Culture of Hoops

Timing is Everything: The Greatest Grab in NFL History Results in a Loss


Even if you didn’t get a chance to watch the Dallas Cowboys defeat the New York Giants, you’ve likely seen “the grab” (TM John Anderson). To set the stage just a bit,  Odell Beckham Jr., a rookie wide receiver, made a three-fingered grab of a football behind his head as he was fouled to score a touchdown. At the time, the touchdown increased the first-half lead the Giants had on the Cowboys, but the effort was all for naught as the Cowboys won the game.

I’ve seen the catch on numerous highlight reels, even on stations that usually don’t talk about the NFL, but the feet was too great not to be marveled at. It is in the conversation for the “play of the year” in any sport. If all this sounds like I’m rambling, I implore you to watch it again and think about how impossible all aspects of this play are.

Inevitably the conversation surrounding “the grab” begins or ends with a note about how the Giants lost. “Check out this amazing catch from the Giants loss.” “It’s hard to believe after that grab the Giants couldn’t hold on to the win.” The outcome of the game has somehow tainted a truly remarkable feat of athleticism. It dawned on me, that we the media and the fans judge players and plays more by the outcome than by the steps involved in getting there. Another way to put that is that it’s not about what you do, but when you do it!

A prime example of that is Tony Romo. Romo has often received criticism for falling apart in big games, or the fourth quarter. Having watched many of those games, Romo often was in a position where the issue had to be forced. The defense for the Dallas Cowboys has been so bad for so long, that I’m not sure Tony doesn’t feel the need to push the ball even when the team is winning. Statistically, Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in league history. Specifically when it comes to little things like yards, touchdowns, and passer rating. On the flip side is a guy like Eli Manning or Joe Flacco. Neither quarterback has numbers that should even be mentioned in the same article as Tony Romo’s, except to point out how different they are. And yet both quarterbacks have more wins, have won the Super Bowl, and have contracts that were similar or surpassed Tony’s. Based on all other factors neither QB should have received the contracts they did, but wins are a stat that seems to be the most critical when it comes to the heft of a contract.

I won’t point out that the individual player has no control over how good the players around him on both sides of the ball are. I won’t point out that doing more with less makes you better than the guy that does less with more. I won’t point out that the quality of a team isn’t entirely based on their record at the end of the year. I will point out that win, lose, or tie, I watch the sport to enjoy the show. A great play is a great play whether it’s the first or last of the game. A great play is a great play if the team making it is up 48 points or down one score. Players of all sports, it doesn’t matter when you make a play, so long as you make it.

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