Top 10 "Oh No!" Sports Moments of 2016
There are good plays in sports, and there are the painfully bad ones. This is a list of the latter. These are the moments in sports this year that made us flinch, cringe, and experience the worst kind of secondhand embarrassment. If you’ve ever watched a sporting event that made you scream at your television in disbelief or question your faith in humanity, this is the list for you. These are the top 10 moments in sports this year that made us facepalm the hardest.
Odell Beckham Jr's relationship with the kicking net
OBJ is a character. The guy who exploded onto the scene with a spectacular one-handed grab in 2014, and had a literal fight with Josh Norman, is at it again. This time, he’s got a partner in crime. It’s not Eli Manning, it’s the kicking net on the sidelines. In a game against Norman’s Washington Redskins, the Giants were driving down the field down by two in the fourth quarter. Eli Manning threw a pick in the endzone that eventually sealed the deal for Washington. Beckham, furious and in tears, took to the sidelines and hit the kicking net with his helmet. The net pushed back, falling right into Beckham’s face. His postgame comments included him mentioning that he was no longer having fun.
A week later, Beckham caught his first touchdown pass of the season against the Green Bay Packers. Seemingly having fun again, the Giants receiver gave the net a big makeup hug.
A week later against the Ravens, Beckham scored on a 79-yard pass from Manning, and took his relationship to the next level with the net, proposing to it and giving it a big ol’ kiss. And then he consummated his relationship with it.
I… I have no words for what happened earlier this fall.
August 24- Hope Solo calls Swedish team "cowards" after U.S. loses in Olympics, gets cut from team
Just because the US Women’s National Team is wildly successful doesn’t mean that problems don’t exist. Enter goaltender Hope Solo. While not taking away from Solo’s ability between the pipes (she’s a damn good goalie), she could have chosen her words a little more carefully. The U.S. Olympic team played Sweden in the quarterfinal match in Rio and dominated possession and on offense, managing 27 shots on net in the game. The Swedes only had two in regulation. Their second, however, found the back of the net, and tied the game at 1. Sweden would beat the U.S. 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout, eliminating the team that had never not medaled since women’s soccer was included in the Olympic program. “I… think we played a bunch of cowards. But, you know, the best team did not win today,” remarked Solo after the loss, “Unfortunately, the better team didn’t win.” Solo’s comments were well criticized by analysts and other athletes alike.
Unfortunately for Solo, this isn’t the first time she’s made headlines with her words. She has consistently feuded with her teammates and former U.S. Women’s National Team players, including World Cup and Olympic heroes Brandi Chastain and Brianna Scurry. In the end, Solo’s comments (paired with a mass of other things) got her a six-month suspension from the National Soccer Team, and a release from her contract. Solo was understandably angry about being released, as shown in the video above. When looking at this from afar, it’s not difficult to see why Solo’s words got her in so much trouble. It’s great to have players who are outspoken, but it gets to be a problem when that player makes an entire country out to be sore losers.
January 9- Vontaze Burfict lays out Antonio Brown, Pacman Jones draws another penalty, Steelers hit game-winning field goal (AFC Wild Card Game, Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh)
In the AFC Wild Card playoff earlier this year, the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers matched up in what turned out to be a pretty tame game until the last few minutes. The Steelers had a 15-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter, but Cincinnati turned it around, scoring 16 unanswered points to go ahead with 1:50 remaining. The Steelers, operating without QB Ben Roethlisberger, who had gone down with an injury, turned to Landry Jones, who threw a terrible interception, effectively sealing the game. But the Bengals, attempting to run out the clock, fumbled the ball at the Pittsburgh 20. Roethlisberger came back into the game with a tender throwing arm, and led the Steelers to the Cincinnati 47 with 22 seconds to go. Then it all went south for Cincinnati. On the next play, Roethlisberger threw to Antonio Brown, but just barely overthrew him. Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict laid a malicious, clearly head-hunting hit on him, giving the Steelers a free 15 yard penalty. Watch the replay at your own risk- watching the shoulder-to-head contact, then watching Brown’s body effectively go limp as he slumps to the ground- it’s scary. Naturally, there was a skirmish between the two teams over the hit. That’s when Bengals CB Adam “Pacman” Jones decided to mouth off to the referee, yielding another 15 yard penalty against the Bengals, putting the Steelers at the 17 yard line. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell hit the chip-shot field goal, putting the Steelers up 18-15 for good. Burfict would earn a fine and a four game suspension for his hit on Brown. Just disgusting.
