The 100 Dumbest Plays in Sports History
Amidst the awe-inspiring athletic performances displayed on a daily basis is a collection of ludicrous decisions made by eager, yet often-misguided athletes.
Whether their lack of focus led to a jaw-dropping open-net miss or their arrogance and premature celebration eliminated an obvious touchdown, these athletes have cemented their names in sports lore for the wrong reasons.
In the wild realm of professional athletics, there is perhaps just as much humorous failure as there is high-flying success.
Let's take a look at the dumbest plays in sports history.
100. DeSean Jackson Welcomes Himself to the League
During the rookie season of a promising yet eventually boastful career, former Cal standout DeSean Jackson was yearning for immediate appreciation.
A perfect pass from former Eagle Donovan McNabb to his speedy receiver lost all credibility when Jackson celebrated a bit too early.
99. JaMarcus Russell's Career in a Nutshell
There are few names that ring with such a heinous tone as that of JaMarcus Russell, considering the former first overall pick essentially robbed the Oakland Raiders of $32 million guaranteed during his mediocre tenure in the NFL.
As he completes a ballerina's plié in the dirt, his resulting lack of stability seems to define a short career.
98. Luke Walton's Memorable Bucket
As his father sits back and enjoys his legacy, Lakers backup forward Luke Walton sits on the bench with a career average of 5.0 points per game.
His inconsistently mediocre play was never as dissected as it was during this game against the Rockets.
Apparently the apple falls far from the tree.
97. Yakubu Aiyegbeni Measures Incorrectly
As the third-highest scorer in the history of the Nigerian national team, it's only natural that Yakubu Aiyegbeni would miss an easy goal from three meters out against South Korea during the 2010 World Cup.
While his penalty shot later in the game would secure a 2-2 draw, it wasn't enough to advance his team out of the group stages.
96. David Villa Gets Too Eager
As Spanish footballer David Villa gingerly trounced forward to push this easy goal into the net, a distraction took over.
Perhaps Sara Carbonero's engaging pupils were radiating from the sidelines.
95. Rex Grossman Gets Warmed Up
This man may seem like a legend after the atrocious job Caleb Hanie did during his time in place of an injured Jay Cutler this season, but Rex Grossman doesn't seem fully prepped for his position.
While it's not in the game itself, Grossman's ugly warmup pass doesn't quite give fans the optimism they were undoubtedly yearning for.
Let's try that again.
94. Khalid Askri Is in a Rush
While Moroccan goalie Khalid Askri clearly thought he saw a fat lady singing, his opponent wasn't truly convinced.
After a masterful save, Askri walked off with a confident posture, slamming his fist against his chest while celebrating.
The ball had other ideas.
93. Phil Costa Costs His Team a Play
While he may have blamed the Washington Redskins' chatty demeanor for his four botched snaps, this wasn't the first or the last time Cowboys center Phil Costa hiked the ball whenever he pleased.
Perhaps he's trying to give his dazed quarterback a wakeup call.
92. A Miserable Highlight
In retrospect, doing nothing would have been more effective than an aggressive push into the net.
Following an atrocious approach by the goalie, epic failure results.
91. Ronald Flemons Learns His Lesson
There's a reason this former Texas A&M defensive end is playing for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts and not the Atlanta Falcons, who drafted him in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL draft.
For Ronald Flemons, a sure touchdown was a far cry from reality.
90. Patrik Stefan Proves His Worth
The 1999 first overall pick, Patrik Stefan defined his career with one memorable play.
After failing mightily with the Atlanta Thrashers for several years, the promising Czech center found himself in Dallas, where he singlehandedly cost the Stars a win on this night.
While the open-net miss was jaw-dropping, the score on the other end in the waning seconds was cause for nausea.
89. Pervis Pasco Stiffens Up
During the 2003 Big 12 tournament, Kansas State's Pervis Pasco celebrated a bit too early following a successful basket by his Wildcats with three seconds remaining.
Few can say they didn't expect this epic ending.
88. Paul Robinson Hits Bump in the Road
While it's fair to blame the bumpy field, English goalie Paul Robinson's lackadaisical attempt at kicking the ball can't possibly go unnoticed.
