Really Terrible Sports Ideas That Didn't Work

Matt Haupert@@matthaupFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2014

Really Terrible Sports Ideas That Didn't Work

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    We've all had our fair share of bad ideas.

    The Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth. LeBron James made The Decision. I once traded my Charizard for a Bulbasaur because I thought it had a higher ceiling.

    Not all bad ideas, however, are created equal.

    Some are more consequential than others. Some might cost you millions and millions of dollars. Some just make you look like really stupid.

    The worst of these are on this list.


    A few disclaimers:

    First, this list could easily drag on into the thousands, so I've tried to stick entirely to horrible ideas from the past few years, focusing especially on the last 12 months.

    Second, I realize that the phrases "really horrible" and "didn't work" are both entirely matters of opinion.

    Fortunately for all of you, I was born with 100 percent infallibly correct opinions and promise to share those with you completely free of charge. It's a blessing and a curse, really.

    Anyway, sit back and enjoy the following reminders that the people involved in the multimillion-dollar industry that so constantly captivates your attention are really a bunch of blundering idiots who can't seem to do anything that makes logical sense.

    But hey, I'm not complaining. It makes life a lot more entertaining for the rest of us.

Pro Bowl Fantasy Draft

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    Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

    There's an old saying that goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Well, the NFL Pro Bowl was definitely already "broke," but I think we could safely amend the proverb to read, "If it's broke, please, please, PLEASE don't try to fix it using anything that involves Jerry Rice wearing an orange lei."

    Of course, the NFL never listens.

    In its latest desperate attempt to make the Pro Bowl more desirable than an afternoon nap, the league discarded the AFC vs. NFC setup of old in favor of a hip new fantasy-draft format in which captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders (don't ask) get to build teams from their favorite players' list.

    This was of course done in response to the millions of fans who reported that watching the conferences play against each other was boring, but watching Jerry's favorite guys play against Deion's favorite guys would be a riveting sports experience.

    If a football game is played but nobody watches, does it still make a sound?

NBA Nickname Jerseys

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The NBA is a serious league with a serious regular season. People love to tune in to watch NBA regular-season games because they are important and exciting.

    While other sports rely on gimmicks to attract fans (can you believe they give out bobblehead dolls at baseball games sometimes?), the NBA relies on the purity of the game and the high stakes of each contest (can you believe that only one team made the playoffs with a losing record this year?).

    In other news, the NBA decided it was necessary to feature a game in which players on the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets wore jerseys with their nicknames on the back.

    While "King James" admittedly looked kind of cool, "Plums" (Mason Plumlee) was awkward, "Truth" (Paul Pierce) was a bit melodramatic and "J. Shuttlesworth" (Ray Allen) was just excessive. 

    Meanwhile, Greg Oden ("G.O."), James Jones ("JJ"), and Dwyane Wade ("D. Wade") lose major points for creativity.

    Did I mention that the NBA regular season should be taken super seriously?

Never-Ending NFL Draft

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Somebody must have alerted the NFL that the draft was an extraordinarily long, tedious and altogether pretty awful television program.

    The NFL promptly responded in the best way it knew how: expanding the draft to a three-day marathon to ensure fans are getting the opportunity to really soak up each and every round, because that was the problem.

    Now, there are talks of further expanding the draft to a four-day ordeal. If the NFL executives are smart, they'll just make the jump to a "one-pick-per-day" system in order to finally cash in a little bit on the whole thing.

    As they always say, a day without a draft is a day wasted.

Televising Astros Games

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    OK, whose idea was this?

    I mean, even if the NFL draft was increased to 365 days, there would still be someone who tuned in for that final pick. But who wants to watch a Houston Astros game?

    The answer, apparently, is no one.

    Earlier this year, the Astros received a 0.0 television rating, according to Nielsen (via Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated) for an April game against the Los Angeles Angels, receiving a slightly lower rating than their own pregame show (0.2).

