Matt Leinart and the 4 Unluckiest Players in NFL History

Adam OdekirkContributor IINovember 28, 2011

Matt Leinart and the 4 Unluckiest Players in NFL History

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    Every time a player steps onto the football field it is the combination of skill and luck that allows them to succeed.

    Even though players hate to acknowledge the luck side of things and prefer to focus on their skill, they have to keep in mind that shunning fate and luck may cause them to end up like some of the players on this list.

    Here are a few of the unluckiest guys in NFL history. Feel free to add your own fond memories of hard-luck players in the comments section below!

Matt Leinart

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    Matt Leinart was being given a golden second chance this Week 12 of the NFL season; the former hard-partying, Heisman Trophy winning USC Trojan had just been handed the keys to an explosive playoff-bound offense. 

    He was looking good and had just connected on a sharp touchdown pass in Jacksonville when disaster struck. Leinart was hit hard and suffered what is being speculated as a broken collarbone.

    "There's a pretty strong possibility I probably won't be coming back this season," Leinart said after the game.

    "It's pretty disappointing. It's tough to swallow, but we'll just move forward. Everything that's happened to me, this was a great opportunity. ... It's unfortunate, but I'm not going to give up. It's not my nature. I'll just keep moving forward and figure this thing out one step at a time."

    Just when Leinart had the opportunity to erase the stigma that had followed him from Arizona and was trying to work his way back, he is now forced to endure another roadblock in his attempted comeback.

Jackie Smith

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    Not many people have the rare opportunity to catch a Super Bowl winning pass for their team; by that same token, the amount of people who let that opportunity slip through their fingers is equally slim.

    When you are wide open and you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback named Roger Staubach throwing you the ball, it can only be bad luck (and maybe some nerves) that causes the drop. 

    Now, because the Dallas Cowboys ended up having the chance to win a few more Super Bowls afterwards, Smith is not reviled in the way Bill Buckner was in Boston.

    Still, that kind of thing has to haunt a guy every single day. 

Bill Gramatica

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    Kicking a field goal in the NFL is definitely an art, and something that is hard to consistently do on a regular basis.

    Kickers would probably never admit this, but they may feel like they are a little lucky every time they convert. 

    Unfortunately, sometimes kickers aren't equipped to handle the athletic requirements needed to properly celebrate a field goal. Bill Gramatica is proof of that.

    Call it unlucky, or uncoordinated, but Gramatica probably wishes this video was not the calling card of his career.

Garo Yepremian

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    "Garo's Gaffe" is a play that doesn't get much attention anymore, but at the time it was potentially such a huge disaster that it could have altered NFL history forever. 

    The 1972 Miami Dolphins are still the only team to go escape both the regular season and postseason undefeated, but their placekicker Garo Yepremian nearly prevented such distinction and prestige for the team in the pivotal Super Bowl VII.  

    The situation was that the Dolphins had the Redskins dead to rights at 14-0 and were looking to ice the game with a field goal. The field goal was blocked and for a fleeting moment, when Yepremian picked the blocked kick up, he saw Super Bowl glory.

    Instead, he watched his pass get intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Washington.

    In the end, luck was on the side of the '72 Dolphins, as they went on to win—even if their placekicker wasn't so lucky.