For the last few weeks, Blogging The Boys has put together a 64-play March Madness tournament to keep ourselves occupied heading up to next week’s NFL draft. First, we narrowed things down to 16 teams, and from that group, we have reached the final four. Today, we’ll have the first of two semi-final match ups for fans to vote on to see which one makes it to the championship round next week.
Tony Dorsett had three plays in this tournament as he had a couple big runs against some AFC East teams, but it should surprise nobody that the Hall of Fame running back’s biggest play has made it to the final four. Here is what it’s had to beat out in the Sweet 16 round:
Dorsett’s run isn’t a play that showcases an ensemble of nifty moves to get away. From a degree of difficulty, it’s just okay. He made one big cut that got him in space, and then he used his blazing speed to most of the rest.
But what makes this play so special is that it’s a record that cannot be broken. In fact, for 35 years, Dorsett’s 99-yard run stood alone as the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Then, late in the 2018 season, Tennessee Titan’s Derrick Henry had an impressive run of his own that tied Dorsett’s record.
Henry’s run was impressive, no doubt, but the Titans had to use all 11 guys on offense to get it done. But not Tony and the Cowboys. Apparently, Ron Springs got confused and didn’t understand the play call and came off the field.
Like Dorsett, Henry joined an exclusive club when he won the Heisman Trophy, but after he had his 99-yard run, he joined a club that was even more exclusive.
Harper over the middle
Just like Dorsett, Alvin Harper is another player in this tournament that has had three of his plays make the list. While all of Dorsett’s plays were from regular season games, Harper’s were all in the postseason, including one from Super Bowl XXVII. Our own Michael Strawn put together a nice summary of Harper’s impressive postseason performances that you should check out. Here are the plays Harper outlasted from the Sweet 16 round:
What makes Harper’s play so special is that it was a redemption play for the Cowboys heartbreaking loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFC Championship game. What is even stranger about this is how both games had a similar play in the game. After “The Catch” the Cowboys still had one last shot as they only needed a field goal for the win. And on the first play of that final drive, Danny White hit Drew Pearson for a deep crossing play over the middle that was so close to making Dwight Clark’s catch one of the shortest-lived big moment plays in NFL history. See for yourself...
49ers defender Eric Wright got just enough of Pearson’s jersey to keep him from going the distance.
What happened next was hard to stomach. Just as hope looked to be restored, it was quickly snatched away from us on the very next play when Danny White fumbled the ball as a 49ers defender was pressuring him up the middle. It was a heartbreaking moment for Cowboys fans, which is why it meant so much when nobody was able to corral Harper until the damage was done on his big play a decade later.
Same teams. Same field. Same round of the playoffs. And almost the very same type of play. But this time - different results.
Which play do you think is the best?
This poll is closed
Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard run
Alvin Harper’s over the middle