Guinness World Records adjudicator Alex Angert gives his first-hand account of American Football feat ahead of Super Bowl XLIX.
The top moment of the 2014 NFL season was without a doubt Odell Beckham Jr’s electrifying and gravity-defying catch against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Hands down.
Well, maybe only one hand down.
So how do you top a once-in-a-lifetime one-handed catch like that? Well, one way to do it is by seeing how many of them you can make in one minute.
With future Hall of Famer and multiple Guinness World Records title holder Drew Brees enlisted to throw, Beckham hauled in an unheard of 33 one-handed catches in one minute on the set of ESPN’s NFL Live at Fan Fest in Scottsdale, Arizona in Thursday.
The record attempt, which was sponsored by Visa Checkout, was one of many Guinness World Records titles attempted in Phoenix during the days and weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
The attempt mirrored a popular commercial that aired throughout the NFL season with the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald catching passes from Brees, Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck while also using Visa’s app.
With Beckham famous for his spectacular one-handed catch earlier this season, he was a perfect fill-in for Fitzgerald for the record attempt as he averaged more than one catch every two seconds.
Fitzgerald immediately went to Twitter to congratulate the duo on the record and said he is coming for the record himself. It won’t be easy, however, following the superb performance by Beckham and Brees.
The Giants’ rookie receiver didn’t miss a single pass, and, while it may have looked like he was doing it with ease, I can confirm from a first-hand account that Brees’ passes were zipped as if being fired out of a cannon. I was fortunate enough to witness this historic achievement from only a few yards away as the adjudicator present to verify whether or not the guidelines were followed.
In order to successfully break the record, the passer and receiver had to be positioned 10 yards apart, each catch had to be made with one hand and fully controlled, the receiver could not use the body to help him make a catch and NFL-competition footballs had to be used. Yes, we have been told that they were all fully inflated to the correct PSI.
For Brees and Beckham, breaking records is nothing new. Brees has had one of the most successful NFL careers in history and holds records for the highest completion percentage in an NFL season, most seasons with 5,000 passing yards, most passing yards in a season and most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, just to name a few.
Beckham seems to be on his way to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and set records the most games with at least 10 receptions as a rookie and first rookie in NFL history to have at least 10 receptions in consecutive games. If not for an injury that sidelines him for the beginning of the 2014 season, Beckham would have challenged the records for most receptions, yards and touchdowns by a rookie receiver.
Yet, despite all of their accolades on the field, these two superstars took this Guinness World Records challenge very seriously.
The young Giants receiver brought out his famous gloves that he wears on gameday while Brees had broken-in footballs flown in from New Orleans specifically for the record attempt.
Every single pass was thrown perfectly on the money and the pair threw a few practice throws prior to the live televised attempt to ensure they had the best strategy in terms of placement.
Nevertheless despite having a plan in place to maximize the amount of balls thrown, at one point during the attempt, the duo ran out of footballs and Beckham had to throw the ball back to Brees a few times to keep the attempt going before the successfully caught footballs could be returned to the quarterback.
Following the attempt, both were quick to point out that they could have completed even more catches if they had more balls to work with. From what I witnessed, the pair probably could have completed another 3-4 passes.
Regardless, both were excited to set the new Guinness World Records title, embracing each other following the attempt and raising their framed certificates high in the air for the fans watching to see.
Despite his excitement, the Saints quarterback knows the record may not last as he expects every high school quarterback and receiver with a video camera to be trying this record out themselves and looks forward to seeing someone on Youtube break the record with at least 34. If that is the case, he plans attempt it again to ensure the record remains his. (If you think you could top Odell's benchmark, why not read up on how to make a claim here).
This was a brand new Guinness World Records category and the benchmark in place to set the record was 10 catches.
We may have underestimated the talents of both Beckham and Brees as they surpassed the minimum put in place with plenty of time to spare.
Both receiver and passer seemed very confident prior to the attempt that they would come out as Guinness World Records title holders.
When I asked Beckham before the record how many catches he predicted, he simply said he wanted to catch all of the passes without a drop.
Brees also abstained from revealing a prediction prior to the attempt and said he would write down a number to put in his pocket for after the record was complete.
When asked again after the record was set what that number was, Brees revealed he expected somewhere around 20-21 catches.
Looks like Saints quarterback underestimated what he and Beckham were capable of pulling off, too.
Stay tuned to GuinnessWorldRecords.com, where we'll be rounding up all of the records set surrounding Super Bowl 49.
Pics: Doug Benc