The sound that followed the sight of Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch wasn’t a deafening roar but a confused murmur. The MetLife Stadium live crowd didn’t believe their own eyes.
“That may be the greatest catch I’ve ever seen in my life,” Sunday Night Football color commentator Cris Collinsworth, himself an excellent receiver, observed. “It’s in the conversation,” deadpanned Al Michaels.
It’s not just that Brandon Carr flagrantly grabbed the Giants’s first-round pick’s jersey or that Beckham one-handed the ball. The rookie out of LSU awkwardly snatched the prolate spheroid from its trajectory with his inside hand while his shoulder contorted and his backward-moving body almost assumed a high-jumper’s position above an invisible bar. Even as his legs, shoulders, and back put him in position to possibly touch the ball, Beckham used several outstretched fingers to ultimately reel in the big catch.
The second-quarter touchdown catch from Eli Manning, who attended the same high school as Beckham, put the New York Giants ahead of the Dallas Cowboys 14-3 with the P.A.T. The Cowboys came back and won the NFC East contest 31-28. But it’s the grab, not the game, that will continue to grab the interest of fans a month, a year, and a decade from now.
The veteran play-by-play man Michaels, with “Do you believe in miracles?” already taken, uttered “unbelievable,” “play of the year, maybe of the decade,” and “That’s just impossible” in the moments after the stunning sight.
Jerry Rice couldn’t make that catch. Lynn Swann never made that catch. Odell Beckham Jr. did make that catch.