Next time he'll get two hands on the ball.
87. Vesa Toskala Gets Bored
While the Islanders rarely receive any kind of luck, they finally garnered some type of appreciation on this night in 2008.
Islanders defenseman Rob Davison harmlessly rocketed a short-handed shot at Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala.
As the puck traveled 197 feet, Toskala's saliva seemingly began to pile up in the corner of his mouth, eventually clouding his vision.
86. Joe Pisarcik Sparks a Miracle
As the credits rolled down the screen and the announcers discussed the Giants' playoff picture, quarterback Joe Pisarcik attempted to calmly hand the ball off to Larry Csonka rather than take a knee to kill the clock.
Instead, Pisarcik fumbled, and Herman Edwards (who obviously played to win the game) picked up the ball and trampled into the end zone to defeat the New York heartbreakers.
85. A Master at Work
What at first looks like a phenomenal shot from an opposing forward turns out to be a horrific attempt at wrapping the puck around the boards.
Perhaps he just wanted to display his masterful accuracy.
84. Blake Griffin Is Finally Stopped
While we don't fully blame this budding star for his humorous yet frightening accident, we will judge him on his form.
High-flying phenom Blake Griffin continues to cause Los Angeles hearts to temporarily stop beating with his fearless approach towards the net.
83. Landon Donovan Can't Be Contained
This play had a such a magical aura to it that superstar Landon Donovan clearly faked himself out.
With the United States up 2-0 in the 51st minute over Canada, it seemingly tarnished all its previous positives with one epic fail.
82. Ivan Vishnevskiy Learns the Basics
Down 3-2, the battling Stars were looking to tie the game against the prolific Sharks with less than a minute remaining.
Unfortunately, rookie defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy seemingly missed puck-control drills that week.
81. Jim Zorn Pressures His Team
While former Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn must be applauded for his last-second effort to deceive the rival New York Giants, his team's execution was slightly abominable.
Considering his team went 4-12 in 2009, it's safe to say this play should have been scrapped long ago.
80. Dennis Wideman Beats Himself
Now with the Washington Capitals, defenseman Dennis Wideman must reminisce about his high-flying miss with the St. Louis Blues during this memorable shootout.
Without being touched by the opposing goalie, he seemingly only eluded himself.
79. Stevie Johnson Blames the Higher-Ups
While we don't disrespect this promising receiver for dropping this precisely-placed pigskin from Ryan Fitzpatrick during a potential upset of the Steelers, we wholeheartedly disagree with Stevie Johnson's decision to blame the botch on God.
Professionals don't make excuses.
78. A Forlorn Diego Forlan
With eons of time and defenders nowhere in sight, Uruguayan footballer Diego Forlan undoubtedly got a bit too confident in this huge opportunity that presented itself.
Most baffling are the commentators, who seem to be changing their dialects as the seconds progress.
77. Brandon Jennings Alters the Rules
At 6'1" and 169 pounds, the speedy Brandon Jennings is almost invisible on the court.
He almost used his deceptive size to his advantage in this crucial free-throw moment.
His poker face was impeccable.
76. The Toughness of Ryan Raburn
Some may call this a fail, others an embarrassment, but we look at this botched catch as a ridiculous attempt at securing an out.
With Miguel Olivo's smash flying quickly towards left field, Ryan Raburn made an interesting choice.
This was certainly more memorable than an athletic catch.
75. Steve Smith Introduces Himself
During the third period of Game 7 against the rival Calgary Flames in the 1986 Smythe Division finals, the Edmonton Oilers' own Steve Smith made a costly mistake that would never be forgotten.
While he eventually had a prosperous 15-year career as a stout defenseman, his rookie year saw a crucial mistake that seemingly headlined the rest of his tenure.
74. Fred Brown Passes on a Win
In the heat of the moment, magical mistakes often take effect and aim to rewrite the history books.
After Michael Jordan scored to put UNC up by one over Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA championship, Fred Brown ran down the court with a full head of steam.
His misguided and instinctual pass to a shocked James Worthy secured a win for the Tar Heels.
