The Worst Game Ever Played

Will MossContributor IJune 14, 2009

Back in the good old days when Al Capone wandered freely,  when women wore raccoon coats, when and the stock market crashed. Luckily the stock market has never done that again.

Back in the day when Illinois head football coach Bob Zuppke created things like the huddle, the screen pass, and the flea-flicker. When John Wayne played two seasons at tackle for USC. When Cornell was a football powerhouse.

Welcome to 1925.

The college football season started with the Washington Huskies beating Willamette College 108-0 and ended with the Huskies losing to Alabama 20-19 in a game that has been called "the football game that changed the South."

But there was one game that has been lost in history: The worst game ever played.

Let me set the scene for you. Iowa was only four years removed from a national championship and had talent all around the roster thanks to Hall of Fame coach Howard Jones, who had just left for a season at Duke before moving up to USC.

Wisconsin had a Hall of Fame coach of their own in George Little. Though he was only in Madison for one year, he led the Badgers to an 11-3 season.  

There was a lot of hype heading into the game. Fans expected a close, hard fought battle filled with triumphs and amazing plays—one of those instant classics that grandchildren’s grandkids will still talk about it.

What they got was 32 fumbles.

And you thought the Dolphins vs. Steelers two years back was bad. That game had a total of three fumbles. The worst for any NFL game is a total of 10 fumbles. Heinz field looked like Cancun compared to Iowa City.

Rick Riley unknowingly claimed that this Steelers game was the worst game ever played. Now I am here to set the record straight for everyone.

The Dolphins and Steelers had a total of 45 pass attempts. Iowa and Wisconsin had a total of one. And that one stuck to the ground on impact without a single bounce. It looked like someone threw a boulder into a puddle.

It was a game that was advertised as “Iowa vs. Wisconsin vs. The Elements” thanks to the year’s worst blizzard blasting Iowa City. Not once, but twice, punters lost yards on punts thanks to the wind.

This was an environment meant for large blubbered animals, or NFC North fans. But, Iowa fans managed to fill most of the stadium and survived by making bonfires in the stands and huddled in blankets, only to watch their Hawkeyes get a punt blocked deep in their own territory and Wisconsin run it in a few plays later for Iowa’s first loss of the season 6-0.

They could not even make the extra point the wind was so bad.

So now you know. Not only did Iowa and Wisconsin have more than ten times as many fumbles then the Dolphins and Steelers, but they also tied for number of balls sticking to field.

This game had hype. Who was actually excited about watching the Dolphins get killed by the Steelers anyway?

“The game that Jack Frost made” is the worst game ever played. Period.

And if you would like to argue let me just say one thing.

32 fumbles.