Confusing, Questionable, and Crazy: Oddest Moments in Sports
Sports can produce some memorable moments. Clutch shots, big hits, and diving plays, and game winners thrill us whenever we turn on the television or go to the games. These moments, although incredible, are assumed to happen at some point. However, there are some equally shocking moments in sports that are totally unexpected. Moments that cannot be replicated and are totally unplanned. Moments that leave fans gasping for air for all the wrong reasons. Let’s take a look at 20 of the most insane moments in sports history.
1. Jose Canseco Takes it off the Dome
Jose Canseco was a big name in baseball during the 1990s. Literally, he was a juiced-up power hitter with tree trunks for quads. He struck fear into opposing pitchers with his raw power and knack for hitting homers. But on one fateful day in 1993, Canseco was on the wrong end of one of baseball’s funniest home runs and became the laughing stock of the league.
While playing for the Texas Rangers, Canseco tracked a deep fly ball to the warning track. Rather than sticking an arm out to gauge his distance from the impending fence, Canseco quickly glanced at the wall, causing him to lose his focus for a fraction of a second. In that millisecond, the ball hit Canseco smack atop the head and bounced over the wall for a home run.
Canseco laughed it off and smiled with teammates, but the joke will forever be on him.
2. The Colts Forget Their Playbook
The Patriots have dominated the NFL landscape for almost two decades, and much of that domination has come at the expense of the Indianapolis Colts. Even when the Colts had Peyton Manning, an all-time great, they were only able to reach the Super Bowl twice and win once.
In a nationally-televised Sunday Night game on NBC in 2015, the Colts found themselves trailing the Pats by six points with a minute left in the third quarter. On fourth down, in a move that can only be considered downright stupid, the Colts lined up in a punt formation that put nine players staggered on one side of the field and the remaining two on the other side. Those isolated two players were the snapper and the player receiving the snap.
The Pats lined up about four players over the snapper and immediately pounced the moment the ball was snapped. No one is sure what the Colts were thinking or what could have possibly gone right with a formation that only had one blocker.
What we do know is the Colts turned it over and received an illegal formation penalty to add insult to injury.
3. Tony Allen Tears Knee on Dead-ball Dunk
This one hurts (more for Allen, but Celtics fans definitely felt the pain too). How many times do you see it. The whistle blows and someone puts up a dunk or shot? Practically every game.
So when Tony Allen went to dunk after the whistle in a game in early 2007, it seemed like every other inconsequential dead-ball dunk. Except two things went horribly wrong for the lock-down defender.
First, Allen missed the dunk. Kind of embarrassing. But what happened after the missed dunk poured tons of salt in an already open wound.
Allen landed awkwardly on his left leg and immediately fell to the ground withering in pain. The diagnosis was a torn ACL and MCL. Fortunately, Allen would return to action the following season where he was a crucial cog during the 2007-08 Celtics’ championship season.
4. Stefon Diggs and the Vikings Walk-off
The Vikings’ 2017 season looked all but over. Ten seconds remained on the clock. Down one point and on their own 40-yard line. It looked like the Saints, rather than the men in purple, who would march on to the NFC Championship Game.
Case Keenum, the Vikings quarterback, drops back and tosses up a floating sideline ball to Stefon Diggs. It was a hospital pass in the making. Saints’ Marcus Williams was charging in with a head full of steam and simultaneously arrived to the spot just as Diggs corralled the ball in mid-air.
What happened next was one of the most shocking plays in NFL history. A playoff walk-off. A buzzer beater. Rather than destroying Diggs and preventing the catch, Williams went low, apparently concerned about committing pass interference, and disregarding nearly everything he’s been taught about how to properly tackle.
Diggs landed, stumbled, and placed a hand on the ground all while tiptoeing the sidelines to remain inbounds. Home free. The Vikings won the game on an improbable play, one more defined by a shocking missed tackle than a spectacular throw or catch.
5. One-handed Catch Ruins Perfect Season
When this catch happened in 2008, a loud thud could be heard across America. That sound came from the sheer amount of jaws that dropped to the floor when Giants receiver David Tyree made one of the most improbable catches in NFL history, and it happened during the Super Bowl no less.
To start, we must first look at how this amazing catch in Super Bowl XLII even began. It started with Eli Manning avoiding about six potential tacklers deep in his backfield. The slow, un-athletic Manning eluded hordes of Patriots defenders as he scrambled around, desperately seeking somewhere to throw the ball.
