This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen the play, but we’re going to go out on a limb here and call Antonio Freeman’s miraculous Monday Night Football catch and run the greatest play in the history of the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings rivalry.
The touchdown itself was a 46-yarder, but it was much more complicated than that. On the evening of the game, November 6, 2000, the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Manoyan described it like this.
The play was the seventh of the overtime period, as the Packers faced a third and 4 from the Vikings’ 43. It was a simple sideline pattern with Vikings cornerback Cris Dishman providing the primary coverage on Freeman.
Freeman slipped and fell on his back, but Dishman juggled the ball twice, and the ball hit Freeman in his helmet. It deflected into the air and Freeman was able to snare it before it touched the ground.
Dishman, thinking the ball had fallen incomplete, turned his back on the play, which was a big mistake.
Freeman picked himself off the ground and raced untouched for the miracle 43-yard touchdown pass. The play was reviewed but the touchdown stood.
In reality, the Vikings should have won the game in regulation, but Gary Anderson never got the chance to kick a game-winning 32-yard field goal with 7 second remaining, after holder Mitch Berger bobbled the snap. A choker always…
Instead, Freeman’s touchdown resulted in a 26-20 Packers victory that turned out to be a turning point for the season.
The Packers were 3-5 coming into the game. Although they would miss the playoffs (Minnesota finished 11-5, Tampa claimed a Wild Card at 10-6), the Packers would go on to win five of their final seven games and remain competitive in the playoff race.
Had Freeman not conjured his miracle catch in the rain that night, the Packers would likely have seen their season go completely down the tubes at the hands of the hated Vikings.
If you think of other great plays in the rivalry, leave them in the comments. Disclaimer: anything involving Randy Moss doesn’t count.
Finally, here’s the catch one more time.