99-yard pass play
Specifically, a 99-yard pass play starts with the line of scrimmage at the offensive team's one-yard line, the quarterback receives the ball and passes it from his own end zone, completes a forward pass, which is then carried for a touchdown at the other end of the field. Since in American football a forward pass is measured by the number of yards gained in the play, a 99-yard pass play can also be referred to as a 99-yard pass, even though the actual pass was much shorter than 99 yards. In addition to 99-yard pass plays, there has been one NFL 99-yard running play, by Tony Dorsett.
This play is a high-risk play, since the pass is coming from the offensive team's end zone. If the ball is intercepted, the opposing team will either score a touchdown or have very good field position and a sack can result in a safety or even a touchdown for the defense. A safety can also occur if a holding or intentional grounding penalty occurs in the end zone.
Since returners do not start from the line of scrimmage, return plays can be (and have been) longer than 99 yards (the longest plays in NFL history are a return of a missed field goal and a kickoff return, both the maximum possible yardage of 109).
Occurrences in the NFL
Thirteen 99-yard pass plays have occurred in the history of the National Football League:
|Frank Filchock||Andy Farkas||Washington Redskins||v. Pittsburgh Steelers||W 44–14||October 15, 1939||"Filchock flipped a pass from the end zone to Farkas, who gathered it on the ten for a stirring 90 yard jaunt to the goal behind perfect blocking by his mates."|
|George Izo||Bobby Mitchell||Washington Redskins||at Cleveland Browns||L 37–14||September 15, 1963||"Izo had faded into the end zone and fired high and long. Mitchell ... caught the ball around midfield and scampered untouched for a touchdown."|
|Karl Sweetan||Pat Studstill||Detroit Lions||at Baltimore Colts||L 45–14||October 16, 1966||"Studstill ... gathered in the pass at the Lion 45 on a dead run and raced on to pay dirt."|
|Sonny Jurgensen||Jerry Allen||Washington Redskins||at Chicago Bears||W 38–28||September 15, 1968||Allen caught the ball at the Washington 35 and ran the remaining 65 yards|
|Jim Plunkett||Cliff Branch||Los Angeles Raiders||at Washington Redskins||L 37–35||October 2, 1983||Branch caught the ball at the Raiders' 35 and ran the remaining 64 yards for the score.|
|Ron Jaworski||Mike Quick||Philadelphia Eagles||v. Atlanta Falcons||W 23–17 (OT)||November 10, 1985||"Jaworski hit Quick ...at about the 20. Quick ran the 80 yards for the score."|
|Stan Humphries||Tony Martin||San Diego Chargers||at Seattle Seahawks||W 24–10||September 18, 1994||Martin caught the ball at the 35, and with Patrick Hunter pursuing him, ran the remaining 65 yards to score.|
|Brett Favre||Robert Brooks||Green Bay Packers||at Chicago Bears||W 27–24||September 11, 1995||On Monday Night, Favre pump-faked a quick post pattern to Robert Brooks, who then ran an up-route that left Donnell Woolford in the dust. Brooks caught the ball at the Green Bay 32 and ran the remaining 68 yards untouched for the TD to put the Packers up 21–0 in the second quarter.|
|Trent Green||Marc Boerigter||Kansas City Chiefs||v. San Diego Chargers||W 24–22||December 22, 2002||Green took the snap and retreated deep into the Chiefs' end zone, then stepped up and heaved the ball toward Boerigter, a rookie receiver who was streaking down the middle. Boerigter took the ball in perfect stride at the Kansas City 40 and outran Rogers Beckett the remaining 60 yards.|
|Jeff Garcia||André Davis||Cleveland Browns||v. Cincinnati Bengals||W 34–17||October 17, 2004||Davis was near the Browns' 40-yard line when he caught the pass from Garcia.|
|Gus Frerotte||Bernard Berrian||Minnesota Vikings||v. Chicago Bears||W 34–14||November 30, 2008||Berrian caught the ball at the Vikings' 46 and ran the remaining 54 yards to score.|
|Tom Brady||Wes Welker||New England Patriots||at Miami Dolphins||W 38–24||September 12, 2011||Brady lofted a pass to Welker at the 17 from 7 yards deep in the end zone. Welker then stiff-armed defender Benny Sapp on his 83-yard sprint into the end zone.|
|Eli Manning||Victor Cruz||New York Giants||at New York Jets||W 29–14||December 24, 2011||Manning threw a pass to Cruz at the 11, which was followed by Cruz avoiding 3 tackles while running down the right sideline to score a touchdown.|
- "Skins Strike Through Air to Defeat Pirates", Frederick (Maryland) Post, October 16, 1939, p3
- Macrevace, Phillip (2007). The Redskins Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. p. 332. ISBN 978-1-59213-542-4.
- AP report, in the Lima (O.) News, September 16, 1963, p15
- AP report, "Unitas Sparkles as Colts Crush Detroit Lions 45–14", Ironwood (Mich.) Daily Globe, October 17, 1966, p8
- (UPI report) "Redskins Defeat Bears Behind Jurgensen 38–28, Cumberland (Maryland) News, September 16, 1968, p5
- AP report, "'Skins win over Raiders like another Super Bowl", Frederick (Maryland) News-Post, October 3, 1983, pD-1
- Sheridan, Phil (November 11, 1985). "Eagles survive against Falcons in overtime-Quick and Jaworski team up on 99-yard touchdown pass". Newspaperarchive.com (subscription). The Daily Intelligencer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. p. 3.
- Rick Telander, "A Means Machine", Sports Illustrated, September 26, 1994, p50
- "Chiefs Chargers Matchup Through the Years". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- Dulik, Brian (October 18, 2004). "Two backs, one big result". Newspaperarchive.com (subscription). Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio. p. 25.
- Davis, Nate (September 13, 2011). "Brady, Welker get kick out of 99-yard touchdown". USA Today. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
- Ehalt, Matt (December 24, 2011). "Cruz changes game with 99-yard touchdown". ESPN. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
- Additional sources