To cap off an eventful 2013 NFL season and week-by-week breakdowns of the best play of each week, I thought it may be fun, interesting, and also slightly controversial to choose one play that stood above all others when it comes to movement proficiency. With the host of amazing plays that we witnessed throughout the season this will truly be no easy feat. Now, don’t get me wrong; they really all were spectacular. And the top play selected will most definitely be in the eye of the beholder.
Before we go any further, here is a quick recap of the week-by-week selections as our very worthy candidates.
Week 1. Adrian Peterson vs. Lions
Week 2. Trindon Holliday vs. Giants
Week 3. Antonio Brown vs. Bears
Week 4. Dexter McCluster vs. Giants
Week 5. Tony Romo vs. Broncos
Week 6. Giovani Bernard vs. Bills
Week 7. Matt Forte vs. Redskins
Week 8. Dez Bryant vs. Calvin Johnson
Week 9. Giovani Bernard vs. Dolphins
Week 10. Tavon Austin vs. Colts
Week 11. Rashad Jennings vs. Texans
Week 12. Julian Edelman vs. Broncos
Week 13. Knile Davis vs. Broncos
Week 14. LeSean McCoy vs. Lions
Week 15. DeSean Jackson vs. Vikings
Week 16. Giovani Bernard vs. Vikings
And the winner is….
(enter drum roll here!)
Game: Giants at Chiefs in Week 4
Play: Dexter McCluster breaking ankles and making guys look silly
What makes this the BTS Play of the Year?
What makes a play exceptional? Well, to most people you know a play is different from all others as soon as it happens in front of your eyes. It’s why all sporting fans have gravitated to seeing the Sports Center Top 10 each day. To a movement analyst, it really isn’t all that different. We also know the special play as soon as it occurs. However, it’s the nuts and bolts that make it exceptional that is different for the movement specialist compared to the typical fan. To us, we take in qualitative information regarding how the athlete put on a display of superior biomechanical and neuromuscular efficiency in comparison to his already highly-qualifying peers. More deeply, we marvel at how the athlete positions his body to take full advantage of what his environment is presenting to him at rapid speeds that the normal viewer often can’t appreciate. These are the very signposts of movement mastery on a football field.
Now, I will spare you another entire re-hashing of this incredible play, instead I will simply refer you back to my original breakdown if you missed the analysis the first time or if you really enjoyed it that much and wanted to re-live it once more.
Nonetheless, the first time I saw this play and each time since the response is the same: it simply gives me chills. The display of movement proficiency while McCluster dug deep into his movement toolbox to make guys look silly all over the field is truly a sight to behold. For me it’s like watching film of some of the body of work that was put down by wicked movers of other eras in American football…I am talking about guys the likes of Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Deion Sanders, and Barry Sanders. Yes; this play is simply that crazy good.
As I have mentioned on a number of occasions during extraordinary plays like this, very few people appreciate the way that the rapidly & constantly changing environment that takes place during a punt return impacts the biodynamic structure of the athlete’s movement patterns (this is a fancy way of saying the display of the athlete’s kinetics & kinematics). Yet, even with these challenges, McCluster whipped out some of the nastiest display of cutting actions from start to finish that would drop your jaw even if you were watching a high schooler playing on a field full of middle schoolers. And of course, he was on a field of equivalent athletes…21 other race horses…nothing but Ferraris running around the track. Yet, on this play on this particular day, Dexter McCluster’s movement efficiency was tuned to a point that in my best opinion wasn’t matched the rest of the season across the league.
As we close this year’s Play of the Week series, I want to give a very special shout-out to a very special individual, Randi Holley. Miss Holley took a considerable amount of time each week to assist me in the process of narrowing down and ultimately selecting the plays that were deserving of consideration & breakdown of the top moves of the week in the league. In the process, Randi continued to flex her muscle and understand the movement of the game better than most people who have been in the field for a much longer period of time. Coincidentally enough, this Dexter McCluster play was the very first play that she took part in and it stood the test of the long, grueling, and exciting season to come out on top. Thank you for your help, Randi! Your help was much appreciated all season.
Finally, in case you missed it the first time around, here is the video clip of the spectacular play.