Everyone watches sports hoping to see something unusual or unlikely, and more often than not, they get their wish. Sometimes, though, what happens on the field defies description, belief or, in some cases, the laws of physics. Let's sit back and take a look at some of the most truly astonishing, one-in-a-million plays in sports history.
Yadier Molina's sticky situation
An early-season Cubs-Cardinals game in 2017 turned from routine to strange when Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil struck out Matt Szczur on an 0-2 pitch that bounced in the dirt. When Molina looked for the ball to complete the play with a throw to first base, he couldn’t find it, because it was stuck to his chest protector. Szczur avoided making an out, and somehow, the Cardinals avoided any further investigation from the league. How? Your guess is as good as mine.
Rodgers connection makes Motown Miracle
Aaron Rodgers is one of the most talented quarterbacks to ever take the field in the NFL. Richard Rodgers is a run-of-the-mill tight end. Together, they combined for one of the most memorable plays in recent history, a 61-yard Hail Mary that came on an untimed down and gave Green Bay a 27-23 victory. The play is particularly noteworthy for Rodgers' throw — the ball traveled nearly 70 yards in the air and was high enough to nearly hit the rafters at Ford Field. For Lions fans, it was yet another kick in the teeth.
Odell Beckham Jr. makes a catch for the ages
Beckham had a rough first year in Cleveland in 2019, but there’s a reason the Browns traded with the Giants to get him: When he’s healthy and right, there are few receivers in the league more naturally gifted, particularly when it comes to being sure-handed. His 2014 catch against the Dallas Cowboys on "Sunday Night Football" was the best catch of the year, the decade, the century and probably of all time. Even the notoriously joyless, crotchety Tom Coughlin couldn’t help but crack a wry smile at the absurdity of the play. Seriously, just watch this. It shouldn’t be possible, but for Beckham, it was.
Missed field goals have been returned for touchdowns before. But a touchdown on a missed field goal return to win the 2013 Iron Bowl and leave Nick Saban with metaphorical egg on his face? That’s a true rarity and something worth celebrating — mainly by watching this clip over and over again. A fun fact: Saban argued to get a second put back on the clock – rightly, I might add – so that he Alabama could attempt the field goal in the first place. Whoops!
Randy Johnson obliterates a bird with a fastball
March 21, 2001, seemed destined to be another sleepy day in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring training ritual. Randy Johnson was on the mound, and an unassuming bird was flying through the ballpark. Then this happened. No further explanation seems necessary.
Fernando Tatis smacks two grand slams - in one inning
The title pretty much says it all for this one. Much like Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters, Tatis’ feat likely won’t be matched and won’t be topped. I mean, nothing is impossible, but hitting three grand slams in an inning might as well be. One other person involved also made history that will never be matched or topped: Chan Ho Park, who served up both home runs. Poor guy.
Jerry West hits a 60-footer to save the Lakers
Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals looked like it was over when the Knicks’ Dave DeBusschere hit a jump shot to give New York a 102-100 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers with three seconds left. West had other ideas. He took the inbounds pass, dribbled three times and then hit a 60-foot shot to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Knicks ended up winning the game, 111-108, and the series in seven games, but West’s shot, particularly given the stakes, is an all-time shocker.