73. Emanuele Giaccherini Can't Catch a Break
How Italian footballer Emanuele Giaccherini ever made the Juventus squad is baffling to most after watching this catastrophe.
72. Lindsey Jacobellis Starts Steaming
A seven-time snowboard cross champion at the X Games, Lindsey Jacobellis clearly couldn't handle the illustrious moment she was set to experience at her Olympics debut in 2006.
While she still came in second, her premature celebration cost her immortality.
71. Glen Davis Learns on the Run
With a nickname like "Big Baby," it's curious as to how former Celtics role player Glen Davis had the ability to stuff himself with such a zealous determination.
As the court began to open up, it became clear he never had a chance.
70. Robert Green Continues to Develop
As he glares at the clouds in disbelief, England goalie Robert Green can't believe he's actually a professional footballer.
69. Tony Romo Can't Handle His Responsibilities
This was the botch heard round the world.
Facing the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 NFC Wild Card Round, the Cowboys needed only a 19-yard field goal to move on.
Tony Romo seemingly couldn't handle the easiest responsibility on his agenda.
68. A Hindered Ed Belfour
Considering this was during the 1993 NHL All-Star Game, it's safe to assume goalie Ed Belfour was a bit inebriated the night before.
Rumor has it that alcohol can often hinder one's eye-hand coordination.
67. Snack Time for Mike Tyson
The start of a steady decline for Iron Mike began with this nutritious snack.
66. Marion Barber Gets Selfish
With a chance to run the clock down and end Tim Tebow's night, Bears tailback Marion Barber yearned for that extra half inch.
By getting it, the hard-nosed runner also ran out of bounds and killed the clock.
Barber eventually fumbled on the next drive and gave the steaming Broncos several chances at victory, which they appreciatively took.
65. Chris Kaman's Routine
He may have a modest yet far from noteworthy career average of 11.8 points per game, but Hornets center Chris Kaman clearly expected to be well known when he was with the Clippers.
This referee clearly didn't have the patience to wait for his routine, as tempers began to fly.
The impending inbound violation by the Knicks ended an ugly series for both teams.
64. A Failure from the Start
As this Texas Tech onside kick spins in place, yearning for a pair of eager hands, the Baylor squad looks on in disbelief.
Six points were naturally imminent.
63. Metta World Peace Makes Peace
Former Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace may have started this fight, but notorious former bad boy Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) sure finished it.
62. Hands to the Face
It's called football for a reason.
61. John Carney Becomes Immortal
John Carney's name will forever haunt the minds of New Orleans fans.
After scoring a touchdown to potentially tie the game and send it to overtime, the Saints only needed an easy extra point.
The play call wasn't dumb, but the execution was far from pleasant.
60. Garo Yepremian Tries a New Position
Following a botched field-goal attempt, former Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian almost singlehandedly ruined a perfect season for his team during the 1973 Super Bowl.
There's a reason he wasn't groomed to be a signal-caller.
59. Jean Van de Velde Coughs It Up
After making it to the 18th hole of the 1999 British Open, needing only a double-bogey six to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to win the tournament, Jean Van de Velde seemingly hit a block in his thus far error-free road.
A series of baffling mistakes led to a triple-bogey seven and a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie.
Lawrie would reign supreme.
58. Zinedine Zidane Gets Heady
The head-butt heard round the world, France star Zinedine Zidane would send Italian defender Marco Materazzi a strong message after the two tossed classless comments at each other.
We must commend his stellar form.
57. Alexander Semin Is Not Messing Around
After a rock-hard check and a bit of flirting, Marc Staal and Alexander Semin engage in what would become arguably the most epic cat fight of all time.
With pads ripped off and hair tossed, the other Alex on the Washington Capitals squad throws several half-hearted slaps in a likely attempt to resist a violent mess.
Seemingly more of a massage than a beating, Semin's actions continue to cause league-wide bewilderment.
56. Channing Frye Shows off His Arm
Former Arizona star Channing Frye's baffling Hail Mary did more than just cause former coach Isiah Thomas to smirk.
These types of plays defined the recent collection of Knickerbocker units.
