Trick plays don’t always work.
But when they do, they’re a thing of beauty.
Although they’re far more common in backyards and video games than they are on professional or college gridirons, trick plays are easily one of the most invigorating play categories in all of sports. They serve as football’s equivalent to inside-the-park home runs. They grab your attention from beginning until thrilling end — and leave you amped with adrenaline throughout.
They’re also what make football the ultimate team sport. Good trick plays seldom happen due to the skill of just one player. Whether they come due to a play action, a reverse, a lateral, or a hidden ball trick, trick plays almost always take a village. The amount of teamwork required on a trick play is unparalleled in just about any other sport imaginable.
They’re even more memorable than your run-of-the-mill go-ahead scoring play when they come at a key time. Nothing feels more rewarding than not only scoring, but completely fooling your opponent with a play they don’t even see coming. Hence the “trick” part of “trick play,” right?
In the same vein, there’s no worse feeling than being on the receiving end of a trick play. Just ask Jets fans what they think of Dan Marino’s “Fake Spike,” which still cuts deep almost a quarter-century after it happened. Bills fans would likely say the same about the “Music City Miracle,” which was their most recent playoff memory for almost 20 years.
Any successful trick play is going to garner an insane amounts of retweets, likes, and shares. But not all trick plays are created equal: Some are legendary, others are just cheap thrills. So to separate the great from the good, here are the definitive 50 greatest trick plays in college and pro football history.