Let me be clear, I know what this cheese of a microwaved pizza level of a hot take means. I’ve thought about this for a long time. This conclusion isn’t the result of quarantine brain. I got to this termination after years of research, scanning other one-handed catches and Flying Dog Pool Hopping Deck Beer. Don’t bother testing me to see if I was enhanced, I was. But my conclusion is the same. Orande Gadsden had the best one-handed catch of all time.
Before We Start
One thing before I get started with the evidence. I’ve been a Dolphin’s fan for 27 years and I thoroughly enjoyed Orande Gadsden’s game. Orande seemed like a grinder to me then and he still does. He never put up gaudy numbers, but when he was on the field, he was reliable. I gave him the nickname of Big Catch because he made some of the most ridiculous, especially one-handed, catches you’ll see. And this was back in the late ’90s/early 2000s where one-handed catches only happened a few times a year. It wasn’t like today where it seems like there’s a quota of at least two one-handers a game. If you want to say that my fandom of Orande “Big Catch” Gadsden clouds my judgment, go for it. But I’ll have you know I’ve never thought more clearly in my life.
Orande, like many others, would have thrived in the NFL today. He wasn’t very fast, but he ran crisp routes and had fantastic hands. With defenses not being allowed to touch anybody in today’s game, he would have free reign to go over the middle with no fear. Back when he was playing, the NFL was just starting to move away from decapitating anyone going over the middle. In his first four seasons, Orande averaged 744 yards. Taking into account the rules of today, I have no problem penciling him in for around 1,000 yards a season in today’s NFL.
It’s also worth noting that Orande wasn’t a one-trick pony when it came to making spectacular catches. Roll that beautiful one-handed catch footage.
That looks familiar, doesn’t it? We’ll get to that.
The Runner Ups
This isn’t to say that nobody has ever made a great one-handed catch since Gadsden. There’s been plenty that has been burned into our memories or should be.
Those catches, to me, are out of this world. Of course, there are plenty more to pick from. But those catches have never left my brain. But Orande’s catch really only has one grab catch to up to and you know exactly what one it is.
That was a phenomenal catch. It had everything. It had the difficulty, the cleanness of securing the ball, and the defender right up on him.
Now, here’s the catch that I think is the best one-handed catch of all time.
The Case For Orande
There are multiple reasons that I take Gadsden’s catch over Beckham’s. First, Orande had Jay Fiedler throwing him the ball instead of probable Hall of Famer Eli Manning. Just knowing that there is a more than 50 percent chance of Fiedler getting you killed is worth something. Fiedler led Gadsden over the middle, a middle which as I said was no man’s land. Fortunately, Gadsden survived. Like Beckham, Gadsden palmed the ball. But the biggest difference between the catches is that Gadsden palmed the belly of the ball as it was coming in straight. Beckham had the luxury of the ball down to him instead of at him. That’s the biggest reason why I take Gadsden’s catch over Beckham’s.
You don’t have to wonder why Gadsden’s catch gets easily forgotten when it comes to one-handed catches especially being compared to Odell Beckham. This was a week two game against the Jets, with a 1 PM kick-off where Gadsden caught a 23-yard catch in the second quarter. Notice that Gadsden didn’t score a TD and that the game wasn’t on Sunday night football. Oh, and there wasn’t much of an internet back then. So, there wasn’t a chance for folks’ brains to burst all over social media. This and the fact that Orande Gadsden wasn’t Odell Beckham makes Beckham’s catch that more meaningful. Beckham is and will always be a trillion times more popular than Orande Gadsden. But which one-handed catch was better? Give me “Big Catch” Gadsden’s all day.