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12/28/2007 12:14:00 PM

Most Amazing Plays of 2007

Antonio Cromartie
Antonio Cromartie set an NFL record with his 109-yard TD return against the Vikings in Week 9.
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

We watch sports because we're never sure what will happen next. Usually, what ends up happening is what we feared would happen, some boring play. But sometimes, every once in a while, something happens that blows our minds. Here's my most amazing sports plays of 2007. (Honorable mention to most of Adrian Peterson's runs and Boise State's Statue of Liberty play.) I'm sure I missed a few more, but you can chime in later.

5. Lionel Messi's brilliant run: The Argentine blur who plays for Barcelona beats five different defenders on the dribble, then jukes the goalkeeper for good measure. Incidentally, this is the run that has drawn a lot of comparisons to Maradona (see here).

4. LeBron James vs. Detroit: I wanted to pick singular plays, but LeBron turned in about four amazing moves down the stretch in this game. My favorite move is the one around the 1:20 mark, where 'Bron crosses over behind his legs, shakes off Chauncey Billups and nails the jumper.

3. Antonio Cromartie's 109-yd field goal return for a touchdown: What's amazing to me is how easy he makes this look. He doesn't appear to be running full speed, but he just trots past everyone and into the end zone.

2. J.D. Drew's ALCS Grand Slam: Hey, I'm a Braves fan, so I've taken a ride on the J.D. Drew Experience. Just when you think he's out, he pulls you back in.

1. Trinity's 15-Lateral Touchdown: True story: I saw this play after it happened on all the highlight shows and then the morning news shows, then realized the announcer calling the play was Jon Wiener, one of our interns at SLAM all summer. Hopefully Jon will hire me when he's calling Monday Night Football 20 years from now.

What was the most amazing play you saw in 2007? Let us know below…

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
posted by SI.com | View comments |


Posted: December 28, 2007 1:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It's not from this sports season but was from January 2007, the NFL Playoffs.

Sheldon Brown's hit on Reggie Bush was a thing of beauty. No score, just a quick hit, but that should be replayed for years to come.
Posted: December 28, 2007 3:07 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
LSU's game winning pass against Auburn, leaving them with no time, when a field goal would have done it.

The trajectory of the pass made it seem as if it would need to pass through the defender to be caught.
Posted: December 28, 2007 3:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Romo's 37 yard scramble (4 yard net gain) against St. Louis.

Snap goes over his head, he kicks it another 5 yards and then still makes defenders miss him while he gains enough for the 1st down. Brilliant!

Marion Barber's 2 yard scramble to avoid a safety against the Pats was pretty sweet too. He went from one end of the end zone to the other to avoid the safety.
Posted: December 28, 2007 3:55 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
This list is a joke right? I'd have started with 2 of the plays from the Fiesta Bowl (and another one would have come in 6th).
Add Cromartie's one-handed grab vs Colts on SNF and possibly the double - boink GW FG by Phil Dawson vs. Baltimore.

Also Baron Davis slamming on Kirilenko amazed a packed house in Oakland during the playoffs.
Posted: December 28, 2007 5:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I agree with Lebron's "This will be my league for the next decade" game" - but you have to go with his vicious dunk with under a minute left to give the Cavs the lead. To absolutely DESTROY the Pistons on a play like that by himself I think will be the "play" that is remembered looking back as the point where he started to become one of the greatest ever.
Posted: December 28, 2007 8:51 PM   by Anonymous Wizard of Was
Agree with Anon@3:53...the 4th and long play in regulation (hook and lateral) that went for the tying TD. And the statue of liberty play in OT for the 2 point conversion and the win. Both top fivers for sure.
Posted: December 28, 2007 10:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Michael Bramos pulling down the rebound on a missed free throw and passing it to Doug Penno who hit a fade-away and game-winning bank 3 to beat Akron that sent Miami (Ohio) to the NCAA Tournament.

Truly captured the spirit of the NCAA Tournament
Posted: December 29, 2007 1:55 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Boise State plays had it all... game on the line, back against the wall, underdogs, perfect season. There's no beating the hook and ladder for 52 yards on 4th and 18 and basically two plays left.
Posted: December 29, 2007 10:13 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Yeah, gotta go fiesta bowl. That was arguably the best game ever played in any sport.

