5 of the Most "Unlucky" Plays in NFL History

Print
  • By Ralph Warner
More Columns >

In sports, a team's misfortune always benefits their opponent. If you get a flat tire on your way to work, no one really gains anything from that. However, if a kicker misses a potential game-winning field goal, the other team considers it a blessing from the gridiron Gods.

With today being Friday the 13th, we'll look back on a few plays that were misfortunes for some teams and miracles for others. From a botched snap to a wrong way trip to the end zone, these are 5 of the Most Unlucky Plays in NFL History.

The Wrong Way Run

Week 7, 1964 Season

One play -- negative or positive -- should never completely determine the narrative of an entire career. The Wrong Way Run, an infamous play in which Vikings DE Jim Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards to the wrong end zone -- resulting in a safety -- happened in October 1964. Over a half-century later, that's unfortunately what he's most remembered for today. Not the fact that the two-time Pro Bowler started in a ridiculous 270 consecutive games for the Minnesota Vikings which is still the record for consecutive starts among NFL defensive players.

Miracle at the Meadowlands / The Fumble

Week 12, 1978 season

This play is known by most as the original "Miracle at the Meadowlands," but for Giants fans it's the "The Fumble." The Eagles had no timeouts and were trailing 17-12 with 31 seconds left when Giants QB Joe Pisarcik dropped back and fumbled the ball. Eagles CB Herm Edwards scooped the fumble and ran it back 26 yards for the game-winning TD.

Gary Anderson Is Human

1998 NFC Championship

Any kicker will tell you that no field goal is truly "automatic" -- especially in high-pressure situations like a conference championship. There's no better example of this than Vikings K Gary Anderson in the 1998 NFC Championship. Anderson was perfect throughout the 1998 season, he became the first kicker to make all of his extra points and field goal attempts (35/35). However, with 2:11 left on the clock and an opportunity to put the Vikings up by 10, Anderson missed a 39-yard (indoor) FG. The Falcons got a second life and scored on their very next drive to tie the game 27-27 and force overtime. The Falcons would eventually win on a 38-yard FG by Morten Andersen.

The Botched Snap

2006 NFC Wild Card Game

The 2006 season was a breakout Pro Bowl year for Tony Romo, but his play in the Wild Card game was lackluster. Romo completed 17 of 29 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. Despite his mediocre play, the Cowboys were still in a position to win with just 1:19 left. They were down 21-20 but just needed a 19-yard field goal from Martín Gramática. However, Romo fumbled the snap, scrambled to try and score, but was stopped short by Seahawks SS Jordan Babineaux.

The Most Improbable Catch

Super Bowl LI

In the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, Julian Edelman somehow snagged this circus catch. What initially looked like an interception by Falcons CB Robert Alford, turned into the most improbable reception -- considering it touched about a half dozen appendages -- in NFL playoff history. A 5-foot-10 seventh round draft pick makes the biggest play in the Super Bowl? Makes Patriot sense.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop