The element of surprise is crucial to athletic success. Flea flickers, quadruple reverses and John Heisman Fumblerooskis are only several of the many creatively awkward trick plays attempted by fearless teams in the heat of a desperate moment.
While hoping to display the slickness of a used-car salesman, these athletes (and the coaches who made the call) instead brewed legendary failure. And for that, we thank them.
As Houdini continues to roll in his grave, here are the greatest trick play fails in sports history.
The Setup: Like that strange uncle Melvin, the plan was simple. Hike, throw, catch.
What Happened: And just like Melvin, the play didn't work.
The Culprit: Miami tight end Kevin Everett.
The Setup: Achieving the perfect milk-to-cereal ratio on the field.
What Happened: They forgot the bowl.
The Culprit: Three crafty footballers.
The Setup: Shattering the record for shortest kick was clearly Texas Tech's goal.
What Happened: Like two hummingbirds trapped in a vat of quicksand, these two Red Raiders seemed stuck. Baylor was glad to lend a helping hand.
The Culprit: Kicker Donnie Carona, along with two stunned Red Raiders.
The Setup: Back-flipping madness would distract the defense.
What Happened: No amount of back flips could keep the right guard from jumping early. Yet somehow, acrobatic No. 11 was ejected. For being too majestic in his approach it seems.
The Culprit: Kicker Cam Haas.
The Setup: On 4th-and-11, Missouri epically calls for a fake-punt run to the short side.
What Happened: A punter proceeds to cement his position as, solely, a punter.
The Culprit: Punter Trey Barrow.
The Setup: Aside from the "Alice Huff in Step Brothers" screaming at the end and the elongated nothingness before the snap, this raw footage seems nearly perfect.
What Happened: Young tricksters being bred one wand flick at a time.
The Culprit: N/A
The Setup: During this game against Florida, moments before the half, kicker Graham Gano made the sort of acrobatic catch a bowling ball never could.
What Happened: Like that same bowling ball, Gano simply rolled to a stop.
The Culprit: 2008 Lou Groza Award winning kicker Graham Gano.
The Setup: For the past few seasons, Devin Hester has been the most feared returner in the NFL.
What Happened: The Hester effect was clear on this play, as all eyes remain on Hester while Johnny Knox takes the rock down the opposite sideline for a score. And then it's fittingly brought back for a hold, also known as "what just happened?"
The Culprit: Defensive back Corey Graham.
The Setup: The wrong-ball trick is one crafty maneuver that can't possibly pass the test of time.
What Happened: Thanks to YouTube's footage, this focused defender wasn't fooled for a second.
The Culprit: YouTube.
The Setup: This footballer was mildly hesitant in his approach, hoping to catch the keeper off guard.
What Happened: The indecision cost him dearly.
The Culprit: Indecision.
The Setup: Ball behind back, fake punt.
What Happened: Like a geriatric snail crossing a salty beach, Northwestern punter Brian Huffman never had a chance.
The Culprit: Punter Brian Huffman.
Note: posterior closeup at :48, beware.
The Setup: Riley Cooper attempts to be sneakier than flatulence in the Windy City.
What Happened: He nearly completes the most thrilling trick play in Eagles history. But in hopes of defining the Eagles' season thus far, referees called it back for illegal forward pass.
The Culprit: Cornerback Brandon Boykin.
The Setup: Matt Barnes attempting to improve his street cred.
What Happened: While loosely considered a "trick play," this Barnes ball fake showed the sporting world that Kobe "the Black Mamba" Bryant is one tough lad.
The Culprit: Possessing the fearlessness of a cement block, Bryant never flinches.
The Setup: Like a Hefty bag filled with depression, this fake punt went nowhere from the start.
What Happened: With the play already torn to shreds, Virginia Tech's Danny Coale decided to play hero and attempt a punt. He quickly wished he didn't.
The Culprit: Wide receiver-punter Danny Coale.
The Setup: Motorcycle goes haywire, won't restart.
What Happened: This fake may have been lamer than Jabba the Hutt's dating resume, but it provided us with the floppiest of flops.
The Culprit: Brazil's Marlinton dos Reis Teixeira.
The Setup: Blue skies, goal-line situation, confidence spewing from the sideline. Kansas State knew the time was now for a low-percentage, hop-step toss.
What Happened: A slight hesitation, a run into his own lineman and a jump pass were three quick strikes on quarterback Collin Klein, who soon endured a fine walk of shame.
The Culprit: Quarterback Collin Klein.
The Setup: Mario Balotelli attempts to shock the world with his skills.
What Happened: Balotelli's gentlemanly persona took a massive hit when the Manchester City striker engaged in the lamest fail we've seen since Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino attempted to roast Donald Trump. Like McKayla Maroney on a daily basis, manager Roberto Mancini wasn't impressed.
The Culprit: Striker Mario Balotelli.
The Setup: Jim Zorn attempts to revive his slumping Redskins with a creative fake field goal.
What Happened: In retrospect, this revolutionary fail remains the epitome of Jim Zorn's 12-20 tenure as Redskins head coach. Mildly put, he believed his Washington club was far better off with punter Hunter Smith chucking the pigskin than any combination of Jason Campbell, Todd Collins or receiver Antwaan Randle El. He was only slightly wrong.
The Culprit: Head coach Jim Zorn.
The Setup: Uncertainty.
What Happened: Like a 6'3" oak table expected to make a play, punter Dustin Colquitt did little with the ball in his hands. Even Robin Williams' knuckles were in tears after this torrential downpour.
The Culprit: Punter Dustin Colquitt.
The Setup: Salsa dance, the Dougie, hmm, maybe the Macarena.
What Happened: Whether he was preparing a celebration before the catch or forgot to wipe off the margarine from his hands prior to the play, quarterback Phillip Sims (not to be confused with Giants great Phil Simms) shows us why he remains a signal caller. Maybe it was the hand-warming fanny pack, which once again got in the way.
The Culprit: Quarterback Phillip Sims.
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