River City Relay

The River City Relay is a play in a National Football League (NFL) game involving the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars that took place on December 21, 2003, at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. With the Jaguars leading 20–13, the Saints used three laterals to score a touchdown as time expired in regulation. However, New Orleans kicker John Carney missed the ensuing extra point that would have sent the game into overtime, and instead gave Jacksonville the 20–19 victory.

River City Relay
TIAA Bank Field (then ALLTEL Stadium), site of the game.
New Orleans Saints
Jacksonville Jaguars
19 20
Head coach:
Jim Haslett
Head coach:
Jack Del Rio
1234 Total
NO 3736 19
JAX 01730 20
DateDecember 21, 2003
StadiumAlltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
RefereeGerald Austin[1]
TV in the United States
AnnouncersCurt Menefee and Tim Green


The Saints, at 7–7 entering the game, were attempting to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2000. However, they needed to win both of their final two games to have a chance at qualifying for the postseason. The Jaguars had already been eliminated from postseason contention. While the Saints led early on in the game 3–0 after a John Carney field goal, the scoring had been mostly dominated by the Jaguars. With just seven seconds left at the end of regulation, the Jaguars had built a 20–13 lead on the Saints.

The play

River city relay touchdown
Jerome Pathon scoring the touchdown

The Saints were on their own 25-yard line looking at second down and 10. Quarterback Aaron Brooks passed the ball to the right side of the field to receiver Donté Stallworth, who caught the pass at midfield. Stallworth then bounced off a tackle attempt by Jaguars cornerback Fernando Bryant and turned inside and broke two more tackles. The clock had already reached zero, and Stallworth pitched the ball to the 34-yard line to Michael Lewis, who ran the ball to the 25-yard line of Jacksonville. He then turned and pitched the ball to Deuce McAllister, who ran to the Jaguars' 20-yard line. McAllister then pitched the ball to the right side of the field to Jerome Pathon, who caught the ball at the 24-yard line of Jacksonville. Brooks, who had hustled all the way downfield, then laid a block on the last Jaguars defender and Pathon dove into the end-zone.

There was a lengthy delay while the officials determined that all of the ball transfers (after the pass to Stallworth) were indeed legal laterals. All the Saints needed was a John Carney extra point to send the game into overtime (Saints coach Jim Haslett eschewed a two-point conversion attempt to win the game immediately).


Carney lined up to kick the extra point, hit a dead push, and the kick sailed wide right. The famous reaction of Saints play-by-play radio announcer Jim Henderson was a horrified scream: "NOOOO!!! He missed the extra point wide right! Oh my God, how could he do that?"[2] With no time remaining on the clock, the game was over, giving the Jaguars an improbable 20–19 victory.

Earlier in the season, Coach Haslett had stated to the media that he trusted Carney so much, that he'd even stake his life on him. When reminded later that day of those same comments, Haslett stated, "Then I'd probably be dead right now. He's one of the great all-time kickers. I never would have guessed this would happen."[3]

With the loss, the Saints fell to 7–8 on the season and were eliminated from contention for the 2003 NFL playoffs. However, even if the Saints had won in overtime, they would have been eliminated from the playoffs, as the Dallas Cowboys won their tenth game of the season that day (9 was the highest possible number of wins the Saints could have had if they won) and the Seahawks eventually won their tenth game to gain a wild card. The Saints would, however, finish their season on a high note the next week with a 13–7 home victory over the playoff bound Dallas Cowboys. For the Jaguars, the victory would lift them to a 5–10 record. They would go on to lose the next week, 21–14, to the Atlanta Falcons.

The River City Relay later went on to win the 2004 Best Play ESPY Award. It was the last multi-lateral touchdown in an NFL game until the Miracle In Miami in 2018.


  • Referee: Gerald Austin (#34)
  • Umpire: Roy Ellison (#81)
  • Head Linesman: John Schleyer (#21)
  • Line Judge: Carl Johnson (#101)
  • Field Judge: Scott Edwards (#3)
  • Side Judge: Rick Patterson (#15)
  • Back Judge: Jim Howey (#37)

See also


  1. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200312210jax.htm
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ NFL Game Center: Post Game – New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars – 2003 Week 16

External links

2003 Jacksonville Jaguars season

The 2003 Jacksonville Jaguars season was the franchise's 9th season in the National Football League and the 1st under head coach Jack Del Rio. The Jaguars failed to improve upon their 6–10 regular season record in 2002 and did not make the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.

