"Alley-Oop" to R.C. Owens for Long TD Pass
In sports lexicon, the term “alley-oop” was first used not in basketball but in 1957 in reference to the football plays thrown by Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle and intended for R.C. Owens, a high-leaping, 6-foot-3 wideout. One of Owens’ most famous such catches occurred in the first quarter of the 1957 Divisional Playoff matchup between Owens’ 49ers and the Detroit Lions at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. With the game scoreless and the 49ers threatening, Tittle dropped back and launched a high throw into the end zone in the direction of Owens, a rookie from the College of Idaho who was once offered a contract with basketball’s Minneapolis Lakers. The alley-oop play – simply an up-for-grabs heave – was successful. Owens, whose nickname was also "Alley-Oop", outjumped his defender for the ball, for a 34-yard touchdown. While the reception would be Owens’ only catch of the game – and the 49ers ultimately blew a 20-point lead and were defeated 31-27 – Owens went on to a solid career, including over 1,000 yards receiving in 1961.