With seemingly no good option, Manning tossed up a wobbly pseudo Hail Mary. Just throw it and pray. And this is where the second part of this unbelievable play unfolds.
Rodney Harrison, one of the game’s biggest hitters, was draped over virtual unknown receiver David Tyree. Somehow, someway, the ball found its way to Tyree’s helmet, where Tyree pinned it with one hand. The ball didn’t budge an inch despite Harrison’s best efforts to jar it lose. Not one inch. The two went to the ground where the catch was confirmed. As everyone knows, this was the catalyst for the greatest Super Bowl upset in history.
6. Carmelo Anthony Calls it Quits
Carmelo Anthony can score the ball with ease. That’s what he does. What he doesn’t do is play defense. He’s an atrocious excuse of a defender and his effort and mentality are often put into question by fans and teammates.
One play that represents the epitome of Anthony’s questionable work ethic came against the Thunder in 2010 while Melo was still a member of the Nuggets.
Melo drove the ball in the lane, turned around and went to back down his defender. Then, suddenly, he died. Not literally, but as close as one can come without actually leaving this earth. He collapsed to the ground – despite there not being much contact on the play at all – and clutched his head.
But what’s stranger than Melo’s collapse was that the game continued. Melo was charged with a travel, and as he lay motionless, sprawled-out on the court, the Thunder inbounded the ball and drove into the offensive zone before turning it over to J.R. Smith.
Smith, a bonehead, proceeded to dribble and dance around defenders while carefully avoiding the still lifeless Melo who remained in the paint. Smith was eventually called for a travel, prompting another stoppage in which Melo was finally helped off the court.
Totally unsure as to why the refs didn’t stop play or why J.R. Smith and the Nuggets, upon seeing that their teammate was still lying on the ground, elected to continue playing rather than call timeout.
7. Brown’s Karate Kick
Receivers are known for their speed and sure handedness. Karate technicians are known for their deft kicks. Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers is known for both.
Against the lowly Cleveland Browns in 2014, Antonio Brown ripped off a big punt return. As if things couldn’t get much worse for the Browns – First off: They’re the Browns. Second: They were losing. And third: A big return was underway – Brown decided to ditch his football instincts and go all Karate Kid on the poor punter, one of the last defenders standing in Brown’s path to pay dirt.
Like a cheetah tracking down a gazelle, Brown leaped in the air with the grace of an Olympic hurdler and delivered a perfectly-placed front kick to the face of punter Spencer Lanning. Lanning was sent crashing to the field, but not before he and his face played an instrumental role in slowing down Brown.
Brown would receive a fine from the NFL but avoided suspension.
8. Edelman Rallies Furious Comeback
The Patriots were crushed by a miraculous catches against the Giants in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and nearly lost again on Jermaine Kearse’s crazy catch in Super Bowl XLIX, so it’s only fitting that in Super Bowl LI, they’d be the ones doing the catching.
Julian Edelman’s catch against the Falcons is arguably the most miraculous catch in Super Bowl history, and yes, that includes Tyree’s catch. This catch at the 40-yard line defied physics and helped the Pats complete the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history.
With the ball thrown into triple coverage, the odds of Edelman emerging with the catch were far less than odds of a game-sealing interception. To make this play even more improbable, the ball was tipped, leaving it suspended high in the air for what felt like an eternity.
Edelman and two defenders simultaneously dove for the ball while the third defender lay on his back directly below it. Miraculously, the ball, despite being surrounded by hands and feet, squeezed its way into Edelman’s entangled hands. As he possessed it amid a pile of Falcons, a defender’s foot got in the way and kicked it loose, forcing Edelman to readjust and make a catch within a catch just mere inches above the turf.
The call was a confirmed catch and the Patriots continued to advance downfield towards the end zone, helping erase a 25-point lead.
9. Fave Five Call Timeout
Michigan’s Fab Five was one of the most heralded recruiting classes in history. It was loaded with high school All-American talent and future NBA players.
The group, joining an already successful collegiate program and facing immense pressure, meshed and defied expectations while becoming a cultural sensation. They made it to back-to-back national championship games, sadly losing in both.
It was the second title game loss in 1993 – their sophomore season – that stung the most.
Webber, with Michigan down two against North Carolina, secured a crucial rebound with 20 seconds to go. As he took the ball up the court, the tunnel vision set in and Webber ran to the corner. UNC had it mapped out perfectly and the trap went into effect.
