The NFL has been caught reversing its field a lot lately. First Baltimore running back Ray Rice was suspended two games for domestic violence. When the video surfaced of his slugging his then-fiancee the two games became indefinite.
Then the Minnesota Vikings said that despite Adrian Peterson’s child abuse charge he could play while the legal system played out. When the public outcry became deafening, Peterson was banned from all team activities.
Were these decisions among the worst in sports history?
You decide. Here now a non-scientific list of the 10 worst.
Jean van de Velde
At the 1999 British Open, Jean van de Velde came to the final hole with a three stroke lead. Instead of playing it safe he took out his driver. The calamity had begun. By the time he finished the hole his triple bogey 7 dropped him into a three-way playoff, which of course he lost. He has never won a Major golf tournament.
In the 1929 Rose Bowl California’s All-America center Roy Riegels picked up a fumble and ran the wrong way toward his own end zone. He was tackled at the 1. On the next play Georgia Tech scored a safety and won the game 8-7. He would forever be known as “Wrong-Way” Riegels.
10-Cent Beer Night
On June 4, 1974 the Cleveland Indians had the bright idea of staging “10-cent beer night.” A drunken riot forced the Indians to forfeit the game to Texas.
The Heidi Game
On November 17, 1968 the Jets led Oakland 32-29 when NBC ended the telecast and began showing the movie Heidi.
What the nation didn’t see was Oakland scoring two touchdowns in the final minute to win the game 43-32.
Not to pick on NBC, but in 2001 they joined forces with the World Wrestling Federation to produce a new football league. It was a debacle. The league folded after one season.
John F. Kennedy was assassinated on a Friday in 1963. The NFL decided to play their full slate of games two days later. The games were not televised, and Commissioner Pete Rozelle later admitted that might have been his biggest mistake.
The country was caught up in the home run battle between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. The whole thing turned out to be a steroid-fueled fraud. Who was at fault? There’s no shortage of candidates. The players, the owners, the commissioner and the fans all wanted to believe it was true for their own reasons.
In 1961 Roger Maris was chasing Babe Ruth’s cherished record of 60 homers in a season. But the Babe’s season was 154 games. Roger’s was 162. Commissioner Ford Frick declared that if the record wasn’t broken in 154 games an asterisk should be noted in the record book. In fact, no asterisk was ever placed next to Roger Maris’ name.
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player in NBA history. If not, he’s in the top 5. But when the 1984 NBA draft rolled around he was selected third. Houston took center Hakeem Olajuwon with the first pick. Not bad. He led them to two NBA titles. Portland then took Sam Bowie with the second pick. That didn’t quite work out as well. Michael Jordan then landed in the lap of the Chicago Bulls on the third pick.
In 1919 the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. The Curse of the Bambino? The Red Sox went 86 years without winning the World Series. During that time the Yankees won 26.