10) Browns defeated season
In 2016, the Cleveland Browns went 1-15 in what was one of the more pathetic seasons that the NFL has ever seen. For Browns fans, it couldn’t get much worse than that, right? Wrong. In 2017, the Browns decided to one-up themselves and go 0-16, having just the second winless season in NFL history (of at least 16 games). All in all, their winless drought lasted 635 days until Baker Mayfield ended it in 2018. Baker is the savior – or so they thought. This year he’s regressed and could be trending towards being just another Browns quarterback bust. Sorry Browns fans, better luck next decade.
9) UConn football setting all sorts of “records”
While no season in the past 10-plus years has been a good one for UConn football, 2018 was just about the worst there could be. And not just the worst for UConn – no – the worst ever. For anyone. The defense set records for their poor play, giving up 50.41 points and 617.4 yards per game, both being the most in FBS history. The 2018 UConn defense was, statistically, the worst in the history of college football.
8) Duke Johnson’s “fumble”
This one is a little more niche than most of the others, but from the moment I watched it live, it has stood out in my head as one of the funniest and most dumbfounding referee errors I’ve seen. On this play, Duke Johnson, who was on the Browns at the time, fumbled on a simple run. Clearly fumbled no question there. But shortly after the play, he emerges from the pile holding the ball in his hand. He was holding the ball. But after he clearly showed he had the ball, the line judge, who appeared to still be searching for the ball while Johnson was holding it in the air, ruled the Redskins recovered it, and even crazier, the NFL stuck by the call. As legendary offensive tackle Joe Thomas put it after the game, “lie till you die.”
7) Super Bowl power outage
This one is more just funny than embarrassing or heartbreaking, but in Super Bowl XLVII the power in the entire stadium just cut out less than two minutes into the third quarter. How this even happened, nobody knows, but it’s certainly a once-in-a-century occurrence. The Super Bowl is one of, if not the biggest, sporting events of the entire year, so to have something shutdown play for more than half an hour is, frankly, insane.
6) Tampa Bay Lightning getting swept in the playoffs
The 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning were, statistically, one of the best teams in NHL history. They tied the record for most wins in a season with 62. They won the President’s Trophy, which is awarded to the team that finishes the season with the most points. In the playoffs, they got to face the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had the fewest points of any team in the Eastern Conference. What did they do? They got swept, the first President’s Trophy winner to ever suffer that fate in the first round. Well done, Tampa.
5) J.R. Smith forgetting the clock
Oh, J.R. Mr. Smith isn’t the brightest bulb in the NBA. He’s had plenty of mental screw ups while on the court, but none were worse than in the 2018 NBA Finals. After George Hill missed the potential game-winning free throw, J.R. managed to get the offensive rebound. Now, instead of putting a shot back up or passing it to an open teammate (with enough time to shoot, he eventually did), J.R. … dribbled the clock out. With the chance to steal Game 1 versus a heavily favored Golden State Warriors team, J.R. had perhaps the most famous mental gaff of the decade. If one good thing came from it, it was LeBron turning into a meme after.
4) Astros garbage can band
This one is very recent, but my god, this is one of the biggest baseball scandals in recent memory. Short version: The Houston Astros were stealing signs in 2017 (and possibly from then on), which most likely played a great role in them winning the World Series. How did they do it? By banging on a trash can. Depending on the number of bangs, that’s how the batter knew what pitch was coming. While this hasn’t officially been proven, YouTuber Jomboy put together a very detailed series of videos that acts as all the proof most people need. The 2017 Astros were such a likable team and now all they are, are cheaters (sorry George Springer).
3) Nickell Roby-Coleman … you know what
2019. NFC Championship. Fourth-quarter. Under two minutes left. Rams. Saints. Tied 20-20. The saints had the ball at the Rams’ 13-yard-line, and on 3rd down Drew Brees tried to find receiver Tommylee Lewis near the right sideline. Rams cornerback Nickell Roby-Coleman hit Lewis well before the ball got to him, a clear pass interference. Well, clear to everyone but the refs. If they were to call it pass interference, it would have given the Saints a first down and essentially win them the game, allowing them to waste most of the rest of the time on the clock before Wil Lutz attempted a shorter field goal than the one he made instead. Saints would go to the Super Bowl, and who knows what happens from there. But that’s not what happened. The Rams blew it, and they blew it so bad the NFL made a new rule solely based on that play. Oh, and while we’re on the topic of blown calls, Dez caught it.
2) Armando Galarraga’s non-perfect game
This one causes me pain whenever I think about it. On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw a perfect game. 27 up, 27 down. Or at least, that’s what it should have been. Batter No. 27 hit a chopper to the right of first, Miguel Cabrera cut it off and threw it to Galarraga to nab the batter at first, except umpire Jim Joyce called him safe. It was a clear blown call. Everyone in the stadium had their hands on their head out of disbelief, including Indians shortstop Jason Donald, who hit the ball. After the game, Joyce admitted to it, taking full responsibility. The next game, he was crying when he accepted the lineup from Galarraga before first pitch. It was a dumb mistake, and it cost Galarraga history. It was a true baseball tragedy.
Honorable mentions: It was hard to keep this list to just 10, so here are some more that just missed the cut: Antonio Brown … just everything: Same for Johnny Manziel; the double doink; Brady’s Super Bowl drop: Pablo Sandoval’s contract (same for Jacoby Ellsbury); The Charlotte Bobcats being one of the worst teams in NBA history and then not winning the lottery, missing out on Anthony Davis and ending up with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead; Bears trade up for Trubisky with Watson and Mahomes available; 28-3 and 3-1;
1) The Butt Fumble
What else could take the top spot? When one thinks of the worst, most embarrassing plays in history, the butt fumble immediately comes to mind. New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez decided to take the snap and run it right back up the middle, picking up a few yards and making it a more manageable second down. But that’s not what happened. What happened was he ran into the butt of his offensive lineman, fumbled the ball and had it returned for a touchdown. Even worse: It was on Thanksgiving. So much worse: It was against the Patriots. That play effectively ended the Sanchize and has been on a stain on the Jets ever since.