Webber panicked and, not known for having situational awareness, called a timeout. Problem was, Michigan was already out of timeouts. Technical foul. UNC would sink the ensuing free throws and never look back. Once again, the Fab Five would head back to Ann Arbor defeated.
10. Crabtree Tiptoes to Victory
Texas Tech has always been stuck in the shadows of UT and A&M. They’ve been the little brother down in Lubbock vying for relevancy.
During the 2008 season, Tech would find relevancy in a big way, thanks to their showdown vs. the rival Longhorns. Entering the game, both teams were undefeated, with Tech ranked seventh in the nation and Texas No 1. It was that week’s nationally televised night game and was primed to be a showdown.
With seven seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Red Raiders down by a point, it appeared that, yet again, the Longhorns would get the best of the Red Raiders.
Red Raiders’ quarterback Graham Harrell had one last resort: toss the ball to the nation’s best receiver, Michael Crabtree, and hope for a miracle. Harrell threw a deep sideline throw that Crabtree somehow managed to snag over two Longhorn defenders. Inches away from the sideline, Crabtree amazingly had enough body control to shrug off the defenders while staying in bounds. He would cross the goal line with one second to go, leading to one of the biggest upsets of the year and one of the most clutch catches in college football history.
11. Malarchuk Survives Scary Skate
During a 1989 game between the St. Louis Blues and the Buffalo Sabres, one of the most gruesome on-ice incidents ever occurred.
St. Louis winger Steve Tuttle crashed into the net in attempt to score. While doing so, his blade inadvertently jumped up and caught the neck of Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk, slicing his jugular and causing nauseating amounts of blood to instantaneously spill onto the ice.
As the chaotic and gruesome scene unfolded, the Sabres’ athletic trainer, a former Vietnam War Veteran, rushed to the ice and immediately applied pressure to the area, slowing the blood loss and saving Malarchuk’s life.
Malarchuk was transported to a local hospital and underwent emergency surgery to close the gaping wound. Had the trainer not reacted so quickly, Malarchuk in all likelihood would have lost too much blood and could have died on ice.
For the sake of our viewers, pictures of this gruesome scene have been purposely omitted, but for the adventurous type, Google has no shortage of pictorial evidence.
12. Te’o Catfished
College superstar? NFL second-round draft pick? It’s hard to imagine that finding a real-life girlfriend would be so challenging.
Manti Te’o, the once dominant linebacker from Notre Dame, fell into one of the strangest, most elaborate hoaxes in the sports world. To condense a complicated issue, during Te’o’s senior year – when Te’o was a Heisman potential – the star linebacker revealed that his girlfriend had died from cancer.
Pundits applauded the linebacker’s ability to play through an emotionally taxing period, while Te’o asserted that it’s what his girlfriend would have wanted. However, as people began to dig up some info on his girlfriend, they struggled to find much about her. Eventually, it was revealed that Te’o was the victim of an elaborately-planned catfishing scheme — that, in fact, his girlfriend was just some guy masking his voice as a girl’s and the pictures were from someone else’s Facebook account.
13. An Unholy Move: Tyson Bites Holyfield
Left hook, straight, cross. Normal boxing combination. Left hook, straight, cross, and bite. Not normal. Not acceptable, and downright disgusting.
Mike Tyson versus Evander Holyfield II in 1997 was a hyped-up mega fight. It was for the heavyweight title with the whole world watching.
Holyfield came out swinging and was dominating Iron Mike. He was winning round after round and appeared unstoppable. So, Tyson, being the crazy fellow that he is, decided to bend the rules a bit. Get a tactical advantage so to speak.
In two separate clinches with Holyfield, Tyson decided to bite at Holyfield’s ears, taking a large chunk out in the process. Was he hungry or just tired of getting dominated?
Either way, the move ended up with a disqualification and suspension for Tyson and a championship belt – along with a bloodied ear –for Holyfield.
14. Butt Fumble
Mark Sanchez’s NFL career was a disaster, and it was punctuated by the most embarrassing play in football history.
On Thanksgiving night in 2012, in front of a sold out Met Life stadium against the Patriots, Mark Sanchez dropped back to pass and bolted forward, looking to scramble for some yards. As Sanchez approached the line, he realized he had no room to run, so he elected to slide to the ground. But rather than cleanly sliding to the turf, Sanchez – at full speed – slid into the rear-end of his offensive guard.
The impact, exacerbated by his guard being bullied backwards by Vince Wilfork, was mighty and sent Sanchez slamming to the turf.
