The Worst Play in Football
There are many types of plays out there that have occurred in games this year that could be designated as the absolute “worst” play in football. There are stupid penalties. There are stupidly thrown interceptions. There are butt fumbles. There are butt brained coaches decisions. Which one is the worst? Remember, these plays have all happened.
There is the free safety, who is the absolute last person back there on defense, as a wide receiver catches a slant pass and is coming right at him. The safety CAN tackle the receiver and limit the gain to just those ten or so yards. But no, he throws his shoulder into the receiver (without using his arms to wrap up) and the receiver bounces off the safety and proceeds to saunter about fifty yards untouched into the end zone.
There is the running back, who catches the swing pass (on third and ten on the 15 yard line). He goes untouched till he’s inside the five (and has gotten the first down). As the defender prepares to tackle the running back at about the three yard line, the running back switches the ball in his hands and prepares to launch himself toward the pylon at the goal line. But instead, the defender causes the running back to fumble that ball on the one, and the ball is fumbled back into the field of play, where the defensive team recovers at their own one. No touchdown. No first down. No possession. A big fat nothing.
There is the punt returner who signals for a fair catch on his own one yard line. He is not signaling for that fair catch to fool the defense as the ball trickles into the end zone. No, he CATCHES the ball for the fair catch on his own one yard line. Way to give your team that great field position.
There is the place kicker, who only needs to kick a thirty or so yard field goal to break the tie and win a game in overtime. But the kicker hooks the kick and misses wide to the left (and the game ends up ending in a tie). A comment on this. I think that kickers who hook their kicks (versus those who hit a fade) often miss their pressure kicks to the left when there is a high or bad snap that throws off the timing. The kicker gets blamed for missing these pressure kicks, but it is often the fault of the snapper and or the holder for these misses. Timing and execution depend on work from the snapper, the holder (and the line for blocking) AND the kicker. And kickers who fade have a greater margin for error when there are imperfect snaps and holds. Watch this some time. Kickers who hit a fade are more consistent under pressure.
There is the quarterback who is facing a late in the game, fourth down and ten yards to go situation. He HAS to get that first down or his team loses. So, what does he do? He goes back to pass and sees very little open, some receivers are blanketed, with some of the receivers partially covered, with just a sliver of a window of an opening. Then, after all of his progressions, he sees someone open five yards short of a first down and with a defender right behind him. He throws the completion. The receiver gets tackled immediately. And the team that needed to gain the ten yards and the first down loses the game because of this decision. Nice, gutsy thinking, QB. No risk taken. No reward gained. You the QB saw your completion percentage go up a bit. But your team lost the game.
There is the defensive back who races down the field, step for step with a wide receiver on a long pass play. Instead of playing good defense and reading the receiver’s eyes and making a play on the ball, the defensive back grabs a hold of the arm of the receiver right in front of the referee and gets an obvious pass interference penalty. This might seem like a stupid play, but enough DB’s get away with cheating on defense, you can at least forgive the player for TRYING to get away with this.
And there is the kickoff return man, who fields the ball about eight yards deep in the end zone. Now this man can kneel down, get a touchback, and get the ball automatically placed on the 25 yard line. It should be an automatic move. The average kickoff return is only about 20 or so yards. A return of 20 yards from eight yards deep in the end zone would only get you to the 12 yard line. A THIRTY yard return from that deep would still only get you to the 22 yard line, STILL shy of the automatic touchback. And then there are half the distance penalties that often happen that moves the ball even further back towards your own goal line. Why a kick returner returns a kick from deep in his own end zone when he has a guaranteed touchback to the 25 is one of the mysteries of all of football.
But, that’s not my dumbest, worst play in football. For that, I designate the running back, wide receiver or kick returner who busts one open and goes goes untouched as he races towards the end zone. This person is the one who, instead of crossing the goal line with the ball, decides to casually drop the ball to the ground at or around the goal line, presumably because he thinks it makes him look cool. Only, sometimes, the “cool dude” drops the ball a couple of yards shy of the goal line, and the bonehead play results in no scores for you and in the opposition instead getting the ball on their 20 yard line.
The reason it is the worst play in football is because it is the epitome of a high risk, no reward situation. You have a guaranteed touchdown and the only way you can blow it is by pulling this bonehead, hot dog maneuver that gains you nothing and not only risks your team not getting the score. It also causes your opponents to get the ball, and it has the potential to completely change the momentum of the game. A score for your team turns into a no score, AND the other guys get the ball. And it is something that is COMPLETELY avoidable. The ultimate unforced error.
There you have it. A lot of scenarios that are among the dumbest, worst plays in football. A lot of combinations of risks vs. rewards. And then there’s the one that takes the cake. A person thinks he is doing something that makes him look cool, and he ends up doing the one thing that makes him look like the dumbest player in the history of the game.