17. Bert Emanuel’s Catch
“I don’t think you can take that one away from him,” John Madden reassured fans. However, Bill Carollo and his team didn’t hear him. Emanuel caught the ball after Shaun King passed it upfield. The wideout went to the ground and the ball brushed the surface but he never lost his grip on it. This made it perfectly legal in the eyes of everybody watching except for Carollo and co (via ESPN).
They needlessly agreed that it was an incomplete pass because the tip of the ball hit the ground. Then, the Rams snatched the game out of the Bucs’ hands and went to the Super Bowl. It was crushing for Emanuel and his teammates but there was nothing they could do. Eventually, the NFL clarified the rule but it was too late for Tampa Bay as they lost the NFC Championship Game.