baseball team but are very intrigued by J-Rod’s plans for the Mets and Citi Field."

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Those plans include redeveloping the area around Citi Field and turning it into an entertainment venue similar to what the Krafts have done with Patriot Place outside Gillette Stadium.

Although Rodriguez and Lopez's previous bid to buy the Mets with billionaire Wayne Rothbaum didn't work out, the couple appears set on getting a deal done. The Wilpons reportedly now are willing to sell part of SNY, the Mets' television network, which they weren't willing to part ways with during the first negotiations.

With help from the Krafts or other billionaire investors, A-Rod and J-Lo could make a serious bid to take over a franchise that the Wilpon family has invested in since 1980.