55. A Counterproductive Attempt
Onside kicks continue to fail mightily.
54. Earnest Byner Can't Hang on
Following a gentle scrape of his jersey in the waning moments of the 1987 AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns halfback Earnest Byner coughs the ball up on the 3-yard line.
Down 38-31 with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, this eager yet lackadaisical carrier tossed away any chance at a comeback.
53. Gus Frerotte Is Ahead of the Game
While we embrace the passionate enthusiasm, we're baffled as to why journeyman quarterback Gus Frerotte felt it necessary to aggressively concuss himself after his rare score.
However, it's not as if this accident hindered his career any further.
52. LeBron James Travels Far and Wide
While his epic travel was slightly humorous, LeBron James routinely gets the benefit of the doubt regarding these types of questionable occurrences.
51. George Lynch Can Only Hope to Contain Himself
He may not have been a potent scorer with a career average of 6.6 points per game, but former Philadelphia 76er George Lynch wanted fans to know about his defensive prowess.
During Game 5 of the 2001 NBA Finals, the eager forward played lockdown defense... against himself.
50. Martin Biron Hears It from the Crowd
Whether it was bad form or a lack of skill, Martin Biron mishandling this puck was only a small part of this ludicrous attempt.
Crowd-deafening goals rarely cease to follow.
49. Tony Allen Is Knee-Deep
After deciding to overrule the whistle and drive towards the basket for a ferocious dunk, Tony Allen faced karma for perhaps the first time.
His knees weren't pleased.
48. Johnny Hekker with a Heck of a Punt
Truly setting a tone for the game, Oregon State punter Johnny Hekker displays his impeccable ability to precisely place punts.
Perhaps the wind took that one.
47. Hoping to Fix Rick DiPietro
Rick DiPietro should most likely never leave his crease again, thanks to fellow goalie Brent Johnson.
In fact, the former first overall pick of the New York Islanders might try not leaving his couch either, considering his surplus of injuries and consistently mediocre play in net.
46. Jeff Green Is a Hit
With his explosive nature on the court, former Georgetown standout Jeff Green seemingly can't even elude himself.
Slow motion helps dissect this memorable moment.
45. Sean Avery Makes a Friend
What seemed harmless at first became quite the spectacle.
Notorious NHL instigator Sean Avery gave bruising goalie Tim Thomas a gentle tap on the head, only to receive a nasty yet deserved sign of disapproval from his opponent.
44. Not so Fast, Shawn Marion
The epic look of confusion on Shawn Marion's face perfectly details the odd direction in which the forward was headed with this jump ball.
Shaquille O'Neal was quite grateful for the laugh.
43. Terrell Owens Makes a Mockery of Himself
The beginning of a glamorous yet controversial career for the gaudy receiver.
42. The Machuga Flop
While it may be somewhat planned, pro bowler Michael Machuga's well-formed flop is quite the risky endeavor.
Not only did he perform the illustrious "Machuga Flop" after winning his first title at the 2005 Greater Omaha Classic, but the humorous dive has become his patented move.
41. Kobe Bryant Proves Doubters Right
While this tumble signals an end to the Michael Jordan comparisons, Kobe Bryant's acrobatic finish displays the new breed of athletic prowess omnipresent on the hardwood.
40. Scottie Pippen at His Best
Six-time NBA champion and illustrious MJ sidekick Scottie Pippen may have been remembered for his defensive and rebounding prowess, but it was his humorous pass to a referee that gave his coach Phil Jackson the most pleasure.
We can't blame the eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member considering his target was open.
39. A Magical Orlando Squad
A collection of mediocre performances fully align to create quite the performance by Stan Van Gundy's curious squad.
38. A Faceless Owen Schmitt
Concussions routinely occur during the game.
37. A Worthy MMA Opponent
After thoroughly finishing his opponent, this MMA threat decides to "honorably" execute himself as well.
Some might call this a draw.
36. Clayton Stanley Prepares for Takeoff
After a memorable warmup, 2008 Beijing Olympics MVP Clayton Stanley releases his object into the wild.
The ball has yet to land.
