As the host of a year-round NFL podcast, I understand the challenges that come with keeping a football show lively during these quieter days on the league calendar.
So I tip my hat to the producers and on-camera stars of NFL Network's Good Morning Football, who have three hours to fill each weekday and still manage to deliver entertainment value. And on that note, let me tip my hat again -- that's right, two hat tips! -- for GMFB's Tournament of Catches, which has served as a fun vehicle to celebrate some of the more exciting individual plays of the past season.
Baldwin's catch is the Cinderella story of this tournament. A sixth seed, it advanced out of the semifinals by knocking off Julio Jones' incredible Super Bowl sideline reception, a catch that would've absolutely won this contest going away had the Falcons not set themselves on fire immediately afterwards. Just when you think Falcons fans were done suffering, the wound reopens. Thanks, Tournament of Catches.
Anyway, here's Baldwin's catch:
Let me start with this: It's a great freaking catch. Insane concentration, splendid athleticism, unreal hand-eye coordination. He even does a nice job pretending like it wasn't a big deal at all. This is an underrated aspect of the circus catch: That looked like it was hard to you, but for me, it was pretty regular.
That said, it came in the opening minutes of a Week 3 blowout of one of the very worst teams in football. With the stakes as high as they are -- again, this is damn grand finals of the Tournament of Catches -- I must factor in the stage.
Unbelievable. Incredelman, even. Back in February, I included this play as one of the eight separate opportunities the Falcons had to clinch the Super Bowl. If Robert Alford pulls that ball down rather than deflecting it in the air, Tom Brady's day in Houston ends with three interceptions and the game-deciding turnover. But given an opportunity to make a play on the ball, Edelman turns a nearly catastrophic error from his QB into another piece of Patriots legend.
And that's just the backstory! The catch itself is a thing of beauty, a love letter to reflexes, physics and the ability to raise your game when it matters most (not to mention another reminder why HD is the greatest thing to happen to sports in the past 30 years).
In a vacuum, based solely on level of difficulty, the catches by Baldwin and Edelman are neck and neck. But the events surrounding the Edelman catch make this an absolute no-brainer for me. And if Seahawks fans stuff the ballot box, I'm going to be the one person who follows through on a promise to move to Canada if a vote doesn't go my way.