My list:

1. Hook and Ladder from Fiesta Bowl

2. Trinity lateral play

3. Barry Bonds 756 HR (still exciting despite steroids)

4. Statue of Liberty from Fiesta Bowl.

5. Matt Holliday's slide vs. San Diego
Posted: December 29, 2007 11:37 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
No Contest.

The Trinity/Millsaps play tops the Cal/Stanford play, which many consider the greatest. Division 3 rocks!
Posted: December 29, 2007 1:03 PM   by Anonymous guybloggingfromwork
How about Brady to Moss to Fumble to Brady to Gaffney for 70+ yard TD??? The only way I can accept that this was overlooked because the play merely blended in with the array of amazing plays the Pats make look easy and, simply put, seemed like nothing different than what they have been doing all season long.
Posted: December 29, 2007 1:21 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Trinity lateral, TU baby!
Go Tigers!!!!!!!
Posted: December 29, 2007 3:16 PM   by Anonymous WAC'ed Out
1.) Fiesta Bowl 2007: BSU down down 35 to 28 against Oklahoma, 4th and 18 with only seconds left. Zabransky completes a pass over the middle, which is seamlessly lateralled before the tackle, ball is ran 32 yards into the end zonefor a TD and forces OT.

2.) Fiesta Bowl 2007. After scoring a TD (on a halfback pass) in OT to bring the score to 41-42, first year BSU coach Chris Peterson continues the ballsiest play-calling in NCAA history. Zabransky fakes a pass to the end zone in a classic Statue of Liberty and Ian Johnson runs it in for 2 points and the victory.
Posted: December 29, 2007 5:39 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
1. Trinity
2. LeBron
3. Messi

The other 2 don't belong
Posted: December 29, 2007 7:34 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Messi's run should be first. No american athlete could ever create a breathtaking play like that.
Posted: December 29, 2007 10:42 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
how bout a blocked fg top clinch the biggest upset in college football history... or boise states trickery vs oklahoma
Posted: December 29, 2007 11:10 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Nick Punto had a couple of AMAZING plays this year, but the only reason they're not on the list is because the Twins are a small market team. If Derek Jeter would have made some of the plays he did(like when Punto threw the ball to first while he was pretty much upside-down) they would be aired nonstop and would be on many lists as the top plays of the year
Posted: December 29, 2007 11:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Not really an actual play, but France's amazing comeback in the 2nd half of the rugby world cup quarter finals to beat the cup favorites: the All Blacks.
Posted: December 30, 2007 12:11 AM   by Anonymous d.m.
Phil Dawson's 49 yeard field goal in a blizzard in Cleveland. I was there and I still can't believe they even tried it.
Posted: December 30, 2007 1:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How can you not include one of the biggest plays in the history of sports, Appalachian State's blocked field goal to beat Michigan?
Posted: December 30, 2007 1:11 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How is Appalachian State's blocked field goal to be Michigan not on this list?
Posted: December 30, 2007 12:01 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
JD Drew? What about Boise St. beating Oklahoma on the Hook & Lateral + the Statue of Liberty extra point?
Posted: December 30, 2007 3:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
amen, right? the Feista Bowl was amazing
Posted: December 30, 2007 4:34 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
boise state vs. oklahoma in the fiesta bowl? cmon. that game was the greatest game this year.
Posted: December 30, 2007 7:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Considering all that was at stake at the time, how could you not include the Boise State statue of liberty play or even the hook and ladder of that same Fiesta Bowl??

This is no surprise, considering the fact that SI waited 3 weeks to even write an article on that incredible Fiesta Bowl.
Posted: December 30, 2007 7:57 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Flea Flicker in the Patriots vs. Steelers game. Brady to Moss back to Brady then bombed to Gaffney.