    That means people would rather tune in to watch some guys talk about the Astros playing baseball than actually watch the Astros playing baseball. I suppose they usually still have a decent chance of winning up until the first pitch.

    The best part of all of this, though, is that this is the second time this has happened in the past seven months. Last September, the Astros received an eerily similar 0.0 rating.

    I wonder if it was the same zero people that watched both games?

Cubs' New Mascot

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    John Konstantaras/Associated Press

    Well, you have to hand it to them for trying.

    Since none of the players the Chicago Cubs have brought in the last few years have been able to bring much positive attention to Wrigley, the team decided the next best thing would be to design their own cuddly new mascot, Clark. After all, if the team on the field isn't going to entertain the adults, Clark might as well do something to entertain the kids.

    Unfortunately, fans weren't exactly thrilled about the newest member of the Cubs family, lashing out against the little guy on Facebook and Twitter.

    Hey, it's not the worst acquisition the Cubs have made in the last few years. At least they didn't re-sign Milton Bradley.

Donte Whitner Becomes Donte Hitner...Almost

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Donte Whitner sure knows how to stick it to the man.

    After getting fined twice for illegal hits last season, Whitner announced that he would be dropping the "W" from his last name and going instead by "Donte Hitner," thus proving to the NFL that he was tougher and smarter than they were, and nobody could keep him from fulfilling his destiny!

    Then, on the day of his scheduled court date, Whitner got cold feet and called the whole thing off.

    Not so tough any more now, are you Donte?

    That's what I thought.

New Orleans...Pelicans?

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    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Really, New Orleans? That's what you came up with? You really thought that—no, you know what, nevermind, I'm not even going to divulge my energy explaining to you why the Pelicans—I mean seriously, the PELICANS? SERIOUSLY?—make a terrible NBA mascot.

    Instead, I'm just going to redirect you to this video of a group of pelicans flying past the Golden Gate Bridge, narrated by David Tennant. Watch the birds glide gracefully over the bay and then think long and hard about whether or not you'd want them on the front of your jersey as you try desperately to intimidate your opposition.

LA Dodgers Games Blacked Out...Everywhere in LA

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    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    This year, the Los Angeles Dodgers have their own television network—LA Sports Net—all to themselves.

    Cool!—unless, of course, you live in Los Angeles and actually want to watch the games.

    Time Warner Cable launched the channel this year as part of an $8.3 billion deal with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, those with TWC are forced to pay extra for the channel, even if they don't want it, and those without TWC are unable to get the channel at all.

    While most of the world watched cheerfully as the Dodgers kicked off the MLB season with a late-night game in Australia—it was scheduled to begin at 1 a.m. Pacific Time. ESPNLosAngeles' Mark Saxon (h/t SB Nation's Nick Bond) noted that 68 percent of Los Angeles was left both literally and figuratively in the dark.

Rockets Bring in Linsanity

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Did we not all see this coming?

    Jeremy Lin, the Harvard-grad-turned-superstar-point-guard who took New York City by storm and made Linsanity a household term, was really only good for a couple of weeks. A lot of people freaked out during his 15-game miracle stretch, but after finishing the season on the bench with an injury, any minor fan knew his time in the spotlight was long gone.

    I guess the Rockets missed the memo. Houston signed him to a three-year, $25 million contract in the offseason only to see him promptly lose his starting job and barely contribute from the bench.

    Oh, well. At least he comes with a cool story.


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    Kevin Durant has done a lot of great things in his short career. Making Thunderstruck was not one of them.

    Don't spend an hour and a half of your life watching the movie. Just watch the trailer above and see if you can accurately predict the ending. I promise; you'll get it right.

    If you need further evidence that Thunderstruck is not the new Space Jam, look no further than the "memorable quotes" that are listed on Rotten Tomatoes. Only three total quotes are listed, so presumably these are considered the three most inspiring moments of the film:

    "I wanna dunk like KD!"Brian.

