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Scott Norwood tops list of biggest chokes in NFL lore

Phil Sandlin / Associated Press
Scott Norwood's heartwrenching miss helped set off an unprecedented Super Bowl run for the Buffalo Bills.

The world weeps this Sunday for poor Adam Scott, who kicked away a four-stroke lead with four holes to go and handed the British Open championship to Ernie Els.

Here at Around The League, we're happy for Els, because, let's face it, fortune rarely shines on guys named Ernie. A legitimately surprising development.

But back to Adam Scott. Damn, dude. First, the snarky guy from "Parks and Recreation" steals your name. Now you're part of the conversation on golf's biggest gag jobs.

This got us thinking: What are the 10 biggest chokes in NFL history?


 

10. Trey Junkin, 2002 NFC Wild Card Game


 

"Hold up, BRO! What about da pass intah-feeeerence!" Pipe down, Big Anthony from Weehawken. Junkin's bad snap -- a play that still haunts him -- was a classic example of a man being swallowed up by the stakes.


 


9. Lee Evans, 2011 AFC Championship Game


 

Yes, Sterling Moore got his hand in there, but Evans needed to hold on to that ball. On the plus side, it saved us from two weeks of Joe Flacco fluff pieces before he threw three interceptions in the Super Bowl.


 


8. John Kasay, Super Bowl XXXVIII


 

Kasay kept 77 of his 78 kickoffs in play during the 2003 regular season. This one, he did not. Adam Vinatieri should've given Kasay a cut of his Super Bowl bonus


 


7. Giants offense, "Miracle In The Meadowlands," 1978


 

Before Herman Edwards was an NFL head coach, before he made a living screaming at you on basic cable, he was most famous for scooping up Joe Pisarcik's ridiculous fumble and racing into the end zone. Jimmy Hoffa -- located under the west end zone -- rolled over in his grave after this one.


 


6. Tony Romo, "The Hold (Or Lack Thereof)," 2006 NFC Wild Card Game


 

As you can see, this play never got a cute name. But it does serve as the origin story of Romo not being a big-time quarterback. This obviously is unfair, though Romo could do himself a favor by finally putting together a half-decent playoff run.


 


5. Gary Anderson, 1998 NFC Championship Game


 

Anderson hadn't missed a field goal all season for the Minnesota Vikings until he pushed this 38-yarder wide left at the Metrodome. And when you crack the door open for Chris Chandler, you can't be surprised when he barges right in. Seriously, don't even bother installing a home-security system. Chris Chandler will compromise it. (Jump to the 1:02 mark to see Anderson's miss.)


 


4. Jackie Smith, Super Bowl XIII


 

When the sound bite most associated with your life goes -- "Bless his heart, he's got to be the sickest man in America!" -- something went terribly, horribly, tragically wrong.


 


3. Houston Oilers, 1992 AFC Wild Card Game


 

It's painful to blow a 32-point lead in the playoffs. It hurts even more when you blow that lead despite facing a team's backup quarterback, especially when said quarterback looks like "Quantum Leap" star Scott Bakula.


 


2. Earnest Byner, 1987 AFC Championship Game


 

See what we're talking about with Ernies? Life ain't easy. Sitting on the frozen turf at Mile High Stadium while Denver Broncos players rejoice is an unmatched image of gridiron sorrow.


 


1. Scott Norwood, Super Bowl XXV


 

I hate putting Norwood here, because seriously, have you ever tried to make a 47-yard field goal while Whitney Houston, Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf and 100 million other people watch on? It's not right, but Norwood is the Patron Saint of Choke. The Lonesome Kicker ... forever.


 

Want more choke?

Here's a (dis)honorable mention list of more gagtastic goodness:

• Raiders defense, "Immaculate Reception" (1972 AFC Divisional Playoff)
• Giants special teams, "Miracle In The Meadowlands II" (2010)
• NBC station programmers, "The Heidi Game" (1968)
• Donovan McNabb vomits, Super Bowl XXXIX
• Dolphins defense, "Monday Night Miracle" (2000)
• Bills special teams, "Music City Miracle" (1999 AFC Wild Card Game)
 

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