Posted: December 30, 2007 8:40 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about App's FG block in the big house? Can you have a bigger stage than that, a opening day game that was suppose to be a cupcake and the cupcake won!
Posted: December 30, 2007 9:09 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Yeah, how can you not include Boise State's Statue of Liberty play?
Posted: December 31, 2007 12:31 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Fiesta bowl did have a lot of good plays - and a soccer play in here? I thought this was america...
Posted: December 31, 2007 2:33 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home from SECOND base on a wild pitch. Who even *thinks* of that, let alone pulls it off.
Posted: December 31, 2007 9:58 AM   by Anonymous CJ
Boise State, statue of liberty!
Posted: December 31, 2007 10:32 AM   by Anonymous Ravi
Marta's goal for Brazil v. the US in the World Cup has to be one of the five plays of the year if not THE Play of the Year.
Posted: December 31, 2007 10:38 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Bosie States Statue of Liberty....nuf said
Posted: December 31, 2007 10:49 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about Cromartie's one-handed interception of Peyton Manning?
Posted: December 31, 2007 11:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Wittens' run against the eagles without his helmet is the top, you get fined for being without you helmet on the field, but he got to have a poster without his helmet, and running strong down field. That is the play of the year.
Posted: December 31, 2007 11:40 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
dustin pedroia's play that saved clay buchholz no hitter

the dive and throwing the man out at 1st base, amazing
Yeah, I'd say this list is a joke. The Messi goal and the Trinity touchdown qualify as truly "amazing", but the rest seems to be more like private jokes.

The JD Drew homer? That was only amazing because Drew is typically awful; I'm not sure a first inning grand slam in a game the Sox won 12-2 is really "amazing".

What's worse than that, the guy tries to placate us by giving a Fiesta Bowl play "honorable mention" status, and giving the wrong one to boot. The hook and lateral play to go to OT was the one that was worth being mentioned. The Statue of Liberty play was really more an example of being shocking because they had just ran a cliched trick play to perfection with the hook and lateral and we couldn't believe they were getting away with it again, rather than a display of astounding athleticism.

Posted: December 31, 2007 10:38 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I agree with the Cowboys fan. Marion Barber avoiding numerous defenders in their endzone to avoid a safety was spectacular.
Posted: January 1, 2008 1:59 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
This list is a joke with out the Boise State statue of liberty play! How nutsy of a call was that by the coach!
Posted: January 1, 2008 3:07 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
This is an alright list. Trinity's lateral play is amazing and is one of the best of all time.
Posted: January 1, 2008 3:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Jonathan Toews goal against Colorado should easily make this list. Not only did he make 2 defenders look stupid, but the goalie is still trying to find his jock strap in the rafters
Posted: January 1, 2008 4:13 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
HAHAHA. LMFAO at JD Drew as number 2. WTF?? There were about 25 other people in MLB who hit grand slams last year. And you put that over Boise State and all of the other great plays from the year?

You didn't just miss some stuff, man. You're a moron.
Posted: January 1, 2008 5:13 PM   by Anonymous the bus
devin hester super bowl. hands down the best play of 2007.
Posted: January 1, 2008 10:38 PM   by Anonymous big_ghi
Trinity v. Millsaps is in the early lead for play of the millenium. The back-to-back kickoff returns made by the Houston returner should count (Yeah, I know that they were two plays, but they wouldn't have been as magical if they hadn't happened together.
Posted: January 2, 2008 1:00 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Curtis Granderson made a spectacular catch to rob Willy Mo Pena of a HR in the Tigers/Red Sox game on July 8 of this past season. Absolutely ridiculous catch from one of the best centerfielders in the game today. MLB.com has a video up of the catch.
Posted: January 2, 2008 2:15 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Of course, Brady to Moss, simultaneously breaking two NFL records AND catapulting the Patriots into the lead in their 16-0 season. There is no other single play this season that can compare to this...
Posted: January 2, 2008 7:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Jonathan Toews' goal against Colorado was awesome.
Posted: January 2, 2008 9:31 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
This list has to be devastating for Ego Psycho -- err, Ocho Cinco since he's not on it. Getting attention is his only reason for living.
Posted: January 2, 2008 12:12 PM   by Anonymous Rich_Man
How about Troy Brown stripping a Chargers defensive back after he made the interception that should have sealed the win for them and the Pats recovering the ball to keep their chances alive? Of course the Pats went on to win the game.
Posted: January 3, 2008 4:01 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
not even close!!

the trinity play is definitely the best play ever in sports history!!!!

good job tiger football!! go TU!!
Posted: January 31, 2008 12:45 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
another "amazing" or "dominant" list where lang whitaker bows down to lebron james. Lang, dont beg jon wiener for a job. you should talk to lebron about becoming his biographer after he ages a little and be thankful for the job you have now considering that you have just about zero credibility left after leaving federer off your list of most dominant athletes. james isnt even the best player in his sport yet.
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