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ESPY Play of the Year

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It was announced today that the Broderick Brown Shaun Lewis pick of the year will be one of the finalists (kind of) for ESPY play of the year.

You can vote for the Cowboys in a sixteen-play bracket on ESPN.com until July 9th as they try to maneuver their way through a loaded field of top-shelf performances. The winners will be announced at the Seth Myers-hosted awards show on July 13th.

I thought it might be a fun little exercise on a Friday to meander our way through the sixteen candidates and give my thoughts on how I think things should play out. You can watch them all on the ESPN link above or with the YouTube links I’ve provided below. Here we go…

First Round

#1 Blake on Timothy Mozgov vs. #16 Yuniesky Betancourt behind-the-back

All affiliations aside, I just can’t get behind a Blake Griffin “dunk” in which his hand didn’t even touch the rim. That’s not a dunk, it’s a layup shot out of a cannon. In fact, it wasn’t even his best dunk that game. That being said, the Betancourt2Weeks2Fielder double play isn’t all that unconventional. Griffin moves on by default.

#8 Bernadina’s diving catch vs. #9 Hassli wonder goal

Both of these are better than both of the first two. Bernadina splayed all over the outfield while Todd Coffey throws his belly into a fist pump is both high comedy and high drama. Hassli’s goal gets high marks for degree of difficulty on the angle (no pun there) but I have to discount its greatness a bit because he was the benefactor of a fortuitous bounce or two to set it up. Bernadina by a hair.

#5 Torstein Horgmo’s triple flip vs. #12 Tim Thomas’s overtime save

I know nothing about snowboarding other than how to get my feet into one but I have a general life rule that anytime you make three bodily revolutions when you’re more than 4 feet off the ground and paralysis and death are both decent possibilities, I have to move you on in a play of the year contest. Plus, Thomas’s save seemed like a lame attempt to throw hockey a bone in this competition. Horgmo’s icy “I do this all the time” demeanor after landing it coupled with the fact that he couldn’t sleep until doing one make this a cakewalk.

#4 DeSean Jackson’s game-winner vs. #13 Sam Fuld’s catch

This was the most difficult one for me. DeSean’s return is cold-blooded but I’m a total sucker for diving catches on or near the warning track. I don’t know what I’m going to do if Fuld runs into Bernadina in the semifinals! Fuld moves on.

#6 Oklahoma State interception vs. #11 Anthony Pettis super-kick

The biggest upset of the first round is that Brown to Lewis isn’t one of the top five seeds. The Pettis kick is actually pretty cool but I just can’t take MMA seriously. Plus the kick wasn’t even even the biggest hit in either of these videos. That would be Ryan Broyles getting absolutely destroyed by Nigel Nicholas seconds after the interception. Pokes by a lot.

#3 Rooney Bicycle vs. #14 Tyreke half-court shot

My favorite part of the Tyreke video continues to be the guy who wanders off the bench almost to the free throw line before the shot even goes in as if he knows what will happen. And really, the shot is incredible, especially considering it was an answer to O.J. Mayo’s supposed game-winner 1.5 seconds earlier. But the Rooney video is so picturesque it honestly looks like he’s in some controlled environment shooting spots for a video game. Even the way the crowd at Old Trafford reacts is video-game like – you know, all 75,000 homogeneously-dressed animations rising as one with their fists in the air. Rooney in a landslide.

#7 Bobby Ryan’s triple triple deke vs. #10 David Garrard to Mike Thomas

The best part about the Garrard throw is easily Gus Johnson’s delayed reaction so it’s hard for me to vote for a play that wasn’t as good as that play’s call. Ryan, on the other hand, does something I’ve never seen in a hockey game before. Of course, I haven’t seen a lot of things in a hockey game because I don’t watch hockey. Whatever, even Charlie Conway is impressed with Ryan’s goal. He moves on.

#2 Marshawn Lynch beast mode #15 Bron to Wade alley-oop

I’m fairly ambivalent to both of these as well. Was Durant putting his junk in Brendan Haywood’s face not better than Wade heaving a basketball 88 feet to his boyfriend? I guess I’ll go Lynch, but mostly because I love me some Matt Hasselbeck downfield blocking.

Quarterfinals
#8 Bernadina over #1 Griffin – Again, it wasn’t even a dunk.
#5 Horgmo over #13 Fuld – When your sleeping patterns are disturbed by the fact that you have to physically complete something that may or may not kill you, I vote for you.
#3 Rooney over #6 Oklahoma State – Why did this have to be a second round matchup?! I would have voted for OSU over any of the other fourteen plays.
#2 Lynch over #7 Ryan – My favorite part of this was a tweet by Scott Van Pelt shortly thereafter (paraphrased): We tend to hyperbolize what we just saw…but that might have been the best run I’ve ever seen.

Semifinals
#8 Bernadina over #5 Horgmo – The snowboarder has gone far enough.
#3 Rooney over #2 Lynch – I could watch the Rooney kick all day. I’m tired of the Lynch run by the 6th time I see Russell Okung getting off the ground.

Finals
#3 Rooney over #8 Bernadina – The beautiful game.

Before I get half a dozen comments questioning my loyalty to #OKState, just know that if I could re-seed this thing I’d go: 1. Rooney 2. Oklahoma State 3. Bernadina 4. Horgmo 5. Fuld 6. DeSean 7. Hassli and 8. Ryan

Broderick Brown to Shaun Lewis was the biggest play in the biggest game of OSU’s myth-like season, but Rooney’s magic was a once-in-a-generation moment that was only augmented because he is the most famous player on the most famous sports team in the world. The Theater of Dreams they call it, the stadium Manchester United runs around in, and for a few fleeting, perfect seconds, that’s exactly what it was.

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