Ranking the Best Trick Plays in Sports
Image via Associated Press/Wade Payne
While it's great for any fan to see something rare like a Hail Mary or a last-second buzzer beater to win a game, there are some plays that are even more exciting and unexpected—trick plays.
Though we rarely get a chance to see them, sometimes coaches open up the playbooks and let their players do something that almost no one expects to happen.
It might not be Halloween, but for the team that's able to execute these plays to perfection, they don't need to choose between trick-or-treat—because it's usually both!
Here's hoping we see more of these plays this year, because they're absolutely incredible.
Honorable Mention: The Mighty Ducks Versus Iceland
Leave it to the "Minnesota Miracle Man" Gordon Bombay and his group of rascals to pull a quick one to score the tying goal as time ticks down in a championship game.
This one might have only been thought up for a movie, but it's still one that I'd personally love to see an NHL team try one day.
I just wonder if there's anyone who can pull off the knuckle-puck as good as Russ Tyler?
12. Kobe Bryant's Pass to Himself
While tossing the ball off the backboard to oneself is often done during exhibition games or to setup a monster jam in a dunk contest, the Lakers Kobe Bryant knows it doesn't have to be restricted to those times.
That's why he busted it out after a few pump fakes against the Rockets a few years ago, giving himself a pretty assist and a nice finish.
Leave it to Kobe to do it all.
11. Rays' Hidden-Ball Trick
Happening a few weeks back, the Tampa Bay Rays were able to execute a perfect hidden-ball trick against the Dodgers' Juan Uribe.
I know this happens every once in awhile, but honestly, I don't think I've seen it pulled off as pretty as this since the movie Rookie of the Year.
While the trick may have caught Uribe by surprise, L.A. was able to get the last laugh as they won the game.
10. Misdirection Punt Return
The only reason this one isn't higher on my list is because it technically wasn't even a play at all, being called back for some bogus penalty by the officials.
But make no mistake, it was a thing of beauty, as Bears punt return extraordinaire Devin Hester pulls off the fake perfectly, allowing teammate Johnny Knox to score.
Though the points got taken off the board, teams learned a very valuable lesson here—always avoid kicking it to Hester.
9. Michigan's Mike Legg's Scoop and Score
I remember watching this goal by then Michigan hockey player Mike Legg during Spring Break of my fifth grade year and being absolutely blown away.
At the time, I really believed it'd go down as the best goal ever—and it still might—as Legg scooped the puck onto his stick after being caught behind net, catching everyone off guard by flipping it into the net.
The goal was pretty, but it was crucial too, as it tied the game with Minnesota at two, with the Wolverines ultimately winning the game 4-3 and then going on to win the national title a few games later.
8. Rene Higuita's Scorpion Save
What. The. Hell.
Former Colombian national team goalie Rene Higuita was part of a great time in the country's soccer history—and if you've seen the 30 for 30 documenting it, you understand.
The team played with flair, confidence and swagger that showed their personalities while on the pitch, often putting them in positions to do the unthinkable.
That's exactly what Higuita did here, when in a friendly against England in storied Wembley Stadium, he busted out what was later coined a "Scorpion Kick," launching his body in front of his legs to "sting" the ball with his feet.
The goalie liked it so much, that he actually busted it out again later in his career.
7. LSU's over the Head Fake Field Goal
Leave it to the "Mad Hatter," LSU's Les Miles, to pull an unexpected fake play at one of the most inopportune times of a game—and actually having it pay off for him!
As the king of the fake play, Miles has used a variety of them to help is Tigers escape big games with wins, showing that he has no fear in calling them.
Although this one was debated by refs for how unorthodox it was (as the ball bounced making them wonder if it was a lateral or forward pass), it ultimately led to the winning touchdown.
6. Southaven High School's Pickoff Play
There aren't many times a baseball team really gets to use a fake play, so when they do, you better believe they'll want it to work.
Luckily for Massachusetts high school team Southaven, it not only tricked the baserunner, but it helped them win the state title in the process.
Remember kids, the hand is quicker than the eye, so when in doubt, just play it safe.
5. Driscoll Middle School's "Handoff"
Even after replaying and watching this over and over, I still can't believe how sly a bunch of middle school kids were in earning this touchdown.
With the quarterback acting as if he's just casually taking the ball from his center and walking down the field, he suddenly bursts past the defensive backfield and the length of the field pretty much untouched.
Matter of fact, the closest thing to getting tackled the entire play was when his teammate knocks him over while celebrating in the end zone.
4. Music City Miracle
This one's for all my homies in Nashville, who still talk about this play as if it was the greatest moment of their entire lives.
After falling behind with just 16 seconds left in a Wild Card game in the team's first official season in the Music City, former tight end Frank Wycheck's cross-field pass to wideout Kevin Dyson is a thing of beauty.
Everyone was stunned by what happened, but it is no doubt one of the great plays in NFL history, and it catapulted the Titans all the way to the Super Bowl after winning the next two games—where they lost on another last-second play.
3. Backwards Golf Shot
I know that this was just practice, but, are you serious with this Phil Mickelson?
As one of the great creative golfers in the history of the PGA tour, "Lefty" has had some big shots throughout his career that have both helped and hurt him.
And although this one didn't count, I give it its fair due—it's hard enough to hit a golf ball normally, this guy's doing it backwards!
2. Boise State's Bag of Tricks
As I've mentioned on a couple of these other slides, a trick play is always a little bit better when it's done in a big game, so that's why the Boise State team that used a bevy of them to beat Oklahoma in the '07 Fiesta Bowl is so high.
Using a hook-and-lateral to tie the game in the fourth quarter, a two-point conversion to extend the game in OT and then finally the ultimate gutsy call by head coach Chris Peterson by going for the win instead of the tie in the second OT, the Broncos tried everything possible to win this game—and it worked out beautifully.
And let's face it, the thing ended with a marriage proposal, so you can't get more dramatic than that.
Though this famous play has has seen attempts to duplicate a few times since, we all know that there's nothing quite like the original.
What makes this the greatest trick play ever is that it was basically the first time anyone had ever witnessed anything like it—not too many plays ask an offensive lineman to be the lead ball carrier.
That it came in a national title game makes it that much better, and it's one that will definitely go down in college football lore.