The 2011 season was filled with big plays, and it should come as little surprise that rookie wide receiver Julio Jones makes the list twice as he was brought in to add firepower and potency to the offense. Here are our top five plays of the 2011 season:
5) Roddy White's fingertip catch vs. the Lions
We've come to expect amazing things from Roddy White over the years, and especially after last year's banner season. But White went so far as to defy science — you know, no big deal — to make an amazing fingertip catch for a touchdown against the Lions. When we think of "fingertip" catches these days, we tend to automatically think of the stronger fingers on the hand getting the job done. But that's not what White used. White made the incredible TD catch with the weakest finger on each hand, and at the backside of the football to boot.
The catch was so incredible that ESPN's Sports Science did a piece on it (which happens to no longer be on YouTube), explaining just how improbable it was. Here's a quote from ESPN Sports Science host John Brenkus on the catch: "Falling at roughly 40 (miles per hour), the ball would have been uncatchable if he had closed his fingers roughly three thousands of a second later. White's fingertips locked onto the ball up to 3.5 inches behind its center, meaning a 27 percent reduction in circumference, making it a smaller target and a harder geometric shape to grip. And amazingly, White doesn't even catch this cone shape with 10 fingertips — initially, he stops the ball with just the ring and pinky fingers, the weakest fingers of the hand, contributing roughly 35 percent of total hand strength, or about as much as the index finger alone."