Oddly, despite being in existence since 1995, this season marked the first time that the Jaguars played the San Diego Chargers. This is due to old NFL scheduling formulas in place prior to 2002; the Jaguars had played the Chargers’ division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs four times; the Denver Broncos three times and the Oakland Raiders twice (though not since 1997).Jacksonville defeated New Orleans 20–19 in the week 16 game despite the River City Relay, a play that has gone down in NFL lore.

Week 3 was Mark Brunell’s last game as a Jaguar, as he was benched forcing rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich to take his spot for the rest of the season. Brunell left the team at the end of the season. The jaguars were 0-8 in road games this season.

2003 New Orleans Saints season

The 2003 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 37th season in the National Football League and the 28th to host games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. They failed to improve on their 9-7 record from 2002 and finished with a record of 8–8. This was the season of the River City Relay, a play that has gone down in NFL lore from a week 16 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Saints were 7-7 and needed a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Jaguars held a 20–13 lead with seven seconds left in regulation, and the Saints had possession on their own 25. In a scene evoking memories of The Play, Aaron Brooks passed to Donté Stallworth for 42 yards, Stallworth lateraled to Michael Lewis for 7 yards, Lewis lateraled to Deuce McAllister for 5 yards, and McAllister lateraled to Jerome Pathon for 21 yards and a touchdown. The score was 20–19, leaving only the extra point to force overtime. However, in an unlikely twist, John Carney, who in his career made 98.4% of extra points attempted and had not missed one in a full decade, inexplicably missed the kick wide right, causing the Saints to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.

2007 Trinity vs. Millsaps football game

The 2007 Trinity vs. Millsaps football game is best known for the memorable play that occurred in the game's last two seconds. On October 27, 2007, the NCAA Division III 19th-ranked Trinity University Tigers threw 15 lateral passes and scored a 61-yard touchdown to win a game against the 24th-ranked Millsaps College Majors as time expired in the game. Media sources called the play the "Mississippi Miracle" or "Lateralpalooza." ESPN and other sources said the play was probably "the longest play in college football history" in terms of how much time the play took to complete (over one minute). On January 7, 2008, the final play of the game was named the Pontiac Game Changing performance of the year.

2010 Dallas Cowboys season

The 2010 Dallas Cowboys season was the 51st season for the team in the National Football League, and the second season playing their home games at Cowboys Stadium. After falling to the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the 2009-10 NFL Playoffs, the Cowboys sought to defend their NFC East division title and contend for a Super Bowl Championship, particularly given that Super Bowl XLV would be played at Cowboys Stadium. However, this did not happen and after a 1–7 start Wade Phillips became the first coach in Cowboys history to be fired during the season. He was replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The Cowboys finished the season 6–10, 3rd place in the NFC East, and failed to reach the playoffs. However, under Garrett the team's record was 5–3 as compared to the 1–7 start under Phillips.

Best Play ESPY Award

The Best Play ESPY Award has been conferred annually since 2002 on the play in a single regular season or playoff game contested professionally under the auspices of one of the four major North American leagues or collegiately under the auspices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association adjudged to be the most outstanding or best.

Between 2002 and 2004, the award voting panel comprised variously fans; sportswriters and broadcasters, sports executives, and retired sportspersons, termed collectively experts; and ESPN personalities, but balloting thereafter has been exclusively by fans over the Internet from amongst choices selected by the ESPN Select Nominating Committee. The ESPY Awards ceremony is conducted in July and awards conferred reflect performance and achievement over the twelve months previous to presentation. In the last few years, the format has been: sixteen plays are placed in brackets (1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, etc.) The winners in voting then advance to the second round. The winners go to the finals, where voters select Best Play.

Conversion (gridiron football)

The conversion, try (American football, also known as a point(s) after touchdown, PAT, or extra point), or convert (Canadian football) occurs immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score one extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the manner of a field goal, or two points by bringing the ball into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown.

Attempts at a try or convert are scrimmage plays, with the ball initially placed at any point between the hash marks, at the option of the team making the attempt. The yard line that attempts are made from depends on the league and the type of try or convert being attempted.

If the try or convert is scored by kicking the ball through the uprights, the team gets an additional one point for their touchdown, bringing their total for that score from six points to seven. If two points are needed or desired, a two-point conversion may be attempted by running or passing from scrimmage. A successful touchdown conversion from scrimmage brings the score's total to eight.

Whether a team goes for one or two points, most rules regarding scrimmage downs, including scoring touchdowns and field goals, apply as if it were a normal American fourth-down or Canadian third-down play. Exceptions, including cases where the defense forces a turnover during a conversion attempt, vary between leagues and levels of play. One thing that sets the try apart from other plays in the NFL is that, apart from the actual points, ordinary statistics are not recorded on the try as they would be on a regular scrimmage play. For example, on December 4, 2016, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs made an interception on a try and physically returned it 99 yards for a defensive two-point conversion. However, because it occurred on a try, Berry did not get statistical credit for the 99 yards of return yardage; nor would a player ever be credited with passing, rushing, or receiving yardage on a try.