    "My name is Brian."Brian.

    "Hey, what up?"Kevin Durant.

    For clarification, neither the screenplay nor Durant's captivating performance received substantial Oscar buzz.

Drafting Anthony Bennett

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Remember back in the olden days when everyone thought Sam Bowie, infamously selected before Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft, was a huge draft bust?

    Ah! How naive we were back then! How little we all knew about just how bad a top pick can be!

    In 2013, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA draft lottery and were awarded with the first overall pick—the very same pick that they had used to select LeBron James in 2003 and Kyrie Irving in 2011.

    Surely, they would strike gold again! Surely, they would select the final piece to the puzzle, a superstar to play alongside Irving and help guide the Cavaliers back to relevance for the first time since The Decision!

    Instead, to most of the world's surprise, the Cavs took Anthony Bennett. Fast forward a few underwhelming months and let's compare how Bennett fared in his rookie season compared to Bowie:

    • Bowie scored 10.0 points per game, 2.38 times more than Bennett's 4.2
    • Bowie averaged 8.6 rebounds per game, 2.87 times more than Bennett's 3.0
    • Bowie averaged only 2.8 assists per game, still 9.33 times more than Bennett's 0.3

    Maybe it's too soon to completely write off Bennett's young career. Maybe it's too late to save it.

Tim Tebow as an NFL Quarterback

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    Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

    It was just too good to be true, wasn't it? Tim Tebow racing across the field, arms in the air, celebrating an unlikely come-from-behind playoff win against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, adding another chapter to a magical season in which he had proved his doubters wrong and established himself as a superstar NFL quarterback...

    The answer is yes. Yes, it was too good to be true—way too good to be true.

    Turns out, Tebow's magical run was either a whole lot of luck or a nice boost from his divine savior, and Tebow very quickly devolved from playoff hero to national punchline. All of a sudden he was playing for the New York Jets, unable to take the starting job from a guy who kept running into his teammates' butts.

    In the most hilarious moment of his predictable downward spiral, his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars actually went out of their way to clarify that they did not have any interest whatsoever in acquiring Tebow after he was released by New York. 

    Why is this so notably hilarious? Well, the Jags quarterback at the time was Blaine Gabbert, whose passer rating was comparable to Anthony Bennett's scoring average.


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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Here's how I like to imagine the conception of the BCS:

    Important Person A: "We have a problem. There are a bunch of teams, but we only have one trophy. Who gets it?"

    Important Person B: "What if we have the best ones play against each other in an elimination tournament until there is eventually only one team left?"

    A: "No, they do that in college basketball; nobody watches."

    B: "Good point."

    A: "Besides, then the championship game only has one winner and one loser. We need at least 50 times that."

    B: "What if we have a bunch of little championship games, but we give them funny names, and only one of them counts? Then everyone gets to play, and nobody has to know there's only one trophy."

    A: "Who gets to play in the real championship then?"

    B: "I don't know. Random selection?"

    A: "Works for me."

    B: "Wait, I was just kidding."

    A: "I know, but I'm tired. Let's just go with that and get out of here."

    Alas, after 15 years of this nonsense, the BCS has finally seen its last days in college football.

    As a Cubs fan, I'm kind of hoping Major League Baseball adopts the system. It might be the only way we can win another pennant.

Manny Ramirez, Player-Coach

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    There's really no knowing yet whether or not this will end up being a disastrous, miraculous or (most likely) irrelevant signing for the Cubs, but the whole premise seems too utterly ridiculous to leave off of this list.

    The Iowa Cubs, Triple-A affiliate to the (inferior) major league club, have welcomed in renowned ex-cheater Manny Ramirez as a new player-coach. Apparently he's not headed for the big leagues at any point and will serve as a mentor to the Cubs' up-and-comers.

    It's an interesting move for a Cubs club that is still giving the silent treatment to fellow cheater Sammy Sosa.

    Think I'm a genius? An idiot? Let me know on Twitter