There are some moments in sports that transcend time. Many of us remember where we were when Michael Jordan hit a late-game jump shot over the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The tale of Babe Ruth calling his shot is still frequently referenced nearly nine decades later. There are multiple plays in the history of the NFL that will live on long after the players who were a part of them have hung up their cleats and moved on. Here’s a look at some of the top plays in the 100-year history of the NFL.
It’s possible that you weren’t even alive when Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark on a pass into the back of the endzone. That play in the 1981 NFC Championship Game sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Just two weeks later, the 49ers would go on to win their first of five Super Bowls. With legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully on the call, fans heard “looking, looking, throwing in the end zone…” just before Clark came down with the ball. The legend of Joe Montana was born.
The Philly Special
This game was written off as another win for the Patriots before the coin toss ever happened. Not only were the Eagles an underdog, but they were coming into the game with backup QB Nick Foles starting, as Carson Wentz was sidelined by an injury. Not only was Foles trying to find a way to replace Wentz, but he also had to go against the winningest QB in Super Bowl history as Tom Brady led the Patriots back to the Big Game. On a trick play called the “Philly Special,” former Florida Gators TE Trey Burton took a pitch in the backfield before throwing it back across his body and hitting Foles for a TD reception. The Eagles would go on to win their first-ever Lombardi Trophy.
The Immaculate Reception
Still, a source of controversy after all these years, December 23, 1972, saw the number one play on our list. Steelers QB, Terry Bradshaw managed to avoid a heavy pass rush, fired off a pass which was tipped in the air. Somehow before the ball hit the ground, Franco Harris, Steelers running back, swooped in and caught the ball inches from the ground. Harris took the ball the distance, beat the Raiders 13-7, and launched a Steelers dynasty that would dominate the 1970’s.