As Odell Beckham Jr. was falling backwards with the magnificent catch secured in his right hand, New York was falling in love with the Giants’ rookie wide receiver.
A play that would go down as one of the best catches of all-time and Beckham’s most memorable moment in a Giants uniform came on Nov. 23, 2014 during a 31-28 loss to the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. While getting interfered with by Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr down the right sideline, Beckham leapt into the air for the fingertip catch before landing in the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown.
“I hope it’s not the greatest catch of all time, I hope I can make more,’’ Beckham said, “but it really means nothing without a win.’’
The second-quarter catch gave the Giants a 14-3 lead that they would eventually blow, but everyone was left talking about the star receiver out of LSU who was playing just his seventh career game in the NFL.
“That is the best catch I’ve ever seen,’’ running back Rashad Jennings said. “I was on the sideline, I looked, thought he was playing a video game.”
“That’s the best catch I’ve seen in my 10 years of playing,” added defensive back Antrel Rolle.
Watching from the opposing sideline, Dez Bryant called Beckham “a monster.” Jerry Jones called him “a man among boys.” LeBron James, Mike Trout and Michael Irvin were among the celebrities to weigh in on Twitter, in awe of Beckham’s talent.
Eli Manning was on the other end of another incredible catch — comparing it to David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.
“Both of them were pretty spectacular,’’ Manning said. “I guess you’ve got to throw it just bad enough where they’ve got to make a great catch.’’
Beckham went on to catch 10 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort. He had enjoyed a few big games before this one, but his legend was born that Sunday night with one jaw-dropping catch that has been replayed time and time again ever since.
“I guess,” Beckham said, “I gotta thank my mom for the long fingers.”
Beckham’s first three seasons with the Giants backed up the hype of that moment. He pulled in 288 catches for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns. Injuries and controversies — both on and off the field — soured his time here and the Giants traded Beckham to the Browns after the 2018 season.