April 16- Steve Mason gives up a goal from center ice (Stanley Cup Playoffs, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 2, Washington vs. Philadelphia)
Finally, some lighthearted “oh no” moments. I seriously thought bad goaltending only belonged in Toronto, and then I saw this highlight. With the Capitals leading the series 1 game to none, and already leading 1-0 in the game, Capitals LW Jason Chimera chipped the puck down the ice from the center line. Flyers goaltender Steve Mason, who just made an incredible save on Eric Carlson, was playing way back in net, and did not judge the trajectory or speed of the puck as it came back to him. The puck skittered between his legs and into the net. 2-0 Caps. Washington would win the game 4-1, and go on to win the series, four games to two.
The Top 10:
10. November 17- Justin DeLuzio gets decked by a deer during a cross country race
A senior at Gwynedd Mercy University in Pennsylvania, Justin DeLuzio was about a mile into his last cross country race of the year. And then he got blindsided by Earl Thomas disguised as Bambi. He would finish the five-mile race in 31 minutes and 16 seconds. Please watch this video of a man getting truck sticked by a deer.
"Watch out for the deer!" *WHAAPP* "Ooooh..."
9. September 10- UConn calls timeout they don't have, clock runs out while trying to score game-winning touchdown (Navy vs. UConn)
If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you that I hate everything about athletics at the University of Connecticut. This one is pretty sweet. Navy had already been up 21 to nothing, capitalizing on a few UConn fumbles. UConn battled their way back into the game, scoring a touchdown on a 92-yard fumble recovery and run back. With Navy up 28-24, UConn drove down the field in an attempt to score the winning touchdown. With 17 seconds remaining, UConn had the ball at the Navy 1-yard line after QB Bryant Shirreffs had found Hergy Mayala on first and goal from inside the 10. The clock had stopped as Mayala ran out of bounds. On the next play, to prevent the play clock from running out, UConn head coach Bob Diaco called a timeout. On second down, Connecticut RB Ron Johnson got stuffed at the goal line. Diaco tried to call timeout again, but failed to realize that he had just called one and had none left. The clock ran out as UConn failed to get back on the ball to run another play. Navy holds on to win, 28-24. When UConn makes stupid mistakes, America wins.
8. September 10- Ray-Ray McCloud drops ball before crossing goal line (Clemson vs. Troy)
This happened far too many times this season in college football, and it all happened within two or three weeks of one another. Late in the second quarter of a 13-10 game between Clemson and Troy, Clemson punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud ran back the kick 75 yards for what seemed like a Clemson touchdown. And it definitely seemed like it was a Clemson touchdown- it took a while for anyone on the broadcast team to realize what had happened. Before he crossed the goal line, McCloud dropped the ball in celebration, which is a fumble. It’s nothing like the original DeSean Jackson fumble, or the Kaelin Clay fumble that led to an Oregon fumble recovery, but it certainly makes you shake your head in disbelief.
7. November 21- Top-ranked Maryland blows 4-1 lead in last 20 minutes to lose to Providence (NCAA Soccer Tournament, Maryland vs. Providence)
You don’t hear about the world of college soccer all that often. When it’s a good thing, typically it’s some absurd highlight-reel goal or save. When it’s a bad thing, it’s typically something like this. No. 1 ranked Maryland was hosting Providence, and was cruising to a 4-1 lead late in the 2nd half. That’s when it all came crashing down for the Terrapins. Providence Midfielder Julian Gressel scored first (his second of the game), making it 4-2. 36 seconds later, it was Friars defender Nick Sailor putting one into the net. About five minutes later, defender Steven Kilday scored to tie the game at four. This was the first time since 2013 that Maryland had allowed four goals in a game. In the 82nd minute, defender Joao Serrano scored off of a corner kick to give the Friars a stunning 5-4 lead over the undefeated Terrapins. With the Terps in disbelief, having squandered a sure victory, the Friars celebrated and danced their way to the Sweet 16. Inside every great comeback is a historic collapse, and this is probably the biggest collapse (okay, second biggest collapse) of 2016.
