There are few more thrilling events in an NFL game than the sight of a runner bursting through the defensive line and charging downfield.
Like the 100 metres at an Olympic Games, the combination of speed and power is a sight to behold as they cover the length of the field with blinding speed.
This season, we witnessed only the third 109-yard touchdown in NFL history as Jacksonville’s Jamal Agnew took the ball from the very back of his own endzone to the house in the Jaguars’ Week Three defeat to the Arizona Cardinals.
Agnew’s touchdown is the highlight of what has been another forgettable season for the Jags otherwise with the franchise 16/1 to record a winless season, while they are 3/1 to register the fewest regular season wins.
Ahead of Jacksonville heading to London this weekend to face Miami, now seems like a good time to take a closer look at Agnew’s efforts, alongside the two other men who have guaranteed their names will go down in history with touchdown records that can never be broken.
Antonio Cromartie (San Diego Chargers)
The first man to enter the record books with a 109-yard touchdown was San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie. The Bolts have had issues on special teams for decades but Cromartie ensured they’d have at least one highlight to call upon when taking on the Minnesota Vikings in Week Nine of the 2007 season.
Cromartie positioned himself at the back of the endzone for Minnesota kicker Ryan Longwell’s 58-yard field goal try and displayed great athleticism just to catch the kick as it dropped short. The best was yet to come though as he set off down the right sideline, leaving Vikings defenders trailing in his wake as he gave the Chargers a 14-7 lead.
Cromartie’s touchdown wasn’t the only record set that night as Vikings running back Adrian Peterson burst into life after half time to register an unprecedented 296 rushing yards as Minnesota won the game 35-17.
Cordarrelle Patterson (Minnesota Vikings)
The Vikings were on the right end of a 109-yard TD in 2013 when Cordarrelle Patterson decided he was going to light up their Sunday Night Football showdown with NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers failed to find touch from the opening kick-off as Patterson kept the ball alive and produced arguably the best run on this list, showing not just tremendous speed but amazing agility as he danced through the Green Bay ranks to score.
That remarkable touchdown was the highlight of the 2013 first round draft pick’s stay in Minnesota as he failed to make a sustained impact. He has enjoyed a bounce-back season at Atlanta this year though, while teams will always need to be wary of kicking to Patterson, his score against the Packers being the first of eight kick return TDs in his career.
Jamal Agnew (Jacksonville Jaguars)
When Arizona kicker Matt Prater stepped on to the field in September, little did he know that his attempts at making NFL history would backfire so spectacularly. Prater was attempting a record-breaking 68-yeard field goal at the end of the first half and fell just short, allowing Agnew to bring the ball out of the endzone.
The wide receiver was able to avoid two tackles before moving through the gears to take it the length of the field, giving Jacksonville an unlikely like over the Cardinals. Arizona would come back to win 31-19 to remain undefeated and are now 14/1 to win the Super Bowl but that doesn’t take away from Agnew’s moment in the sun.
Best of the rest
Nine players have fallen just one yard short of entering the NFL record books by registering 108-yard touchdowns. Amongst them are David Jonson and Randall Cobb, who are still playing in the league, while serial long touchdown specialist Devin Hester also makes the list.
Only one man features on there twice though, Jacoby Jones. In 2012, Jones returned a kick-off from the Dallas Cowboys when part of the Baltimore Ravens before repeating the trick on an even bigger stage later in the season.
Jones is the proud owner of the longest touchdown in Super Bowl history having gone wire-to-wire in Baltimore’s 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
*All odds correct at time of writing