35. Bill Gramatica Legs One out
Not to be confused with older brother and former elite kicker Martin Gramatica, this man seemingly couldn't contain his rare excitement.
With a career field-goal percentage of 77.1, it's no wonder Bill Gramatica was ecstatic.
34. Novak Djokovic Is a Stud
Tennis players sure have a unique way of flirting with beautiful women.
While we commend four-time Grand Slam singles champion Novak Djokovic on his memorable attempt, next time he might avoid hitting his target with a steaming ball.
33. Sasha Vujacic Honors His Role
While Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic is clearly at fault here for his distracting act of support, we can't possibly blame him for being excited about his engagement to tennis star Maria Sharapova.
However, since this occurred long before the two were an item, the thrifty Slovenian doesn't get a pass.
32. Knocking Heads
In an attempt to produce their own music video of Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping," these thrilled teammates knock themselves into oblivion.
Simultaneous idiocy at its best.
31. History Will Be Made
While the failed attempt was quite awe-inspiring, this high-flying comedian may have created more of a legacy for his missed dunk than he would have if he had finished the job.
Failure always reigns supreme.
30. Jamal Crawford Walks Away Empty-Handed
As former Knick Jamal Crawford sums up a decade of mediocre basketball, New York fans look back on what they don't miss about imprudent coach Isiah Thomas.
29. Holiday Expectations
If there is any spot on the field that gives the offense the least chance of properly executing a famed flea-flicker, it's most likely the 1-yard line.
While the Oregon Ducks still went on to lose to the Oklahoma Sooners 17-14 in the 2005 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium, this play could have made the game a blowout.
28. Patrick Roy Stands Tall
Game 6 in the 2002 Western Conference finals saw legendary goalie Patrick Roy face his own demons.
As athletes continue to celebrate and taunt their opponents too early, magic is always imminent.
27. Scott Hartnell Creative Side
While we commend the desperate effort, winger Scott Hartnell may consider tossing both his skates next time.
Considering he was one of five Flyers suspended for questionable on-ice hits during his first season in Philly, his actions against breakaway man Ryan Malone weren't so shocking.
26. Losing Focus
It takes years of training, endless days of practice and relentless determination to make a pass like this.
25. Dan Orlovsky Runs for His Life
With the plethora of surrounding referees, former UConn signal-caller Dan Orlovsky can run from NFL defensemen, but he can't hide.
While with the Detroit Lions, the inconsistent passer took a nice jog around the back of the end zone without a care in the world.
Until the whistles were blown.
24. Chris Crawford Makes a Memory
With a career average of 6.6 points per game, former Atlanta Hawks forward Chris Crawford clearly wasn't known for his scoring.
But his ability to hinder his own offense was eventually known throughout the league.
23. Keith Ballard's Anger Problems
Following a relentless effort and resulting goal from Ilya Kovalchuk, Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard displayed his obvious frustration.
Goalie Thomas Vokoun wasn't quite prepared for his teammate's eruption.
22. The Natural
While this list is mostly populated with single occurrences of tomfoolery, it needed a thoroughly consistent occupant who gives fans plenty of reasons to wince.
Considering this owner seemingly decided to give one loyal yet unskilled fan a one-day contract to start at goaltender, he was undoubtedly chewing his lip aggressively for more than just 90 minutes.
21. Von Wafer Whiffs at This One
The only thing worse than the atrocious miss was Von Wafer's baffling celebration.
With perhaps the most unorthodox name in sports, this backup baller wanted to cement his name in the sports book with this iconic slam.
20. Referee Makes Enemies
This referee found himself in quite the predicament during this previously mundane game.
In the end, following a gazelle-like escape, he seems to be the fittest subject on the field.
19. Zebrie Sanders Falls Asleep
While Florida State linemen are clearly disciplined, offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders is more than just a master of his craft.
Whether he is fully in touch with a zen-like state or he is fully blind, this oblivious lineman doesn't seem concerned by his scampering quarterback's impending death.
18. Matt Dodge's Exit from New York
If only this rookie punter had kicked the ball out of bounds, he might still have a spot on Big Blue's squad.
