25 Pathetic Attempts at Defense

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

25 Pathetic Attempts at Defense

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    Yes, the rules to many of the sports that we enjoy as spectators have been tailored to benefit the offense. Whether you agree with it or not, the main idea is that more points equals more entertainment which ultimately equals more eyeballs.

    But that doesn’t give defenders an excuse to look absolutely helpless out there. Read on to see 25 examples of pathetic attempts at defense.

    There are thousands of examples of terrible defense, and I couldn’t possibly include them all here. Let me know which ones I left off in the comments or on Twitter.  

No. 25: Really Redick?

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    There are a lot of players in the NBA that have been victimized by unbelievable offensive moves, but few have actually been put on their backside by the likes of Kirk Hinrich.

    Well, J.J. Redick has.

    Stick to the jump shots J.J., it will serve you well.

No. 24: Two Outs

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    There have been a handful of players that have given the ball to someone in the stands with only two outs, but Larry Walker’s efforts to get the ball back from the kid he gave it to are rather entertaining.

    Throw in a clip of Marquis Grissom laughing at him, and it’s enough to make my list.

No. 23: Simply the Greatest

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    Perhaps I threw this in here just to showcase the greatest basketball player in the history of the game, but Michael Jordan had a tendency to make plenty of defenders look pathetic.

    His signature, one-handed, pump fake always seemed to do the trick, as evidenced by this short video montage. It’s just enjoyable to watch.

No. 22: Knoblauch Gets the Yips

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    There have been some notable players to get what is referred to in baseball as the “yips.” Basically, the said player gets it in his head that he can’t throw anymore, and thanks to the mental anguish continues to make errors on routine plays he normally makes.

    Chad Harbach even wrote a fictional novel that centered around the yips of an All-American collegiate shortstop who all of a sudden couldn’t throw to first base (The Art of Fielding).

    It famously happened to Chuck Knoblauch of the New York Yankees, and according to this New York Times article, after three errors in one game he simply walked out and left the stadium while it was still in progress.

    I can’t pretend to know what Knoblauch was going through, but it doesn’t sound fun.

No. 21: Westbrook Planned It This Way

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    When Russell Westbrook recently goal-tended a half-court attempt by the Denver Nuggets’ mascot, I wasn’t particularly surprised, because nothing Westbrook does surprises me anymore.

    And that includes scoring a basket by having his shot blocked into the hoop by the Dallas Mavericks.

No. 20: Sorry Matt

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    It’s probably only because I am somewhat immature at times, but I actually enjoyed this compilation of Matt Holliday’s blunders in the playoffs with the music in the background more so than the actual video of the error.

    Don’t worry Cardinal fans, I’m sure all your World Series trophies are more than enough to help get over this play.

No. 19: SEC! SEC! SEC!

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    Since SEC teams never, ever, ever lose bowl games to the slow and plodding Big Ten, it was a little weird to see an Iowa receiver streaking downfield to win the Capital One Bowl in 2005.

    Needless to say, you have one responsibility as a deep defender on a play like this—don’t ever let someone get behind you. Someone forgot to tell that to LSU.

No. 18: French Toast

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    Remember when Vince Carter was going to be the next Michael Jordan?

    After all, he was a bald, 6’6”, North Carolina shooting guard who could seemingly jump over tall buildings in one bound.

    Or at least French defenders in the Olympics.

No. 17: The Error That Will Live in Infamy

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    I wanted to include some notable, famous, defensive screw ups on here, and no error has been more notable than that of Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series.

    You know the tale by now—the Red Sox could have won the title had he caught it, they were cursed, etc., etc.

    Sorry Buckner, but it had to be on here.

No. 16: Jose Calderon

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    Jab steps are often able to create a bit of space for a jump shooter to hoist his shot over his defender.

    That is, unless your defender is Jose Calderon. Then it's enough to create an entire court worth of space.

    As the announcer said in the clip, he may as well have roller skates on here trying to stop Mario Chalmers.

No. 15: Duke Being Duke

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    Every Duke-hater has his or her own reason for hating Duke, but I would imagine the Blue Devils’ flopping tendencies rank right up on the top of the list for many people.

    Here is Greg Paulus at his "Dukiest" in an NCAA tournament game against VCU.

No. 14: Two Birds with One Stone

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    The description of the video says this play took place during a Los Angeles high-school game, but the defense looked a bit more middle-schoolish.

    Credit the offensive move which put not one, but two defenders on the ground. However, the fact that the crossover took place with enough space between the dribbler and the defenders to drive a car through them should tell you all you need to know about the defense.

