The 20 Worst Ways to Lose a Game

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

The 20 Worst Ways to Lose a Game

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    No one likes to lose, but when that loss comes in a way that absolutely nobody can even imagine, it stings a hell of a lot more.

    Whether it be from a team taking its foot off the gas to blow a big lead or via a walk-off home run from a guy who has as many career major league homers as you and I do—zero—we've seen some pretty awful ways to lose.

    It's hard to accept the fact that "you can't win 'em all," but here are the ways that no one should ever have to leave a game as a loser. 

Hail Mary

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    You know there have to be some really awful ways of losing when a Hail Mary ends up being the first one listed.

    That still doesn't make living through an answered prayer at the end of the game any easier, as every single fan's breath is held while the ball is in-flight, with only a sigh of relief taken once the pass is ruled incomplete.

    If it's caught, though, let the mayhem begin—for both fanbases.

Playing Not to Lose Instead of Trying to Win

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    I promise there aren't any harsh feelings toward anyone part of the New Orleans community, but, unfortunately, your Saints have been the most recent example of a team taking its foot off the gas before the clock hit triple zeros.

    Instead of continuing to stay aggressive with an offense that includes Drew Brees at quarterback, the Saints seemed to just wish the clock accelerated in their game against the Patriots a few weeks ago—which cost them, as Tom Brady tossed a game-winning touchdown pass in the last few seconds.

Walk-off Grand Slam…While Leading by 3 Runs

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    Losing on just a normal walk-off might sting, but just ask L.A. Dodgers fans how it feels to lose on a grand slam—while leading by three.

    Actually, the lead was as high as five headed to the bottom of the 10th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2011. That is until, you guessed it, some dude named Ryan Roberts cleared the sacks with a grand salami.

    It's a good thing this didn't happen this year, as we saw that these two teams didn't really like each other too much.

The Officials

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    Whether you want to live by the mantra "It ain't over till it's over," or, "It's not over till the Fat Lady sings," fans better hope that no ref ever blows a game for missing a call.

    Just ask any Delaware State basketball fans, who witnessed their team actually lose after taking a lead (or so they thought) with no time left on the clock, causing them to rush the floor.

    Little did they know that their exuberance would cost their Hornets a technical foul, giving their opponent, Morgan State, a chance to knock down a pair of free throws and run the clock out after a final inbounds pass.



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    I hated math growing up (why do you think I'm a writer?). So anytime something that I couldn't stand learning through school comes into play to affect the outcome of a sporting event, it gets me riled up.

    If you happened to watch Game 3 of the AHL Calder Cup Finals between the Norfolk Admirals and Toronto Marlies, you'd be pretty pissed, too.

    In a tie game—in overtime—the puck took a fluke bounce off the boards and slid into an open net, giving Norfolk a 3-0 series lead. Naturally, the Admirals went on to win the league title the following game.

Game-Ending Triple Play

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    A triple play is one of the rarest plays to happen in baseball.

    If your team is on the unfortunate side of one being pulled off against them, you're definitely in shock at what your eyes just saw.

    Now, take that feeling and add a lot of anger to it when one actually ends a baseball game—as was the case during a minor league game last month.

After a Bone-Headed Play

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    To this day, I still have absolutely no idea what in the hell Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave was thinking during the game against Arizona State earlier this season?

    I understand that the refs missed the call—and were reprimanded for doing so—but in the heat of the moment, just play things safe and do usual protocol when trying to take a knee in hopes that something like this will never happen.

    Trying to be too cool for school isn't smart as time is running out.

When Time Doesn't Actually Expire

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    I've already mentioned it once in this article, but under no circumstances should a team either celebrate a win or believe it's won until the clock officially strikes zero.

    After watching this video, maybe players will start believing it a bit more now, because even a shot with one in a trillion odds still at least has a chance of going in.

    It's unfortunate that the Mt. Vernon High School players had to figure that out by seeing it happen to them.

The Unluckiest of Backspins

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    That's what fans had to be screaming following Irmo High School winning the state soccer title in one of the most bizarre fashions anyone has ever seen.

    After a penalty kick that would decide whether the game was over—as it proved once the ball trickled in—or if it would go to sudden death had the kicker missed, the ball thought it'd be funny to play a trick on everyone, spinning in a way never imagined straight into the net.

After Missing Home Plate

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    Get this, a guy can actually get called out for missing home plate—even if he just hammered a homer.

    That was the case last year when minor leaguer Raul Mondesi Jr. belted a supposed game-tying bomb over the fence in a game against the Missoula Osprey. But for some odd reason, he stepped over the dish after rounding the bases.

