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Beckham or Tyree: Experts debate which catch was better


It's blasphemy.

The Odell Beckham Jr. fingertip catch is not better than the David Tyree helmet catch.

Wait, is it?

Opening statements have now been made on both sides, and the jury is out and probably will be for some time. Like many people in the sports world -- football and otherwise -- Shaun O'Hara instantly took to social media on Sunday night when Beckham snagged the 43-yard touchdown against Dallas, dropping the jaws of everyone in MetLife Stadium and the millions of viewers tuned into the prime-time NFC East matchup.

The retired offensive lineman and current NFL Network analyst witnessed both in person, a spectator last night and the starting center 2,486 days prior in Super Bowl XLII when Tyree's heroics propelled the Giants to a victory over the then-undefeated Patriots.

So O'Hara has some perspective, and it still caused the three-time Pro Bowler to say this:

And so the debate began.

O'Hara elaborated on the merits of both catches in Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column.

"You have to consider the stage," O'Hara told King, "and come on, Tyree's catch was in the biggest game in the world, the Super Bowl. And I never thought I would have a conversation, ever in my life, comparing that catch to any other catch. Rodney Harrison was hanging on David Tyree like a koala bear, and David came down with it. But this one—as far as individual efforts, the Beckham catch defies all laws of gravity and whatever other physics laws there are. Everyone in the stadium was awestruck watching it live, and then, on replay, it got better. I have never seen a catch like that."

While he was on the subject, King, who has covered the NFL for three decades, gave his own take.

"The Tyree catch is the most significant, great, unique and improbable catch I've ever seen," King wrote. "The theater of it is absurd—the catch was the most important single play in the Giants' shocking win over the previously 18-0 Patriots, and David Tyree never caught another pass in the NFL after that one. So how does a catch top that?

"But for athleticism and degree of difficulty, the Beckham catch is the greatest catch I have ever seen. I still don't think he saw the ball clearly, and he was fending off a physical cornerback, and his arm looked like it had extenders on it to reach back and get the ball, and he kept tight possession of it as he crash-landed on his back. 'For him,' said Antrel Rolle, 'another day at the park. For the rest of us, wow.' That's pretty much my reaction."

Our Giants Entertainment crew of Bob Papa and Carl Banks, who called Sunday night's game on the team's flagship radio station, WFAN, also weighed in on the matter.

They stacked up Beckham's play against the best catches in Giants history, including Tyree's helmet catch, Mario Manningham's toe-tapper in Super Bowl XLVI, and Mark Ingram breaking a half-dozen tackles for a first down in Super Bowl XXV.

Banks puts Beckham at the top.

"There are just so many things that go beyond explanation on that play," said the Giants Ring of Honor inductee. "The fact that he was held, the fact that he stayed in bounds, and the fact that he caught a ball with three fingers falling down, almost nearly parallel to the ground falling backwards.

"Well, just on the catch alone, I think it is the top. Obviously a lot of those plays that [were] mentioned went on to lead a victory. But in terms of just that play, in and of itself, it's at the top of the list -- by far."

Papa went on to bring up the element of chance in the Tyree play "in the fact that if Rodney Harrison pulls Tyree down to the side, maybe as the ball is against the helmet, it hits the ground. But he fell on top of Rodney Harrison and that was the buffer between possibly hitting the ground and the ball coming loose. This play by Odell Beckham Jr. is athleticism to an incredible degree."

"Some things transcend all greatness," Banks added. "And this is one of them that did."

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