Hugh McElhenny No Helmet Catch and Run
In front of over 50,000 fans at New York City’s Polo Grounds in November of 1952, 49ers rookie halfback and future Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny made a leaping catch and long run – and shed some key equipment in the process. The 49ers entered this game against the Giants with a 5-1 record, and in the first quarter found themselves pushed deep into their own territory. After receiving a snap, Y.A. Little, the future Hall of Fame quarterback, dropped back and threw a long pass from the end zone. Its intended receiver, McElhenny – who had been the ninth overall pick in that year’s draft – was well-covered by two New York defenders. But McElhenny out-jumped the two Giants and made the grab as he fell. He rolled around a few times on the grass and – now with his helmet still laying on the field – got up and began chugging downfield with three Giants in pursuit. Eventually, McElhenny was knocked out of bounds inside the Giants’ 20-yard line by Hall of Fame defensive back Emlen Tunnell. Despite that big play, McElhenny was held to a season-low four rushing yards, and the Giants won, 23-14.