6. June 22- Nationals botch ground ball, allow Yasiel Puig to hit walk-off, inside-the-park home run (Los Angeles vs. Washington)
It’s not often you see a botched ground ball like this. In this game back in June between the Dodgers and Nationals at Dodger Stadium, the Nats had a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 9th, with one out, a man at first, and Yasiel Puig, who had been having a relatively subdued 2016 season, at the plate. Nats closer Shawn Kelley’s 1-0 was a ground ball up the middle that should have been easily playable for CF Michael Taylor. The game would have stayed 3-2, with men at 1st and 2nd. Instead, Taylor made the mistake of playing the ball to his left, and it snuck underneath his glove and rolled all the way to the wall. Howie Kendrick, the man on 1st, came all the way around to score and tie the game, and the speedy Puig followed closely, scoring the winning run on an inside-the-park home run, giving the Dodgers the improbable 4-3 victory. Taylor, who had struck out five times in the game, ultimately had the play that sunk his team.
5. September 7- Ryan Lochte suspended by U.S. Swimming after being caught in lie about Rio gas station robbery
I don’t really understand why people embraced this guy in the first place, to be quite honest. I mean, Jason Lezak and Nathan Adrian have done more for the mystique of American Olympic swimming than Lochte has. Sure, the guy’s won a gold medal at each of the last four summer Olympics, but there’s this really great swimmer named Michael Phelps who has more than twice the medals he does. Lochte is also known for his lack of brain power, and it was on display in full force in the events that happened at the Olympics in Rio. Essentially what happened is this: a story broke that Lochte and four other American athletes were robbed at gunpoint by “armed robbers posing as police” at a gas station in Rio. Details later emerged that these “armed robbers” were security guards, and that Lochte and the others had urinated outside the bathroom and vandalized property, and ended up paying money from the guards. This was caught on security camera. Lochte lost some major sponsorships, was charged in Brazil for falsely reporting a crime, and suspended for 10 months from U.S. swimming. Media response was highly critical of the swimmer (except for NBC, which later faced criticism of its own for believing Lochte’s story in the first place), saying that Lochte overshadowed the accomplishments of the other athletes. For a guy who has admitted to peeing in the pool at the Olympics, this takes stupid to a whole new level.
4. October 23- Cardinals and Seahawks play to 6-6 tie, both kickers miss potential game-winning field goals from inside 30 yards in overtime (Seattle vs. Arizona)
This was either the worst football game of the year, or the best football game of the year, depending on how you look at it. Defensive battles are always great, but this is taking it to the extreme. The game was tied 3-3 at the end of regulation, after both teams had battled three-and-out after three-and-out to a tie after 60 minutes. The two exchanged field goals again in overtime, leaving 6 minutes for Carson Palmer and the Cardinals to drive down the field and scored the game-winning points in sudden death overtime. He found Jimmy Nelson for a 40 yard gain, which took them to the Seattle five yard-line. Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro lined up for a 24 yard field goal (nine yards shorter than an extra point) with 3:26 left in overtime. If he hits the field goal, the game is over. Easy, right?
Catanzaro’s kick hit the left upright, leaving the Cardinals and their fans stunned, and the Seahawks elated, as they were given another chance to win the game. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks drove down the field, making it inside the Arizona 10 yard line with less than a minute to play in OT. Now it was kicker Steven Hauschka’s turn to try to win the game for his team, with a 28-yard field goal to win it in sudden death. Then, this happened:
Listening to Al Michael's disbelief is fantastic. "And he misses it! That is impossible!" The Cardinals would take a shot for the endzone but come up short. A 6-6 tie. A TIE. Arizona had the ball 14 different times for a total of 46:19 and scored two points. They should have won this game. Watching Catanzaro and Hauschka miss those kicks makes your heart break. To see those players fight for so long and to come up with a tie is a little depressing. Regardless, this game was the best worst game in a long time, and it culminated with one of the most bizarre endings to any NFL game in history.
3. April 10- Jordan Spieth quadruple-bogeys 12th hole, blows 5 stroke lead in final round of The Masters
Jordan Spieth was riding high at the start of the 2015-16 PGA Tour Season. The former number one player in the world was the defending champion at the tournament, and had won the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay the previous year as well. Early in 2016 he posted a score of -30 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, he second player only to accomplish the feat. At the 2016 Masters, Spieth opened the final round with a one-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy, but extended the lead to five strokes at the start of the back nine. In a collapse that mirrored Greg Norman’s meltdown in 1996 at Augusta, Spieth bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes, then hit two balls in the water on the par 3-12th hole. He carded a quadruple-bogey 7, which dropped him back into a tie for fourth place, three strokes back of the lead. He ended up finishing in second place, three strokes behind winner Danny Willett. We haven’t seen much of Spieth since the collapse at Augusta, but he did win a tournament a month later, and made a strong showing on the Ryder Cup team. Spieth is currently ranked #5 in the world.
