What is it about New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning? The two-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player seemingly cannot help but consistently be on one end of some of the greatest catches to ever happen during National Football League games. One occurred on the biggest stage of all of North American professional sports. The other took place during a Sunday Night Football game that the Giants lost.
Rating the greatest catches in the history of the NFL is no easy task. Highlight reel grabs occur every weekend of every season, after all, and picking just 15 from the thousands upon thousands of worthy candidates is all a matter of opinion. When the catch occurred during the game, how it impacted the outcome of the contest, if it did at all, and the degree of difficulty regarding the athleticism required to make the catch all impact where the plays fall in this list.
It is worth noting that not all of the grabs highlighted in this piece are tremendous athletic feats that were positive offensive plays. Some were downright flukey plays, moments more about luck than about individual skill. Take the most famous play in the career of the younger Manning brother. He could not have guessed, after escaping the pass rush of the New England Patriots in impressive fashion, that he was about to make history when he tossed what was essentially a prayer down the field.
A wide variety of players have produced spectacular catches in NFL games over the decades. Some are all-time greats who are either in the Hall of Fame already or will be at some point in the future. Others, however, either made a name off of one or more spectacular grabs or have not yet proven themselves in pro football. Take the guy who is atop this list as an example. He hasn't played in the NFL for two months as of this time, but he has already made our jaws drop to the floor with a catch for the ages.
15 Victor Cruz vs. Seattle Seahawks
14 Jason Avant Makes One-handed Catch
13 Randy Moss Beats Darrelle Revis
The wide receiver who will be enshrined in Canton soon enough is one of the only players at the position who wouldn't mind spending Christmas on Revis Island. Moss, while playing for the New England Patriots when Revis was with the Jets, sped past the best cornerback in the NFL and toward the end zone. The pass from Tom Brady was a touch overthrown, but that did not prevent Moss from using only his right hand to bring in the ball for a touchdown that was made to look as common as a one-yard run across the goal line.
12 Tony Moeaki vs. San Francisco 49ers
11 Dwayne Bowe vs. Indianapolis Colts
10 Calvin Johnson vs. Dallas Cowboys
9 Immaculate Reception
8 Lynn Swann at Super Bowl X
7 Brandon Lloyd Against the Seahawks
6 The Catch
5 Oronde Gadsden vs. Raiders
4 Freeman Fluke
3 Santonio Holmes Wins Super Bowl
2 David Tyree's Helmet Catch
1 Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Dallas Cowboys
Beckham didn't just contort his body when going up for an Eli Manning pass. He didn't just do well to hold off a defensive player flagged for pass interference. He didn't just reel the ball in with one hand -- three fingers to be exact -- and then hold onto it as he fell back-first to the ground. He didn't just make sure to remain in play en route to scoring a touchdown. Beckham achieved all of that. It is, simply put, the greatest catch in NFL history. Rookies aren't supposed to be this good, but it seems that nobody told that to Mr. Beckham.
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