Nightmare on Elm Street: The 25 Worst Nightmare Moments in Sports
They are the moments that make fans cringe 25 years later.
The mere mention of a name or a play make you want to want to curl up in the fetal position.
The other fans love it. They mock you. They smile. They buy rounds for strangers at the bar just because that person mentioned the moment to set you off.
And now, just when you thought the nightmare was over...it's baaaaack.
In celebration of the return of Freddie Krueger at midnight tonight, let's count down the 25 biggest nightmare moments in sports history.
25. The Missed Layups That Should Have Been Dunked
It was the 1993 NBA playoffs versus the Bulls. The Knicks let a 2-0 series lead get away in the Eastern Conference Finals. But there they were, on the verge of a 3-2 lead in the series nonetheless.
Charles Smith just had to hit a shot. He had four straight attempts under the basket. Any one of them could have been dunked. But no, he misses every putback, every layup.
All these years later, he's still trying to explain.
For as much as the Patrick Ewing finger roll gets replayed, Knicks fans still hold Smith more accountable for their lack of a title.
24. Hendu Hits It Out
If Buckner never happened, Dave Henderson would be even more beloved in Boston than he already is.
He hit just .196 in 36 games for Boston after coming over from Seattle in 1986. But his homer off Donnie Moore in Game Five of the ALCS was supposed to be fate overcoming a curse.
People forget that Hendu was an in-game injury replacement in center for Tony Armas and that he let a Bobby Grich blast out of his glove when he hit the wall. That gave the Angels a 3-2 lead earlier in the contest.
Moore never got over the ninth-inning shot and the 6-5 Angels loss. He committed suicide three years later.
23. Joe Carter with the Walkoff
1993. It was the first walk-off homer in World Series history. It ruined Mitch Williams' career and kept the infamous Curse of Billy Penn intact until 2008.
22. Miami-Florida State Field Goals
How many times can a missed field goal change a rivalry? Well, let's see.
1991. 1992. 2000. 2002. 2003. All Florida State field goal misses in huge games. Four wide right, one wide left.
Finally, it's Miami who suffers in 2005. 2:16 to go, Florida State up, 10-7. Miami has a chance to tie it, but holder Brian Monroe muffs the hold. The ball never reached the kicker's foot.
A slight redemption. But not really.
Here's the Wide Left from 2002.
21. Jordan over Ehlo
Fifth and deciding game of the Bulls and Cavaliers' 1989 first-round playoff series. Three seconds left. The Cavs are up, 100-99. They are finally going to move on.
You know the ball is going to Michael Jordan. Mike Sellers looks like he's going to inbound to Craig Hodges but sees Jordan breaking free from Craig Ehlo and Larry Nance.
Which is worse? The fact that he hit the shot or he did the jumping fist pump that is replayed on every Gatorade commercial for 15 years?
20. Flutie Becomes a Legend
I never understood why Gerard Phelan doesn't get more love. He made the catch in the Thanksgiving weekend classic in 1984.
It was an amazing bomb. I have to give Flutie that. 47-45 win over The U.
I still have my unopened box of Flutie Flakes.
19. A Steal by Bird
1987 Eastern Conference Finals, Game Five. Pistons are up, 107-106. Detroit just had to inbound the ball, maybe hit a foul shot, and it was over.
Instead, Larry Bird steals the in-bound attempt, hits Dennis Johnson in the paint, and D.J. lays it in. Celts win.
The Pistons won Game Six, but Boston took the series...and the hearts of Pistons fans.
18. Mike Jones Saves a Super Bowl
The Rams were up 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Then Steve McNair engineered a magical drive that had everyone thinking the game was headed to overtime. He got down to the 10 with six seconds left.
Then McNair hit Kevin Dyson on a slant pattern at the 3-yard line. He has one man to beat. Mike Jones was covering Frank Wycheck. Dyson had the angle, but Jones lunged and, with one miraculous hand, stopped Dyson at the 1.
Jones is on with Regis the next day. Dyson takes 8,000 calls from Bills fans saying, "Take that!"
17. The Webber Timeout
April 5, 1993. The Fab Five let a 67-63 lead slip away. Now down 73-71, Chris Webber brings the ball up the court. He's trapped.
The announcers had said it at least five times in 30 seconds. We all knew there were no timeouts left. But Webber put his hands together into a "T." That stood for technical.
He made $100 million in the NBA, but I bet he'd give some of it back to relive that moment.
16. The Statue of Liberty play
2007 Fiesta Bowl. Boise State had no business being this close to Oklahoma, but there they were in overtime.
They could have kicked the extra point to send it to another overtime. Instead, Broncos quarterback Jared Zabransky fakes out the entire Sooners line and slips the ball into Ian Johnson's hands.
Johnson scores the two-point conversion and Boise State wins. Davey slays the BCS Goliath.
15. The Music City Miracle
These are the sort of things that happen to the Buffalo Bills.
Jan. 8, 2000. Steve Christie had just hit a 41-yard field goal that could go a long way to taking Norwood off the hook in history.
Then, the Titans run the Home Run Throwback. Kevin Dyson is the third stringer on the play. Derrick Mason had a concussion and Anthony Dorsett has leg cramps.
So the guy that never ran the play in practice gets thrown in. Ball squibs up, the Titans get the ball to Frank Wycheck. He then flings it across the field to Dyson.
The Bills are already celebrating. Then they see Dyson sprinting down the sideline. Seventy-five yard later, one of the most disputed plays ever is in the books.
Did Wycheck throw a forward lateral? The replays...well, I'm not taking sides.
14. The Tuck Play
Jan. 20, 2002. The Raiders have the AFC divisional playoff game well in hand with a 13-3 in a near-blizzard in Foxboro.