2. September 17- South Carolina State player forgets to take knee in the end zone and tosses ball to ref, Clemson jumps on it for a touchdown (Clemson vs. South Carolina State)
If this had been done in a game where it mattered, it might be in the top spot on this list. This game, however, got so out of hand, South Carolina State asked if the third and fourth quarters could be shortened to 12 minutes instead of the usual 15. Clemson led 14-0 late in the first quarter, when kicker Greg Huegel kicked off to SC State’s Ahmaad Harris in the end zone. Any ordinary player would do what one logically does on a kickoff that reaches the end zone- take a knee for a touchback. But not Harris. For some unknown reason, Harris decides to flip the ball to the official instead. Obviously, that’s not a touchback. That’s a fumble. Clemson’s Denzel Johnson pounces on the ball and scores a touchdown for Clemson, putting the Tigers up 21-0. Clemson would go on to blast S.C. State, 59-0. They led 45-0 at halftime, leading the two coaches to agree to shorten the quarters from 15 minutes to 12 minutes. Clemson outgained S.C. State 555 to 102. They played 65 players in that game, essentially empting the bench so they could all get some playing time. Naturally, S.C. State didn’t help themselves. They literally gave Clemson a free touchdown. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all, I suppose. The Bulldogs actually blocked a field goal in this game, which was the one drive Clemson didn’t score in the first half.
1. January 10- Blair Walsh misses 27-yard game-winning field goal to lose Tundra Bowl (NFC Wild Card, Seattle vs. Minnesota)
Listening to this radio call breaks my heart. That's Paul Allen, he's the play-by-play guy for the Vikings on the radio. The phrase "the season can't end like that!" followed by obvious stunned disbelief.
You'll also hear the Seahawks' Steve Raible, with his stunned "oh, baby!"
This one hurt me personally. Not because I am a Vikings fan, or because I root against the Seawhawks (which I do, ardently), but because it hurts to lose a game that you should have won. Any sports fan knows that. When you have an opportunity to knock out the defending NFC Champion, in a game in which you control maybe 80% of, it hurts when you can’t pull the trigger.
The Vikings and Seahawks met in an NFC Wild Card game, where the NFC North division champion Vikings were hosting at their temporary venue, TCF Bank Stadium, on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Seahawks, the defending NFC Champions, had fallen in second place to the Arizona Cardinals, who finished with the NFC West division title. The NFL has a history of naming its absurdly-cold-weather games. We’ve had the “Ice Bowl,” and the “Freezer Bowl.” This one would become known as the “Tundra Bowl.” The temperature at game time was six degrees below zero, with a wind chill factor of -25 degrees, making it the third coldest in NFL history.
The game was pretty slow, as a result, with the Vikings take a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter, solely on the foot of kicker Blair Walsh. Seattle, who seemed to be asleep for most of the game, finally heated up in the fourth quarter, as QB Russell Wilson found WR Doug Baldwin on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 11:37 left to play. With 8:04 remaining, the Seahawks went ahead with a field goal of their own from Steven Hauschka, making it 10-9 in favor of Seattle. On the game’s final drive, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater led his team down the field, aided by a 19-yard pass interference call on Seattle S Kam Chancellor, and a 24-yard strike from Bridgewater to TE Kyle Rudolph. They made it all the way to the Seattle 9 yard line with 26 seconds left to play, and left it up to their kicker, who hadn’t missed a field goal on the day. Unfortunately, Walsh’s attempt from 27 yards away sailed wide left. Seattle took a knee to end the game and advance to the divisional round. Walsh was understandably inconsolable after the loss.
The Vikings are no strangers to kicker gaffes, as Gary Anderson’s kick in the 1998 NFC Championship is just about as famous. The 1998 team was 15-1, and Anderson hadn’t missed a field goal or extra point all season. Anderson’s kick went wide left as well, and the Falcons went on to win the game and play in the Super Bowl.
This kick by Blair Walsh stings too, though. It’s one thing to kick in a cold weather game, it’s another to completely freeze your team’s chances of winning a championship. This missed kick earns the number one spot on this list.
What moments in sports make you shake your head in disbelief? Leave a comment down below.
You can also check out According to Andrew's "Best of 2016" spread HERE.