    Thanks to the opposing catcher being aware of it, the club appealed and actually won, with the umps declaring Mondesi out and the game ending just like that.

    One might say Mondesi was too good for his home.

For Being Too Cocky

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    Word to the wise—all these little celebrations athletes do to promote how good they are after doing something, make sure the play is over before actually doing them.

    It's best to always err on the side of caution; otherwise, you might look like a real big jackass—just like this goalie did during a Moroccan club match a few years ago.

    Completely unaware the ball trickled into the net as he popped his collar and brashly pointed to himself, his team had actually just lost.


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    It might suck when you're forced to forfeit an intramural game because a couple teammates stiffed out and didn't show up.

    But imagine it actually happening in a professional game.

    As rare as it might be, the Dodgers were forced to do it after their fans were a little rambunctious with the free baseballs they were given as a giveaway back in 1995.

    Even rarer than a forfeit is sneaking in two Raul Mondesi references—as is the case in this article.

After Not Knowing the Rules

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    If you're still unsure if Cleveland sports is cursed, just remember that this play once actually happened.

    On the opening game of the 2002 season, the Browns had a chance to start the new campaign off right by getting to 1-0 and setting the tone for their fans that things had changed.

    Well, that was until former linebacker Dwayne Rudd tossed his helmet across the field to reward himself for what he believed was the game-winning sack.

    One problem—that's an unsportsmanlike penalty—giving the opposing Chiefs 15 free yards, which they took advantage of for a field goal on an untimed play.

    Whether it's players or coaches—even Hall of Famers like Joe Gibbs—guys have to know the rules when the game's on the line.

By a Failed Kneel-Down

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    You'd think that a quarterback taking a kneel-down would be the easiest play in all of football, given that the ball gets snapped and within a half-second or so, the player takes a knee.

    Don't be so sure, though, because if the center ever gets slippery with the pigskin, something like this can happen, with the opposing team actually recovering the ball with nothing but wide open field in front of it toward the end zone.

    They call it the victory formation for a reason, so don't screw it up.


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    Whenever there's a buzzer-beater, it's one of the most exciting plays in all of sports.

    Fans, players, coaches, announcers—they all lose it, letting raw emotions come out to celebrate.

    So I couldn't even imagine the feelings after seeing a "game-winner" from your favorite team go in, just to have that lead dissipate as the other team buries the real winner in just a matter of a few seconds.

    It'd probably be feelings of pain, thanks to the other team's fans rushing the court and stomping all over you in the process.

Prematurely Celebrating I

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    Sure, youth sports are supposed to be a place to build some friendships, get out and run around and maybe win some games at the same time.

    But they're also a good place to learn some serious lessons.

    Umm, I really hope this poor kid learned something important after picking off a ball, dropping it too early for a fumble and costing his team the game because of it.

Prematurely Celebrating II

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    Just like the poor peewee youngster in the previous slide, high schoolers from Skyview High can learn something about celebrating too early.

    Remember kids, even if a field goal is blocked, the ball is still alive should it not pass the line of scrimmage—as this one was.

    The blunder ended up costing Skyview the game, as an opposing player scooped the ball up and ran it the other way for a game-winning score.

By a Trick Play

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    I did an article a month or so ago that ranked some of the best trick plays ever seen in sports.

    And while all of them were great, the ones that occurred at a moment in the game when it was do or die, with everything on the line, were naturally a little higher on the list.

    Trick plays are exciting and fun for fans to watch, but when they come against your favorite team, they have a way of ruining your mood just a bit.

Thanks to Your Team Masseur

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    There aren't many ways to describe this one, other than the fact that the Aparecidense team masseur is a giant dumbass.

    I understand that he was just trying to help his team by keeping the potential winning goal out of the net, but did he really think he'd get away with it?

    I hope not.

    And of course, he didn't, as league officials awarded his team's opponent, Tupi, the victory, while he ended up getting slapped with a $250 fine and two-year suspension.

When Given a Second Chance

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    The feeling of a loss is never a good one to begin with.

    Now imagine having it happen twice in just a matter of minutes.

    That's what happened during a 2012 game between the Utah Utes and BYU Cougars, when, after an initial missed field, fans rushed the field in celebration.

    There was a teeny problem, though: The game wasn't over, and BYU had a chance to kick the game-winner again—with penalty yards making the try even closer.

    Unfortunately for Cougs fans—and kicker Justin Sorensen—the result didn't change, and Utah fans stormed the field once again to celebrate the win for good.