Jerome Pathon

Jerome Pathon (born December 16, 1975) is an American football coach and former wide receiver who played eight seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He is currently the wide receivers coach for the University of San Diego college football team.

John Carney (American football)

John Michael Carney (born April 20, 1964) is a retired American football placekicker. He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 1987. He played college football at Notre Dame.

Carney was also a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Giants. He was a Pro Bowl selection with the Chargers in 1994 and with the Giants in 2008. When he was released from the Saints' active roster in December 2009, Carney was third on the NFL career scoring list with a career total of 2,044 points. He was the last remaining player from the 1980s still active in professional football. He has also worked as a kicking consultant for the Saints.

Lateral pass

In American football and Canadian football, a lateral pass or lateral (officially backward pass in American football and onside pass in Canadian football) occurs when the ball carrier throws the football to a teammate in a direction parallel to or away from the opponents' goal line. A lateral pass is distinguished from a forward pass, in which the ball is thrown forward, towards the opposition's end zone. In a lateral pass the ball is not advanced, but unlike a forward pass a lateral may be attempted from anywhere on the field by any player to any player at any time.

While the forward pass is an invention of the North American games, the lateral and backward pass is also a part of rugby union and rugby league, where such passes are the norm. Compared to its use in rugby, laterals and backward passes are less common in North American football, due to a much greater focus on ball control in American football strategy; they are most commonly used by the quarterback, after taking the snap, to quickly transfer ("pitch") the ball a short distance to a nearby running back (or, rarely, wide receiver) on a rushing play. Laterals are also often seen as part of a last-minute desperation strategy or as part of a trick play. Examples of plays utilizing the lateral pass are the toss, flea flicker, hook and lateral, and buck-lateral.

Michael Lewis (wide receiver)

Michael Lee Lewis (born November 14, 1971) is a former American football wide receiver and return specialist who is currently the team ambassador of the New Orleans Saints. He was signed by the Louisiana Bayou Beast in 1998. He did not play college football.

Lewis was also a member of the New Orleans Thunder, New Jersey Red Dogs, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans VooDoo.

Miracle in Miami

The Miami Miracle, also known as the Miracle in Miami, was an American football play that took place at the end of a game on December 9, 2018, between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. Down 33–28 with 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins completed a 17-yard pass and two lateral passes resulting in a 69-yard touchdown by running back Kenyan Drake. It is the first walk-off game-winning touchdown in NFL history to involve multiple lateral passes, and the first multi-lateral touchdown since the River City Relay in December 2003. After the game, the play was known by several names, most commonly the "Miami Miracle" and the "Miracle in Miami". The play went on to win the Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year Award at the 8th Annual NFL Honors Award Show on February 2.

Music City Miracle

The Music City Miracle is an American football play that took place on January 8, 2000 during the National Football League (NFL)'s 1999–2000 playoffs. It occurred at the end of the Wild-Card playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills at Adelphia Coliseum, now known as Nissan Stadium, in Nashville, Tennessee. After the Bills had taken a 16–15 lead on a field goal with 16 seconds remaining in the game, Titans tight end Frank Wycheck threw a lateral pass across the field to Kevin Dyson on the ensuing kickoff return, and Dyson then ran 75 yards to score the winning touchdown and earn a 22–16 victory.

The Play (American football)

The Play was a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the Stanford Cardinal and California Golden Bears on Saturday, November 20, 1982. Given the circumstances and rivalry, the wild game that preceded it, the very unusual way in which The Play unfolded, and its lingering aftermath on players and fans, it is recognized as one of the most memorable plays in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports.

Stanford took a 20–19 lead on a field goal with four seconds left. The Golden Bears used five lateral passes on the ensuing kickoff return to score the winning touchdown and earn a 25–20 victory. Members of the Stanford Band came onto the field midway through the return, believing that the game was over, which added to the confusion and folklore. There remains disagreement over the legality of two of the backward pass attempts, adding to the passion surrounding the traditional rivalry of the annual "Big Game."

Game information
Division championships (3)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (25)
Wild card berths (5)
Division championships (7)
Conference championships (1)
League championships (1)
Ring of Honor
Current league affiliations
Seasons (53)
Related programs
Related articles
Super Bowl
Pro Bowl
World Bowl

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.