Tom Brady, making his first-ever postseason start, leads the Pats down the field 67 yards to get within 13-10.
After a defensive stop, the Pats get it back. With 1:50 left, Brady drops back, pump-fakes, and goes to pull the ball back in. It fumbles out of his hands after a hit from Charles Woodson.
Raiders just have to run out the clock. But no. The officials call for a replay. They come back to the field and reverse the call, using the word "tuck."
Pats fans call this payback for a roughing the passer call against the Raiders that ended their dream in 1976. Adam Vinatieri hits a 27-yard field goal to tie it. Pats win in OT.
Raiders just know what rhymes with tuck.
13. The Drive from Elway
Not again. That's what Cleveland fans were thinking as they watched John Elway drive the Broncos 98 yards to tie the 1987 AFC Championship game.
It was just icing that the Broncos won in overtime. The pain was already too heavy to accept any kind of success.
12. Luis Gonzalez Flips the Script
This wasn't supposed to happen to the Yankees. They had already pulled off so many moments in this 2001 World Series. This was supposed to be a win for New York and for America after September 11.
Luis Gonzalez had other plans. He capped a series of weak dings off Mariano Rivera with a bloop over a drawn-in infield to win Game Seven of the Series for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It looks like MLB reigned in the video here, but we have something even better for you.
11. Montana to Taylor
There's so many Joe Montana moments. But this broke a broken city's heart.
The Bengals hit a field goal to go ahead 16-13 with 3:20 left in Super Bowl XXIII.
Cris Collinsworth saw his teammates celebrating and hit them. "Are you nuts? Do you know who's out there?"
Sure enough, Montana led the 49ers own the field. With 34 seconds left, Montana has them to the 10. Then he hits John Taylor in the back of the end zone.
Boomer Esiason never got his Wheaties box.
Dick Enberg sets the scene perfectly.
10. The Catch
Two years earlier in 1982, Montana already had scripted the signature moment.
This catch made by Dwight Clark for the NFC Championship served as an incredible ending to a muddy but classic win over Dallas.
Oh, the pain when you know you can't stop history.
9. Cal-Stanford: The 1982 Band Play
The game's over. Four seconds left. Stanford hit the winning field goal. 20-19, game over. Sure, let the band on the field.
Five laterals later and a few dodges of errant tuba tops, the Golden Bears pull off a miracle.
8. Bucky F'ing Dent
The season collapsed. The Red Sox blew the biggest lead in the shortest amount of time ever.
Still, somehow the Sox were on the verge of winning a one-game playoff. Until this scrawny pile of nothing stepped to the plate and launched a three-run homer to power the Yankees to a 5-4 win.
Again, the MLB scrooges have wiped the Web clean of this. But we do have this gem of a grudge match.
7. Charles Dunks Phi Slamma Jamma
The North Carolina State Wolfpack was Cinderella, but they weren't supposed to get their glass slipper and hang with the crazy-talented Houston team full of NBA Hall of Famers.
But there were the Wolfpack, tied 52-all with Phi Slamma Jamma. Derrick Whittenburg took an in-bound pass with four seconds to go and heaved a 35-footer. The game was headed to overtime, right?
Nope. Lorenzo Charles had slipped around defenders and timed his jump perfectly to grab the errant ball mid-air and dunk it as the horn sounded.
Jim Valvano still can't find anyone to hug.
6. David Tyree...Really?
It ruined the perfect 2007 season. Yes, they still had to score from there. But it was in stone with the gods from here.
I still cringe about Eli Manning more. How did he get out of a sack? David Tyree is supposed to catch balls—even that one.
Who am I kidding? Tyree makes me want to puke to this day.
5. Don't Touch That Ball, Bartman
Oct. 15, 2003. The Cubs were leading the Marlins 3-0 in the eighth. It was all going right. Take that, goat.
Five outs to go. Luis Castillo hits a slicing ball down the left-field line. Moises Alou has room to get it. He reaches out and his glove is bumped by Steve Bartman's outstretched hand.
The inning falls apart. Marlins go ahead 8-3 to win Game Six and tie the Series. The Cubs blow a lead in Game Seven as well.
Bartman is still in exile.
Again, no video ... except for after, when he's being escorted out of Wrigley. Yeah, good luck with that.
4. Gibson's Homer
"I don't believe what I just saw."
It only won Game One of the World Series. But, 22 years later, A's fans know it was the end of their mini-dynasty. They still don't believe it.
3. Laettner's One Shining Moment
March 28, 1992. Kentucky pulls off an epic comeback to erase a 12-point Duke lead and send the East Regional Final to overtime.
Kentucky takes the lead, 103-102, with 2.1 seconds left. Duke has one shot to send a Hail Mary down the court.
Grant Hill is heavily guarded but gets off the lunge. The ball slips through a Kentucky defender at midcourt and into Christian Laettner's hands. Laettner fakes out Deron Feldhaus and hits a fallaway shot.
Brackets are crushed nationwide. Laettner still can't step foot in Kentucky without packing heat.
2. Wide Right
Jan. 27, 1991. Super Bowl XXV in Tampa.
The Giants offense controlled the clock for 40 minutes and 33 seconds, a Super Bowl record. It was the only way to keep Jim Kelly's offense from scoring. They were that good.
Still, Kelly got them in position with seconds remaining. Scott Norwood was a lock from 47 yards. No problem.
It looks good. But then the gods interfere and push it...wide right. Giants win, 20-19.
1. Buckner Missed the Ball
Bill Buckner should have never been in the game. To this day, I still blame John McNamara for not subbing in Dave Stapleton.