The Mile High Miracle isn’t the best, most creative moniker in the world. But it is one of the 100 greatest plays in NFL history.
At least, according to just about everyone besides the NFL.
The NFL Network released their top 100 plays in league history over the course of the last two weeks, and several worthy plays made the list. The Immaculate Reception, The Catch, The Helmet Catch, and many others made appearances. There were plenty of Hail Mary’s too.
And yet, the defining play from one of the great playoff runs this century, in the final minute of perhaps the single best game of the decade, didn’t make the cut.
Do you know what did make the list? A fumble recovery returned for a touchdown from the Patriots against the Jets.
What’s that? Doesn’t ring a bell? That’s because most fans know it by a different name: The Butt Fumble.
That’s right. A moment only famous for how many ways Twitter was able to make fun of it made the list of the literal 100 greatest plays in NFL history. It was a gaffe, not a great play, and the NFL chose to raise it up in lieu of Joe Flacco-to-Jacoby Jones, staring elimination in the face, with 30 seconds left, on the road, in freezing weather, in front of one of the most raucous fanbases in the league.
It wasn’t just Ravens fans who were upset on Twitter. Plenty of fans of other teams, including rivals like the Steelers, couldn’t believe the snub. It quickly became the biggest talking point online, once it became obvious the Mile High Miracle wasn’t going to come up eventually.
Now, it makes sense why some Ravens plays were left off. Ray Rice’s legendary conversion of 4th-and-29 off a dump-off pass in San Diego, otherwise known as “Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle” would likely have just brought more anger than anything else, give his given his exile from the league in the wake of his domestic violence case.
And many of the Ravens’ all-time greatest players played less glamorous positions. You won’t see many Jonathan Ogden pancake blocks or Ray Lewis form tackles on typical highlight reels.
One Ravens play actually did make the list, with Ed Reed’s record-setting 108-yard interception return for a touchdown showing up in the back half of the Top 100.
But Reed’s return, as amazing as it was, isn’t the greatest, most iconic moment in franchise history. It’s not the moment fans still talk about, remembering where they were when it happened, in the same way my parents remember where they were when we first walked on the moon.
The Prayer In Thin Air (a much better nickname for the moment) is a top-30 play in NFL history, at minimum. Leaving it off a Top 100 list is indefensible enough in a vacuum, but when you see the types of jokes they included? It quickly becomes easy to throw out the list altogether.
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