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Odell Beckham Jr.'s mom was a Minnesota track star, credits her for amazing catch


Did you know that the NFL's play of the year – a one-handed magician-like catch by Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Sunday night – might not have happened if not for the genetic code of a former Minnesota high school track star?

Giants quarterback Eli Manning dropped back to pass and lofted a deep ball down the right sideline to Beckham. The rookie was mauled by a Dallas Cowboys defensive back, but it wasn't enough to stop him from making a gravity-defying touchdown grab.

Beckham, like his mother, Heather Van Norman, has really long fingers. His hands, measured at 10 inches at the NFL Combine in February, were the biggest among wide receivers in the 2014 NFL Draft.

"I guess I've got to thank my mom for the long fingers," Beckham said after Sunday's game, according to "Her hands are maybe a half-inch shorter than mine. I know I felt [the ball] it in those two fingers and I tried my best to pull it in."

Patrick Reusse wrote a column a little over a year ago profiling Van Norman's life, which guided her from high school sprinting titles at Windom to a year at the University of Minnesota and all the way to Louisiana State University – the same college Beckham Jr. starred at.

Van Norman spent only one year at the U of M before transferring to LSU.

During their conversation last year, Van Norman explained something about her son that the rest of the world realized Sunday night.

"He hit the genetic jackpot," she said.

A track star mother and a father who also played football at LSU created something Giants fans believe will be special for a long time to come.

Small world, right?

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