It’s about that time of the year! Last year we awarded then Kansas City Chief return man Dexter McCluster with our very first Movement Play of the Year here at Beyond the Stats from the 17 renditions of plays that stood out as their respective week’s best. This year we will do the same.
It should go without saying that each and every play is astounding in its own right and usually varies significantly from all others before and after it. So, like last year, the selection for the top nod this year won’t be an easy one!
Before we go any further, here is a quick recap of the week-by-week selections as our very worthy candidates:
1. Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Saints
2. Darren Sproles vs. Colts
3. Devin Hester vs. Buccaneers
4. JJ Watt vs. Bills
5. Branden Oliver vs. Jets
6. Tony Romo and Terrance Williams vs. Seahawks
7. Jamaal Charles vs. Chargers
8. Arian Foster vs. Titans
9. Antonio Brown vs. Ravens
10. 5-way tie;
Dez Bryant vs. Jaguars
Brent Grimes vs. Lions
CJ Anderson vs. Raiders
Patrick Peterson vs. Rams
Randall Cobb vs. Bears
11. Jamaal Charles vs. Seahawks
12. Odell Beckham vs. Cowboys
13. Julio Jones vs. Cardinals
14. Julian Edelman vs. Chargers
15. De’Anthony Thomas vs. Raiders
16. Russell Wilson & Marshawn Lynch vs. Cardinals
17. CJ Anderson vs. Raiders
And the winner is….
Game: Ravens at Steelers – Week 9
Play: Antonio Brown showing route precision and open field movement proficiency
What makes this the BTS Play of the Year?
When I watch football I do so differently than most other people walking the planet. Obviously, I don’t really care about the statistics (hence the blog’s name) or even some of the flashiness than normally catches viewer’s eyes.
Instead, I am constantly investigating the qualitative information at hand regarding how the athlete is displaying biomechanical and neuromuscular efficiency in comparison to his already highly-qualifying peers.
Furthermore, I look for (and marvel at) how the player positions his body to take full advantage of what his environment is presenting to him at high speeds that the normal viewer often doesn’t appreciate. I look at how the athlete controls himself in the most chaotic of conditions and is able to anticipate, perceive, and change behavior accordingly. 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.
That all being said this was not an easy decision. There were definitely a number of other plays that I contemplated giving the recognition to before going in Brown’s direction.
Of course, two plays that many NFL enthusiasts will point to which define the 2014 season is the incredible one-handed catch by Odell Beckham Jr. and the Beastquake 2.0 run by Marshawn Lynch. Even though these plays were awarded the top movement play of the week on their respective weeks, I felt as though they were more of a blend of sheer talent & football skill (and willpower in Marshawn’s case) than precise movement proficiency like we look for here on BTS.
Then there were a number of runs by All-World field movement artist Jamaal Charles which could easily have stood at the top of the heap of all plays performed on Sundays across the League. But at the end of the day, it was hard to argue against the play that I did select.
The play on display by Pittsburgh Steelers wide-out, Antonio Brown, offered up on-field proficiency in a unique blend of two independent movement behavior traits; 1: Preprogrammed/repeatable movement skills (shown in the precision of Brown’s route). 2: Open movement skills in chaotic conditions (coming in the movement during the run after the catch).
Additionally-speaking, the degree of his motor potential specific to the movement qualities at-hand, namely his eccentric/force absorption capabilities, were out-of-hand while his refined kinematics during both deceleration & reacceleration actions (again both on the route AND in the open field) were very apparent and masterful. From there of course, Brown added a surprising amount of physicality with the stiff arm that allowed him to really break it open (though it’s not Marshawn vs. Patrick Peterson it was still significant to the play).
Finally, in case you missed it the first time around, here is the video clip of the spectacular play.