The 10 Most Shameless Abuses of Loopholes in Sports History
5. The A-11 Makes Defense a Nightmare
The A-11 in high school football works on a fairly simple principle: all 11 offensive players are eligible to receive some pigskin special airmail. Developed by two high school coaches in northern California in 2007, this is different than most strategies, and it became a loophole for a pretty simple reason...
Most football offensive strategies had about 150 to 200 plays. The A-11 had 16,000, thanks to a scrimmage kick loophole.
Unsurprisingly, it hasn't exactly caught on. For some reason, a loophole that makes defensive planning into a total nightmare and completely impossible to defend against has been seen as a wee bit unfair and unsporting. But, of course, the debate rages on, especially in high schools that would kind of like to win for once.
4. Russian Ice Dancers Clean and Jerk with Costume Belts
Source: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
Oksana Domina and Maxim Shabalin were Russian ice dancers with two dreams. The first dream was to offend the hell out of Aboriginal people with costumes that were about as racist as it gets before you hit the ice in a Klan hood. This dream was easily achieved.
The second dream was to make lifts easier. While watching ice dancing is so girly you actually grow breasts while you watch it, actually doing it is pretty hard, especially when you have to lug some woman over your head. Sure, she's tiny and probably anorexic, but that's still 70 pounds you've got to lift over your head and hold while moving at high speeds on a slippery surface. That's not easy for anybody.
Luckily, Domina and Shabalin hit on a really obvious idea: just wear a belt to grab and haul, which they shamelessly did at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Now if they could just grasp that it's not actually okay to make fun of black people, they might be on to something.
3. The Patriots Use a Snow Plow
Source: Al Messerschmidt Archive/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
On December 12, 1982, the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots were playing a tough game. Not because they were evenly matched teams or anything, because for some reason, instead of staying indoors with a nice cup of cocoa and a good book, they were playing football. In December. In New England. Generally, when it's December in New England, the weather's horrible, and December 12 had decided to be a real overachiever and start dumping snow on the game, something that went all day and made it a scoreless, boring slog.
But in the fourth quarter, Patriots coach Ron Meyer had a great idea. After all, the stadium had snowplows, and they could just clear off a place for the Patriot placekicker, which they did, and this led to the one scoring moment in the game. The Dolphins, needless to say, were not given the same consideration.
The NFL, sheepishly, banned snowplows on the field a few years later. Meanwhile, the plow itself has pride of place as an exhibit, along with anything else that helped the Patriots win a game in the '80s, so there are, like, five inanimate objects there. Maybe they should have had it handy for that Super Bowl...just saying.
2. Brian Kownacki Flips for Home
Brian Kownacki, a player on Fordham's baseball team, had already had a rough game. He'd been beaned not once, not twice, but three times, once in the wrist and twice in the shoulder. He was running for home this past April in a game against Iona, but was faced with a problem. Namely the catcher, with the ball, waiting in front of home plate to tag him out. Kownacki had to stay on the line and in the airspace above the line in order to stay within the rules.
But the rules said nothing about going airborne, so Kownacki simply did a leaping flip over the catcher and tagged home. Iona pretty vigorously argued against it being legal, but it turns out that as long as he didn't touch the catcher, and stayed on the line, the play is perfectly legal according to the rulebook.
Besides, he'd gotten beaned three times. Three! He earned the right to flip over that catcher!
1. Ayrton Senna Crashes into His Opponent for Victory
Source: Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
In 1990, Ayrton Senna had one problem, and that problem was named Alain Prost.
Senna, a Grand Prix racer, had the entire thing in the bag based entirely on points, provided Alain Prost didn't win. Senna didn't have to win the final race, he didn't even need to finish. He just needed to keep Alain Prost from landing a high-ranking position.
So Senna got out his car, got ready to run a good race, and win on merit, and then decided to hell with all that and crashed into Prost, driving him off the road and costing Prost not just any shot at Senna's World Cup standing, but also any chance of winning the Constructor's Cup.
Which we guess is one way to do it, but we find ourselves wondering if Senna had realized at any moment that he might actually wind up killing a guy for an oversized knickknack. You'd think just doing your best on the race would be a lot easier.