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"Best Play" Comparison

Two of the nominees for "Best Play" at the ESPY's, Jadeveon Clowney & Ray Rice, had outstanding plays. Which was better?

South Carolina fan holds up sign about Jadeveon Clowney.
South Carolina fan holds up sign about Jadeveon Clowney.
Kevin C. Cox

UPDATE: Ray Rice's 4th & 29 play did NOT make it past Ray Allen's 3-pointer by a vote of 58% to 42%. Either way, this article is still half-relevant.

The 2013 ESPY's will be held on Wednesday, July 17th on ESPN.

As most Ravens fans know, Ray Rice's 4th & 29 play vs. the Chargers is nominated for Best Play, but it has to go through a tournament-like bracket to win. At the moment, it is pinned up against Ray Allen's 3-pointer to tie the game vs. the Spurs in the NBA Finals Game 6.

Rice had one spectacular play, and we will get into that, but there was also one other play that caught EVERYONE's eye this year. The Jadeveon Clowney hit/fumble recovery vs. Michigan in the Outback Bowl. The play was on SportsCenter for a long time, and everyone was talking about it. Michigan fans had to be devastated and embarrassed.

My podcast partner, Alex Strouf, asked me this on Twitter last night:

Let's start with the 4th & 29 play in San Diego.

Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens needed to convert a 4th & 29 to keep their hopes of winning the game against the Chargers alive. Joe Flacco took the snap, and looked to see if anybody was open, nobody was. Well, nobody except Rice, that is. Flacco checked down to Rice. Ray Rice quickly turned and hustled upfield, scurrying to get the first down. Rice makes more than four defenders miss, then here comes Anquan Boldin to level Eric Weddle, and Rice was able to stretch out and grab the first down. The Ravens ended up going into overtime to win, 16-13.

4th & 29 was pretty amazing, but was it the best football play of 2012-13?

Jadeveon Clowney's hit comes next.

It was South Carolina vs. Michigan in the Outback Bowl, a little over 8 minutes to go in the 4th, with Michigan leading 22-21. On the previous play, SC had gotten robbed by the officials. Michigan apparently got a first down, when they really didn't, changing the game. Jadeveon Clowney didn't like that, so he wanted to make something happen. Michigan hands the ball off on 1st & 10, and as soon as Vincent Smith got the ball, Clowney was there to end the play immediately. Clowney swarmed pass the offensive line, nailed Smith instantly, and picked up the football right as Smith lost it. South Carolina gained possession of the football, as well as a very nice highlight for the university. South Carolina did end up winning the game, 33-28.

Both of these plays were absolutely terrific, but one has to be greater than the others. It's hard to judge a college play vs. an NFL play AND a defensive play vs. and offensive play.

So, I have decided to take it to Baltimore Beat Down. I want you guys to tell me what you think and why in the comments below. I would voice my opinion on here, but I'd rather just see what you all have to say.

Whether it be Ray Rice or Jadeveon Clowney, it's cool to have such great plays in one year of football.


The analysis of 4th & 29 by Ray Rice & Joe Flacco is here.

The actual 4th & 29 play is here.


The Jadeveon Clowney hit is here.


VOTE for the ESPY's on, here.