The 20 Coolest Plays to Ever Happen by Accident

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2013

The 20 Coolest Plays to Ever Happen by Accident

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    Over the years, we've seen a bevy of sports plays that make us go completely crazy.

    Sports networks play them over and over.

    Fans share them on social media sites to make them go viral on the Internet.

    And most of them are stored in the back of our minds as some of the most incredible things ever.

    But what if they happened out of pure coincidence and involved more luck than skill? Does it take away from the play?

    We'll let you decide after going through these incredible accidental plays.

20. Devin Harris' Heave

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    When then Nets point guard Devin Harris launched a half-court shot to try and beat the buzzer, he probably didn't think it'd go anything like this.

    After getting the ball and rushing to get it off in time, the damn thing got deflected out of his hands for a split second, before he caught it again for one last shot.

    His prayer was answered when the ball sailed through the nylon for a New Jersey win.

19. Another Brick in the Wall

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    From the "don't try this at home" department, Miguel Ángel Jiménez decided he had had enough of his two-over round at the 2010 British Open, and actually turned his back to the green and ricocheted his third shot on the 17th hole off the bordering wall and onto the green.

    We've seen a lot of crazy bounces by golf balls before, but this one takes the cake—even if it didn't happen to role into the cup.

    Wonder what "Cigar Guy" thought of that?

18. Curve Is the Word

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    This is just unfair right here.

    As a defender under pressure, you're taught to try and clear the ball out of danger up the sides so as not to turn it over deep in your own zone up the middle.

    So while this guy technically did the right thing, who would have thought the opposing player would not only get the deflection, but also the perfect curve to float over the goalie's head?

17. Off the Wire...

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    So wait, does this actually count?

    Regardless of the amazing shot actually impacting the scoreboard or not, it's gosh darn amazing it slipped through the net.

    Tossing a basketball almost the entire length of the court is tough in itself, but when it clanks off the back rim and rolls down a wire over the hoop, anything could have happened.

    It just turned out this time it landed through the cylinder.

16. Livin' on a Prayer

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    Isaiah Rider captured NBA fans' attention by his performance in the '94 Dunk Contest, but it's this shot that gets him more recognition thanks to the improbability of it finding its way through the net.

    When there's a loose ball, most guys just do what they can to find a teammate and keep possession, but in Rider's case, he was able to do a lot better than that!

15. A Header Gone Wrong

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    Though it's worse to see a goalie give up a goal on his own net, it's even worse when you see a goalie actually score on himself on his own net.

    That's what unfortunately happened here, when a shot deflected off the post and right off the back of the netminder's head and in.

    We're guessing that's one header his teammates never thought they'd see.

14. 'Back' It Up

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    It's one thing to try and shoot from your back, but it's a completely different story when you're trying to beat the buzzer for a high school state title.

    That's exactly what happened here when Blake Hoffarber earned his school the Minnesota state title when his very fortunate shot went in as time expired.

    Talk about being at the right place at the right time—not just once, but twice in his basketball career!

13. The 'Butt' of the Joke

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    It's never a good thing when the last defender happens to slip down when an opposing player happens to be right by him.

    But it's even worse than that defender slips on the ball and actually scores an own goal with his butt.

    With a booty with that kind of strength, we're sure he's been doing extra squats in the weight room.

12. Kickin' It

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    We normally don't see too many good things happen when a basketball deflects off  someone's arm, but in this case, it turned out quite all right.

    Considering the play helped the basket-scoring team take the lead in a tight game makes it even sweeter—though the head coach probably doesn't want his players relying on it every game.

11. Tyrone Prothro

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    Before 'Bama seemed to be the preemptive national champion every year, the Tide were struggling with teams such as Southern Miss in the early part of the decade.

    Thanks to Prothro's incredible once-in-a-lifetime grab right before halftime though, he was able to give momentum for his team to carry into the second half for the victory, as well as being ranked on numerous lists as one of the greatest catches in college football history.

10. The Deflector

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    There's an old saying that says, "the hand is quicker than the eye," though we're not sure Devils goalie Martin Brodeur would necessarily agree with that.

    Not after seeing this crazy shot from Marc Staal zip off his pads to the back boards behind the net, and then back off his pad and into his goal.

    With it happening so abruptly, we're not sure his eye or hand could keep up with the puck!

9. One Hop and into the Net

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    Chances are you've seen this one floating around over the past couple months—as the over 3M YouTube views suggest.

    With this shot, Anna Olson easily went from having one of the most embarrassing attempts at a buzzer-beater ever to one of the the greatest to ever be seen.

    It's like the ball hit an extra piece of rubber to get up over the rim or something.

8. The Skipping Puck

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    You really have to feel for former Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala on this wacky goal.

    It seems like everything's going as planned until, wait, the puck takes some crazy bounce off the ice, skipping right past the unfortunate Toskala.

    The good news is that the mishap didn't affect the outcome, as the Leafs prevailed over the Islanders during the '08 game.

7. The One Point Safety

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    Under former head coach Chip Kelly, the Oregon Ducks put up silly, video game-like numbers on offense over the past several seasons.

    But fans watching the 2013 Fiesta Bowl saw something that they'd never think was even possible—let alone from a high octane offensive squad like Oregon—the one-point safety.

    Just when you think you've seen it all, something like this happens to remind you why sports are goofy as hell.

6. Off the Head Shot

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    We're sure this is how the kid drew it up.

    Dart in from the three-point line to save an air ball from going out of bounds and toss it off an opposing player's head for a deflected basket.

    How come more guys aren't doing this sort of thing? Oh, that's right, because it's nearly impossible.

5. Full Field Soccer Goal

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    Have you ever stood on a soccer field and seen how far it is from goal to goal?

    If you haven't, we'll let you know it's anywhere between 100 and 120 yards in length.

    So for any goalie to punt the ball from his own 18-yard box and into the other goal is pretty nuts—even with the help from the skip off the turf and over the opposing goalie who's clearly off his line.

4. Dome Run

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    Former MLB slugger Jose Canseco hit more than 462 homers in his 17-year career, but could his most famous one actually be one that he his head hit—sort of?

    Canseco not only misplays the hell out of this ball while running towards the warning track, completely whiffing on the catch. But then to have it actually deflect off his melon and over the wall isn't just unlucky but really embarrassing.

3. Antonio Freeman

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    It's not so much that Freeman just made an extraordinary catch on national TV. It's that the one-in-a-million grab was in overtime, so the wideout's TD was actually the winning score.

    To keep his concentration while laying on his back, on a soggy field and with the corner flying by him, Freeman's catch is one of the most incredible plays ever.

2. Who Needs to Use Their Hands?

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    Handball isn't necessarily a sport that we'd watch on an everyday basis, but after seeing this remarkable goal, maybe we should start tuning in—anyone know where we actually can?

    A goalie in any sport where he has to lunge with his arms and legs to make a save is impressive enough, but this guy outdoes them all by putting enough on his save to actually net his squad a goal.

    Well played, sir.

1. Immaculate Reception

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    With all the phenomenal plays we've seen in NFL history, the "Immaculate Reception" by the Steelers to beat the Raiders in the 1972 playoffs could be argued as the greatest ever.

    Considering everything had to go just right for Steelers running back Franco Harris to cross the goal line—Bradshaw avoiding a sack, deflection hard enough to Harris standing in the right spot—we'd call it pretty unbelievable.