The Strangest Game Endings in Sports

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

The Strangest Game Endings in Sports

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    Want to know what makes sports so great?

    It's simple; it's the unpredictability.

    While that sometimes comes in the form of a team or player surprising with a breakout season, fans are often treated to mind-boggling plays in which a mere facial expression can tell how a player truly feels.

    While a crazy play in the middle of a game is always dope, one that ends a contest makes a game memorable—which is why I'm giving you the strangest endings to games.

    I apologize if any of these happened to your favorite team.

2007 LSU Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers

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    While LSU head coach Les Miles is commonly known as "The Mad Hatter" for his penchant for rolling the dice on an unorthodox style of play-calling, it was during the 2007 season that Miles seemed to really earn the nickname.

    This play against Auburn may not have been anything too special until you consider that LSU was driving on Auburn, was already in field-goal range and was down by just one point.

    The bold call paid off for Miles' LSU team, though, as then quarterback Matt Flynn hit receiver Demetrius Byrd for a game-winner with one second left.

    LSU won the national title that season.

2013 New Rochelle vs. Mt. Vernon

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    Most sports fans probably remember Tyus Edney of UCLA, thanks to his miracle, full-court drive against Missouri in the 1995 NCAA Tournament. Until early this year, however, few had ever heard of the unrelated Khalil Edney.

    That all changed when the 17-year-old of New Rochelle High School in New York hit a once-in-a-lifetime buzzer beater to lift his squad to the state's I-AA Championship.

    This just serves as a reminder for anyone playing sports: The game's not over until the clock strikes triple zeros.

2012 Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers

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    I was at this game, thanks to the ticket hook up from my main man, Marshawn Lynch, and my then-girlfriend and I were speechless when we saw the end of the game. We actually missed filming the last-second heave because we got lost in the intensity.

    Losing on a Hail Mary is one of the worst possible ways for a team to walk off a field, but it's a hell of a lot worse when the general consensus is that the refs—in this case, the replacement refs—didn't even get the call right. This led to the Green Bay Packers losing to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

    Being on the national stage, the refs' botch was all but the final straw in the NFL bringing back the normal officials.

2007 Fiesta Bowl

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    Whatever it takes.

    That seemed to be the mentality of underdog Boise State when it went up against esteemed college football program Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

    Busting out a bevy of trick plays to help keep the opposing Sooners off-balance, the Broncos saved their best for last, as the call to go for two in the first overtime period was something that most coaches would never chance.

    Seeing as how it worked—and ended with a marriage proposal—means it's something that won't soon be forgotten.

Alex Bogomolov vs. Bradley Kahn

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    When fans think about pro athletes, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the desire to be the best and fight through adversity to get to the top.

    Well, most athletes, anyway.

    That wasn't the case earlier this year in a match at the Nielsen Championship in July, as Russian player Alex Bogomolov just openly quit without any reasoning other than he felt like he got jobbed by the umpire.

    Acting like a crybaby is a bad look for an athlete, but Bogomolov letting it cost him a match is even worse.

2012 BYU Cougars vs. Utah Utes

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    No one likes to lose to begin with, but when a team does it twice (technically) after getting a second chance to redeem themselves, I'd imagine it stings a tad more.

    That's something last year's BYU Cougars football team had to deal with as their kicker, Justin Sorensen, missed his initial field-goal attempt that would have won the game against the Utah Utes, and, after a penalty was called to give his leg another swing at it, he pushed it again.

    Considering that Utes fans rushed the field prematurely after the first miss, I'm sure Sorensen and his teammates were a little bit rattled for the encore.

1993 Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

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    Just don't touch it.

    That's what was going through every single Dallas Cowboys player's head after blocking the potential winning field-goal try in their Thanksgiving Day game against the Miami Dolphins in 1993.

    Well, everyone except Leon Lett who, inexplicably, trounced on the ball—on a snowy, slick, Cowboys' Stadium field, nonetheless—making it a live ball and giving the visiting Dolphins a shot at another field goal to win the game.

    Wouldn't you know it, that's what the 'Fins did. They won the game 16-14 because of the Lett blunder—which wasn't the first big-time screw up he made in his career.

2012 AHL Calder Cup Finals

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    I've never been much of a math guy—and this winning goal in the 2012 AHL Calder Cup just makes me hate the discipline even more.

    If you happened to be a fan of the Toronto Marlies, you probably dislike it even more than I do because of this awful luck.

    Losing Game 3 of the championship series after a fluke bounce off the boards in a tied, overtime game, giving opposing team Norfolk Admirals the win, led to the Admirals taking a commanding 3-0 series lead before hoisting the cup the following game.

2013 Arizona State vs. Wisconsin

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    To this day, I'm still not sure what was going through Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave's head in a game against Arizona State earlier this season.

    Dude, just take the normal kneel down and hand the ball the ref!

