Gaffes mem­o­rable but not Os­car-wor­thy

The Academy Awards were marred by a his­toric screwup at the end of the night Sun­day, but in terms of his­toric hu­man er­rors, re­mem­ber­ing these ter­ri­ble fails in sports might help ease the em­bar­rass­ment:

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Nina Man­dell, Ted Berg and Charles Cur­tis

1. SEA­HAWKS-PACK­ERS, 2012 The “Fail Mary” play es­sen­tially ended the NFL lock­out of game of­fi­cials. Re­place­ment of­fi­cials botched a game-end­ing call on Seat­tle Sea­hawks quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son’s pass into the end zone. One of­fi­cial sig­naled a touch­down and an­other in­di­cated it was an in­ter­cep­tion, but even­tu­ally the Sea­hawks were given a TD to beat the Green Bay Pack­ers. The con­tro­versy that was so bad that the NFL and of­fi­cials union reached an agree­ment in the days that fol­lowed. An ob­vi­ous of­fen­sive pass in­ter­fer­ence in the end zone also was missed.

2. THE ‘HEIDI’ GAME In 1968, NBC pulled away from a New York Jets- Oak­land Raiders game with just over a minute left to air the movie Heidi. View­ers missed a thrilling end­ing in which the Raiders scored two touch­downs in the fi­nal minute.

3. PHIL MICK­EL­SON’S 2006 U.S. OPEN COL­LAPSE At Winged Foot in Ma­maro­neck, N.Y., Mick­el­son stepped up to the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead and hit an er­rant drive. In­stead of safely chip­ping onto the fair­way and mov­ing on, he tried a cou­ple of risky shots that didn’t work and even­tu­ally ended up with a dou­ble-bo­gey, which left him one shot be­hind win­ner Ge­off Ogilvy.

4. MIR­A­CLE AT THE MEAD­OW­LANDS In 1978, the Phil­a­del­phia Ea­gles trailed the New York Giants 17-12 and had no time­outs left in the fi­nal minute. The Giants only needed to take a knee to run out the clock, but quar­ter­back Joe Pis­ar­cik at­tempted a hand­off to Larry Csonka. The ex­change was botched, and Her­man Ed­wards picked up the fum­ble and ran 26 yards for a touch­down. Eas­ily one of the dumb­est plays in NFL his­tory.

5. SU­PER BOWL XLIX PLAY CALL What if Pete Car­roll and his Sea­hawks of­fen­sive coaches had cho­sen to run the ball with Mar­shawn Lynch at the end of Su­per Bowl XLIX in­stead of call­ing a pass, which led to Mal­colm But­ler’s in­ter­cep­tion and a mirac­u­lous win for the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots? We don’t know. All we do know is that the play call was slammed by just about ev­ery­one, send­ing Car­roll and Co. into the “worst sports mis­takes” record books.

6. STAN­FORD-CAL BAND GAME, 1982 It all started with a rare men­tal er­ror by Stan­ford quar­ter­back John El­way. With eight sec­onds to go, he called a time­out — which meant that when Car­di­nal kicker Mark Har­mon sent a 35-yard kick through the up­rights, Cal had time left on the clock for one more play. But no one told the Stan­ford band this: So on the kick­off when a Cal­i­for­nia player grabbed the foot­ball on his team’s 46-yard line and be­gan a se­ries of lat­er­als and pitch backs, the Golden Bears ended up run­ning through con­fused Stan­ford band mem­bers on the field and scor­ing the game-win­ning touch­down. “I was in­cred­i­bly an­gry right af­ter the game, then I was just numb,” Ken Williams, a fresh­man wide re­ceiver at the time, told the school’s alumni mag­a­zine.

7. DAVID CONE AR­GUES WHILE RUNS SCORE In a largely for­got­ten but none­the­less em­bar­rass­ing men­tal gaffe early in the 1990 sea­son, New York Mets pitcher Cone ob­jected to a call at first base and got into a heated ar­gu­ment with the um­pire, ig­nor­ing the two At­lanta Braves run­ners on base. Cone, now one of the game’s most cere­bral broad­cast­ers, turned his back to home plate as both run­ners scored, and the Braves went on to win 7-4.

8. BUCK SHOWAL­TER PLAYS IT BY THE BOOK Bal­ti­more Ori­oles man­ager Showal­ter en­tered the 2016 Amer­i­can League wild-card game with a great rep­u­ta­tion for his abil­ity to man­age a bullpen, but he ex­ited it a goat for fail­ing to turn to his best pitcher with his club’s sea­son on the line. Though re­port­edly healthy and ready to pitch, left­hander Zach Brit­ton — who yielded a 0.54 ERA dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son — watched from the bullpen as Showal­ter turned to far­less-ef­fec­tive Ubaldo Jimenez to face the heart of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup with one out in the bot­tom of the 11th in­ning. Jimenez promptly al­lowed sin­gles to Devon Travis and Josh Don­ald­son be­fore Ed­win En­car­na­cion’s mon­ster homer gave Toronto a walk-off win and sent Bal­ti­more home for the off­sea­son.

9. CHRIS WEB­BER CALLS A TIME­OUT First, the Michi­gan star trav­eled, but it wasn’t called. Then, with his team down by two points and 11 sec­onds left in the 1993 NCAA tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship game, Web­ber called a time­out. The prob­lem? His team had none left, which meant in­stead of get­ting a chance to re­set, Michi­gan was given a tech­ni­cal foul, and North Carolina went on to win 77-71.


Cal­i­for­nia’s Kevin Moen crosses the goal line amid Stan­ford band mem­bers to score the win­ning TD in Novem­ber 1982.


Re­place­ment of­fi­cials gave dif­fer­ing sig­nals on the in­fa­mous Pack­ers-Sea­hawks “Fail Mary” play in Septem­ber 2012.

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