Few have succeeded in actually pulling one off. Those that have worked usually wind up with some kind of cool nickname, like the Immaculate Reception or the Music City Miracle.
The Steelers very nearly added another miraculous end-of-game play to the annals in their 34-28 loss to the Dolphins at Heinz Field.
With three seconds remaining and the ball at the Pittsburgh 26, the Steelers needed something special to pull out a much-needed win.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dropped back and threw a pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders at the 40. Sanders ran forward to the Pittsburgh 46, then turned and flipped the ball to receiver Jerricho Cotchery at the 44.
Looking as if he was playing a game of hot potato, Cotchery immediately tossed the ball back to running back Le'Veon Bell, who threw the ball back across the field to offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert.
Gilbert ran with the ball across the field and flipped it backward to Roethlisberger at the Pittsburgh 27.
Then things got interesting.
"That's just making something happen," said Roethlisberger.
"I thought ‘Wow,'" said Sanders. "'He has a chance.'"
Brown juked Clemons to the inside, then went back to the outside and ran around a diving tackle attempt along the sideline as he sprinted into the end zone. The side judge immediately ran up and marked a spot at the Miami 12 where he said Brown had stepped out of bounds.
"The referee came up to me and said, ‘Just so you know, everything is going to have to be reviewed,'" said Roethlisberger. "I knew mine was good. I thought the rest of them were. That's one of those plays that you would have liked to have let it go and then let replay overturn it. But he obviously saw something and he blew it dead."
The play wasn't reviewed by game officials, but replays showed Brown catching the edge of the sideline ever so slightly.
Brown thought he had scored.
"I thought I had it clean," said Brown, who had five receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown while joining Hines Ward as the only players to record 90 receptions in a season.
"I thought I separated really good getting to the sideline – but it didn't seem quite enough."
As a result, the Steelers came up inches short of beating the Dolphins.
"That would have been one of the greatest plays ever," said Sanders.
Instead, it just goes down as a footnote as a play that nearly worked.
"I really couldn't tell," said Cotchery. "I felt like he (scored). But I didn't have the angle that the referees did. Those guys get paid to do that job and do a great job of it."
"I don't know if he stepped out or not. But they say he did and we sit here at 5-8."