The 10 Most Pathetic Fumbles in Sports History
5. Jackie Smith’s Drop Flop
I have no idea what it’s like playing in a Super Bowl. The pressure must be intense. Your every move and route has to be run on a precise run of execution where one bead of improperly dropped sweat can cost you the Lombardi trophy. Your actions are being televised on a national stage where your every move is being scrutinized by every armchair coach in the country who still thinks he could beat up Warren Moon if Moon had one less leg and the fight took place underwater.
Hall of famer Jackie Smith fell victim to that intense, rock-crushing pressure in 1979 when he dropped a pass that could have given his Dallas Cowboys a chance to tie and win Super Bowl XIII in overtime, a pass that he himself admitted was “catchable.” The game ended up being his last. If only the NFL rulebook had a section on “do-overs...”
4. Joe Pisarcik’s Wack Snap
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Lots of sporting legends are well known for the wrong reason. Peter McNeely is forever known as that white guy who had his clock cleaned by Mike Tyson in less time than it takes to boil an egg. Bill Gramatica is forever known as that Cardinals kicker who ended his career tearing his knee up while celebrating a field goal. I’m eagerly awaiting the athlete who ended his career in a horrible coin toss accident.
Former New York Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik has been spot-welded to the famed “Miracle at the Meadowlands” in 1978 when an ill-timed snap late in the game caused a last-minute fumble that gave the Philadelphia Eagles an unlikely win. The moment happened so fast that the network airing the game was still running the credits through the game’s final seconds when Herman Edwards powered the ball through the end zone for the winning touchdown. The team could have just kneeled to end the game, but stubborn pride forced them to call a run play that led to the ill-timed fumble. Oh stubborn stupidity, will you and “whiskey-soaked logic” ever cease to endlessly amuse me?
3. Jim Marshall’s Wrong Way Run
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Being the young spark on a professional team might help you run faster, work harder, and play longer, but it doesn’t make you “book-smarter.” I’m told that’s an actual word.
Jim Marshall learned that lesson the hard way in 1964 when he picked up a dropped ball and ran the pigskin into the end zone for what he thought was a touchdown. The problem is he ran it into his “own” end zone for what was actually a safety. That’s like accidentally passing the basketball to a guy on the other team in the final seconds of a very close NCAA championship game. Wait a minute...
2. Fred Brown’s Accidental Pass to a Guy on the Other Team in The Final Seconds of the NCAA Championship Game
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Georgetown and North Carolina met in the Superdome in 1982 to take each down in a glorious exercise of collegiate athleticism. What New Orleans got was a game with the comedic equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Nearsighted Athletes of America’s “Four-Eyed Falcons.” The game featured a who’s who of future NBA stars such as Patrick Ewing, James Worthy, and the great Michael Jordan. Brown, however, became known for the ill-timed pass he gave to Worthy in the game’s final seconds when both teams were separated by just a point. Of course, the only problem is Worthy and Brown were on separate teams. The only way this moment could have become sweeter is if Brown dropped out of basketball to become an optometrist.
1. Bill Buckner Loses the World Series Between His Legs
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When it comes to covering great moments in error-dom, I would be remiss without mentioning God’s least favorite child, Bill Buckner.
His infamous error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series not only cost the Boston Red Sox their chance at a win, but it cost him a reputation that took years of blood, sweat, and toil to achieve. A lot more than a silly ball went through his legs on that fateful night. Of course he and his fans have moved on, having hailed him as one of the more memorable players in the Red Sox franchise. The rest of us, however, will forever plague his name as having “Bucknered” when we accidentally choke in extremely momentous moments, just like when we “Homer” a dumb move into a great moment, “Lohan” an entire bottle of $100 vodka, or “Cruise” up and down on our mother’s freshly cleaned couch.