    Why he felt compelled to slide, get fancy and confuse every single person in the stadium is something I'll never understand, and it was that stupidity that cost his Badgers the game in one of the most bizarre ways—even if the refs did get reprimanded for screwing things up.

Music City Miracle

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    When the Tennessee Titans fell behind with just 16 seconds to go in the 1999 Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills, there were few people who probably ever thought they'd end up on the winning end.

    Then again, with one of the most wild—and disputed—plays in NFL history, the lateral from former tight end Frank Wycheck to then receiver Kevin Dyson to score the winning touchdown as time expired wasn't something most fans probably ever believed they'd see—especially to end a playoff game.

1995 L.A. Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

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    In one of the rarest forms for a major league baseball game to end, a contest between the L.A. Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals in 1995 actually was actually forced to be forfeited by the home team.

    With former Dodgers outfielder Raul Mondesi being called out on strikes, fans didn't just boo the home plate umpire, but rather showed their arms off by firing the free baseball's they got as a giveaway onto the field, wreaking havoc and forcing umpires to put order back into the game.

    Unfortunately, that result was to call the game as it currently stood with the Dodgers trailing 2-1 with one out in the ninth inning.

River City Relay

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    I've talked with former NFL kicker John Carney a few times before, and it's gotten to the point where I just want to blatantly ask him how on earth he could miss this extra point attempt?

    Sure, there have been of PATs missed before—and they'll be plenty more in the history of all levels of football—but to do so at the end of the game, after his teammates just executed one of the most improbable touchdowns ever witnessed isn't as common.

    Seeing how his shank directly led to the Saints losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 2006 contest had to be one of the worst feelings for the long-time pro.

"The Play"

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    Until recently—I'll get to that in a bit—there might not have been a more famous play in college football than the Stanford-Cal return with the Stanford band prematurely coming onto the field.

    Simply known as "The Play," it's tough to match an insane, game-winning, lateral-heavy touchdown return from a kickoff, ending with a poor member of The Cardinal band getting trucked by a fully-padded football player.

    To know how insane this actually was, even duplicate attempts haven't come close.

2013 World Series: Game 3

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    Not even Hollywood could script a more dramatic ending than the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals gave us during Game 3 of this year's World Series.

    As a franchise, the Red Sox have seen some ridiculous ways of losing a game—see, Buckner, Bill—but this one might even trump that instance, as the team saw a 2-1 series lead slip away due to a rare obstruction call to end a game.

    I'd bet that in all of the years fans have watched baseball, that call has been made maybe once or twice before—but certainly never on that level—making it one of the strangest ways for any game to end—let alone a pivotal World Series one.

2013 World Series: Game 4

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    Just when baseball fans didn't think things could get any weirder following the aforementioned ending to Game 3 of this year's World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, something like this happens—the very next game!

    With the Cardinals having a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead to take control of the Fall Classic, pinch-runner Kolten Wong got picked-off for the final out of the game—a first in the long history of Major League Baseball.

    If there's one thing that can't happen in that situation, it's what happened to Wong.

    On the bright side, at least it gave everyone a chance to debate which ending was more bizarre.

1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson Fight

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    Just when you think you've seen it all as a fan, the sports gods decide to throw in something that is so inexplicable, it's actually kind of funny.

    I'm not sure how many boxing spectators were chuckling directly after Mike Tyson gnawed off not one, but both ears of his competitor, Evander Holyfield, during a 1997 rematch.

    Directly following the "Bite Heard 'Round the World," the fight was stopped, with Evander being rewarded the victory—while Tyson was hit with a $3 million fine and the loss of his boxing license.

Immaculate Reception

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    It's one of the greatest plays the NFL has ever seen, with a history that is still unbelievable to some fans—especially Raiders supporters.

    With one of the wackiest ricochets anyone has ever seen a football take, no one would have believed that a vicious hit from Raiders Hall of Fame safety Jack Tatum on Steelers wideout "Frenchy" Fuqua would have led the ball to end up in the hands of Pittsburgh's running back, Franco Harris.

    Obviously, Harris had one thing in mind—cross the goal-line—which he did, with little time on the clock to give the Black and Yellow the win in the '72 AFC divisional game.

    Unfortunately, "Steel City's" luck ran out in the AFC title game the following week, as the team lost to the only undefeated team in NFL history, the Miami Dolphins.

2013 Iron Bowl

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    Maybe it's just because it's fresh in everybody's minds after happening this weekend, but the 2013 version of the "Iron Bowl" between the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide is seriously being considered to be the greatest ending in sports history—and it's hard to argue against.

    Besides the fact that the game ended with an improbable missed field goal return for a touchdown, the ensuing drama of everything that occurred in the 60 minutes leading up to the winning score makes this one for the ages.

    With the emotions of one of the biggest rivalries in sports, as well as the added stakes of a potential national title game appearance for both teams, hell, this might be the the greatest game of the past 25 years, let alone the strangest ending.