10 Worst Mistakes in Sports History
If they could do it over again, they'd probably think twice: A look at funny sports stories that made major headlines.
Super Bowl XLVII Blackout
It will surely live on in the pantheon of Super Bowl fails, along with Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction and Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in ’91. But it’s not on sportswriter Steve Madden’s list of the worst blunders in sports history. Here are his top five.—David Noonan, National Affairs Editor
1919: Red Sox Sell Homer Hero
Sox owner at the time Harry Frazee sells baseball’s biggest star to the Yankees for $100,000. Babe Ruth proceeds to hit 659 homers and lead the Yanks to four World Series in the next 15 seasons. The cursed Sox wait 86 years to win their next series. Check out these Vintage Baseball Photos Die-Hard Fans Will Appreciate.
1968: Girl Hijacks Game
NBC’s broadcast of a key NFL game between the Jets and Raiders runs long due to injury and penalty time-outs. With one minute to go and the Jets leading 32–29, the network switches to the movie, the story of a Swiss orphan girl. Oakland scores twice in the last minute to win 43–32. It might have been more appropriate to put on one of the 10 best football movies of all time.
1982: Breaking Up the Band
The Stanford Cardinals football team took a one-point lead in a rivalry game with the University of California’s Golden Bears, only four seconds remaining on the clock. After a squib kick from Stanford, the Golden Bears were able to connect an improbable five lateral passes to bring it back for a touchdown—juking defenders and tuba players alike as Standford’s marching band had wandered on the field, thinking the game as good as over.
1984: Orange Bowl Blunder
The undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers were down by one point after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Hurricanes in the fourth quarter of the 1984 Orange Bowl. Instead of kicking the extra point and tying things up, the Cornhuskers tried for a two-point conversion—and failed. The decision lost the Cornhuskers their national championship, along with their perfect season.
1993: Ill-Timed Time Out
University of Michigan basketball star Chris Webber calls a time-out with 11 seconds left as his Wolverines trail North Carolina 73–71 in the national championship game. Only problem: Michigan has no time-outs left. He’s called for a technical foul, and Michigan loses, 77–71.
1993: Questionable Career Change
At the height of his career, and after winning three consecutive NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan announces he has lost his desire for basketball and is retiring to pursue a career in baseball. He goes on to bat .202 for the AA Birmingham Barons.
2000: Passing on the Quarterback
Tom Brady was passed on by every team in the NFL multiple times in the 2000 NFL Draft, finally going to the New England Patriots in the sixth round at #199. Everyone who had a hand in selecting draft picks that year has got to be kicking themselves now, as Brady has gone on appear in nine Super Bowls, winning six, and was voted to six Pro Bowls.
2003: Fan Interference
The Chicago Cubs were leading the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series’ eighth inning when Marlins batter Luis Castillo stepped up to the plate, smacking the ball high and foul. Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou went up for the catch, but so did an overeager Cubs fan, reaching over the wall and onto the field, knocking it away from Alou in the process. The home team was prevented from getting the out, then giving up eight runs in the inning. The Cubs went on to lose the game and the series, extending their then 95-year championship drought.
2006: Snowboarder Shreds Shot at Gold
U.S. snowboarding darling Lindsey Jacobellis was heavily favored going into 2006 Winter Olympics Snowboard Cross final in Turin, and rightfully so with none of her fellow racers in sight as she bore closer on the finish line. Celebrating her lead, Jacobellis wiped out on the second to last jump, and Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden zipped by to take the gold.
2010: LeBron Broadcast
Ohio native and now Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James announces his decision to join the Miami Heat in a one-hour prime-time TV special after playing eight seasons with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. The result: His public-view “Q-score” takes a beating. James becomes a punch line for fans who consider the hometown hero a turncoat. In a bad mood after reliving these sports mistakes? Cheer yourself up with our favorite sports jokes.