No. 13: Try This Against Ray Lewis Kid

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    The article title is 25 pathetic attempts at defense, and to be fair, this really is pathetic defending no matter how old the participants are in the clip.

    However, I like to think of this one as just offensive awesomeness by whoever drew this up and by the quarterback for having the guts to try it.

    Kudos to you both.

No. 12: Beast Mode

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    Marshawn Lynch earned the nickname, "beast mode," for his bruising, running style. Never was that style more evident than in this run against the hapless, Saints’ defense in the NFC Playoffs.

    There may only be 11 defenders on the field at a time, but I’m pretty sure I saw Lynch break tackles from about 20 Saints.

No. 11: Alex Gonzalez

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    As a diehard Cubs fan, this one is particularly painful, but it needs to be included. Steve Bartman is often blamed for Chicago’s eighth-inning collapse in the NLCS against the Marlins, but if Alex Gonzalez had made this routine play, the Cubs likely win the game anyway.

    Fast forward to the 1:55 mark in the video for the play, unless you are also a Cub supporter, in which case you should just move on to the next slide.

No. 10: Worst Gatorade Shower Ever

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    There are not many high points and plenty of low points in the history of Kentucky football, but this may be one of the lowest.

    It looked like the Wildcats were going to shock perennial powerhouse LSU, but their players made the fatal mistake of forgetting to listen for the fat lady’s voice and dumped Gatorade on coach Guy Morriss before it was over.

    Throw in the fact that some Kentucky fans had rushed onto the field as LSU threw the game-winning Hail Mary, and the whole situation was rather embarrassing for the Wildcats.

No. 9: Just Leon Being Leon

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    Leon Lett was actually a decent player, but he will forever be remembered for his boneheaded plays, be it the Super Bowl return where he was stripped from behind or his inexplicable decision to go after the ball rolling in the snow after a blocked field goal.

    All joking aside, it’s fascinating to listen to his teammates tell the story from their point of view in this video. Emmitt Smith still isn’t over it.

No. 8: Wonder Why His Head Was so Big

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    In one of the most famous defensive blunders of all-time, Jose Canseco let a fly ball ricochet off his particularly large skull over the fence for a home run.

    Even he thought it was hilarious.

No. 7: Three Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

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    There are just too many pathetic defending attempts in this 10-second play to not include it on the countdown.

    First is the missed header, second is the atrocious goalkeeping and third is the defender who capped it off by simply dribbling the ball into the net.

    The best part of the video though? The kid behind the goal celebrating (why is he there in the first place?).

No. 6: Leon Lett in Training

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    The word fail became popular on the Internet for moments like this.

    This youngster thought the game was over and proceeded to spike the ball, not realizing he was acting as a returner. The result was a fumble that led to a touchdown only Leon Lett would be proud of.

No. 5: That Will Show Him

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    There are plenty of ways to show the referee that you are unhappy with a call he just made.

    Basketball coaches pick up technical fouls from time to time to protect their players, baseball coaches have been known to kick dirt on the ump and football coaches have their red challenge flags.

    This goalie simply refused to even attempt to stop the penalty kick out of sheer protest. I’m sure the fans were thrilled.

No. 4: Finish the Play

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    Anyone who ever played sports at the high-school level or below heard the clichés “finish the play” or “play until the whistle” from their coach at one point or another.

    Well, everyone that is, except for this goalkeeper.

No. 3: Rahim Moore

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    I apologize to Bronco fans everywhere, because I am sure this wound is still fairly fresh, but Rahim Moore set the safety position in the NFL back 30 years with his defensive attempt against Joe Flacco and the Ravens.

    If Moore had knocked this pass down, someone besides Ray Lewis would have been on Sportscenter for the last two weeks.

No. 2: This Can’t Happen

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    I can’t think of much worse in hockey than an own goal to help cost your team the deciding Game 7 in a playoff series.

    That is exactly what happened to Steve Smith of the Edmonton Oilers in 1986 against the Calgary Flames. To Smith’s credit, he went on to a successful NHL career and didn’t let that early mistake be the only defining moment of his legacy.

    Plenty of athletes would have.

No. 1: MACtion at Its Finest

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    The MAC has provided college football fans with mid-week enjoyment for years. High-scoring shootouts have the tendency to do that, even if many of the viewers aren’t necessarily emotionally involved with the outcome.

    But if more MAC games featured plays with defenders/returners running the ball 60-plus yards in the wrong direction, it would be the nation’s most popular conference.

    As for the Towson players, why would you tackle them?

    Leave comments at @ScottPolacek.