Matt Dodge undoubtedly escaped to Bora Bora following this disaster.
17. An Utter Failure
After a magnificent touchdown, this exuberant yet unbalanced quarterback is far from finished.
Following a vigorous spike to his own groin area in front of a depleted defender and several tumbles, the previous score's style points begin to dwindle.
16. Leon Lett Gets Two Strikes
The inspirational tale of a two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who may be remembered in Dallas for two infamous plays, Leon Lett will never be forgotten.
During the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXVII, Lett recovered a fumble on Buffalo's 45-yard line and frolicked towards the end zone. After reaching the 10-yard line, Lett held the ball out with a sense of arrogance. Karma took over, as Bills receiver Don Beebe chased him down and swatted the ball for a touchback.
Against the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving the following season, the Cowboys eventually lost after Lett jumped on a blocked field goal that was calmly rotating on the snowy field.
Emmitt Smith's expression tells the story.
15. The Crickets Are Chirping
The intriguing sport of cricket has been known to get intense.
Perhaps more iconic than the continuously mediocre effort displayed by these athletes is the comically refreshing commentary exuded by these announcers.
14. The Shining Star That Is Rasheed Wallace
Former Portland Jail Blazer Rasheed Wallace is so good he scores on both baskets.
While we applaud his clearly selfless nature, we believe the dramatic power forward needs to start coming to practice.
13. A Magical Disgrace
There was seemingly no aspect of this game that was brilliant, as the announcers might proclaim.
12. Roscoe Smith Is Determined
Rather than bring the ball up the hardwood for a potential game-winner, UConn's Roscoe Smith let his adrenaline get the best of him.
With a last-second heave, Smith caused every jaw in the stands to simultaneously slam to the floor in disbelief.
Just a bit too early.
11. Typical Ronnie Brown
When fullback Owen Schmitt begins coaching a running back on technique, it's clear his career is far from fruitful.
Seemingly on the bottom of the pile, near the goal line, ball intact, Ronnie Brown decides to surprise his opponents.
10. Nyjer Morgan Needs a Diaper Change
After missing a deep Adam Jones fly ball to center field, controversial center fielder Nyjer Morgan threw a minor temper tantrum before finally realizing this had allowed an inside-the-park home run.
His coaches must have been proud.
9. Culture Shock
With an intense battle seemingly around the corner, these baseballers give fans quite the surprise.
A peacefully harmless yet thoroughly entertaining bout quickly takes form.
8. DeSean Jackson Garners a Reputation
Young and exuberant, a certain arrogant receiver shocked fans with his gaudy attempt to be remembered at the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
It was the first sign of a showboating future on the gridiron.
7. Kyle Orton Thinks He's Ambidextrous
It's plays like this that have kept Kyle Orton from remaining the face of any franchise.
While we commend his creative effort, he should know that only one man should attempt the left-handed chuck with defenders surrounding the area.
6. Parenting 101
And the award for best dad goes to...
5. Aaron Brooks Flips the Script
With a desperate, last-second heave, prolific former Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks threw a deep Hail Mary pass to his running back three yards behind him.
Deuce McAllister was pleased to save the day.
4. Chris Webber Completes the Fab Five
He may have been well-intentioned, but former Michigan star Chris Webber singlehandedly cost the Fab Five a national championship in 1993 with his baffling timeout call in the waning seconds with the Wolverines out of timeouts.
The referees may have missed his traveling violation, but they weren't going to let this impending technical foul go.
3. Ruben Rivera Embarks on a Journey
All his coach can possibly do following this extended adventure is shake his head.
The cousin of legendary closer Mariano Rivera, Ruben Rivera left his mark on the game during this failed journey around the diamond.
2. Schooling Young Athletes
After quickly realizing he wasn't Barry Sanders, this innocent high schooler tossed the ball up in defeat.
He has a bright football career ahead of him.
1. Jim Marshall Carries the Team on His Back
After recovering a fumble against the San Francisco 49ers in 1964, exuberant defensive end Jim Marshall took it to the house with an energetic finish that baffled everyone around him.
During perhaps the most embarrassing play of all time, Marshall permanently cemented his name in the history books.