The force of this humiliating collision jarred the ball loose and was scooped up by the Patriots’ Steve Gregory, who promptly ran it back for a touchdown. Sanchez, lying on the ground defeated and demoralized, never recovered from this incident.
15. Malcolm Butler and The Immaculate Interception
The best short-yard running back in the league is on your team. You’re down four points in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, and the ball is on the opponent’s 2-yard line. There are 27 seconds to go and your team has one timeout. It’s only second down. The options are endless. Scoring seems inevitable.
The Patriots are — once again — about to be shocked in the Super Bowl. The logical play for the Seahawks, from six feet away, is to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch. It would almost certainly win the game. Just get the ball and fall forward. It’s going to be a touchdown and your defense will seal the game. There won’t be any time left for the Pats to muster a full-field drive.
Instead, head coach Pete Carroll called one of the dumbest plays in the history of sports. He elected to call a pass play, instead of giving it to Lynch. In a shocking turn of events, quarterback Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted on the goal line by rookie Malcolm Butler, who jumped a quick slant route.
16. Back-to-Back Clutch Shots
Villanova versus North Carolina in 2016 proved to be one of the most thrilling NCAA basketball title games ever. Each powerhouse traded baskets throughout the game, with neither team leading by much. It was coming down to the wire.
With 13.5 seconds left in the game and trailing by three, UNC advanced the ball up the court. The point guard, with no good shot, made a questionable pass that was nearly stolen by Villanova. Still no good options and the clock running down, UNC guard Marcus Paige, well beyond the three-point line, jacked up an off-balance shot. He hung in the air, double clutched the ball, and sent it towards the hoop. Swish. Tie game. 4.7 seconds left on the clock. Your move, ‘Nova.
‘Nova inbounded the ball to guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who sprinted down court before passing to forward Kris Jenkins, also positioned well beyond the three-point line. Jenkins, with 1.1 seconds left on the clock, put up a prayer.
The ball is sailing in the air, the buzzer has sounded, the backboard lit up in red, and the stadium waits in silence. Overtime or game winner?
Jenkins, with one clutch shot, won the National Championship. What transpired was two of the most improbable, clutch shots in tournament history, back to back, with one of them winning it all.
17. Imperfect Game
A perfect game is one of the biggest feats in baseball. Since 1900, only 21 perfect games have been thrown, and in its full history, only 23 have been thrown. The odds of a pitcher retiring 27 straight batters are not in the pitcher’s favor.
On June 2, 2010, Armando Gallaraga of the Detroit Tigers retired the first 26 batters he faced. The 27th batter, second basemen Jason Donald, hit a grounder to the gap between first and second, forcing first baseman Miguel Cabrera to leave the bag and race to the ball.
He fielded it cleanly and threw it to a running Gallaraga who caught the ball with a foot on the first-base bag. Game over. A perfect game.
Not so fast. Sadly, umpire Jim Joyce blew the call and ruled the runner safe. Yes, it was a bang-bang play, but replays show the runner was out by the smallest of margins. The play, unfortunately, couldn’t be reversed and Gallaraga was robbed of a perfect game.
Immediately following the game, the MLB and Joyce would admit to their costly mistake and apologize profusely. Gallaraga took it in stride and his game is colloquially referred to as the “28 out perfect game,” as he retired the following batter to wrap up his historic night.
18. From Free Bird to Dead Bird
The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks ended the season as World Series champions. They upset the New York Yankees in a thrilling seven-game series, but the craziest moment of their season wasn’t Luis Gonzales’ game-winning hit in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7, or losing back-to-back games in extra innings in New York.
The craziest moment came in Spring Training, when one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers, Randy Johnson, threw a fastball down the middle, but whose path was intercepted by an unlucky dove.
The dove immediately exploded into a massive cloud of feathers. Dead on impact. Since that freak play, Johnson has been peppered with questions and begrudgingly answers them. And no, it was not intentional.
19. Let’s Go to Overtime
J.R. Smith is a goon, dirty player, and apparently lacks any sense of situational awareness. This was all confirmed during the first game of the 2018 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
The game was tied at 107 with 4.7 seconds left on the clock. George Hill was at the free-throw line. He missed the second of two free-throws, but the ball took a fortuitous bounce in Smith’s direction. Smith, in perfect position, snagged the rebound.
Plenty of time to either pass or shoot. But 4.7 seconds in the NBA is an eternity.
However, Smith elected to choose option C: Dribble out the clock. Instead of winning Game 1 on the road, the Cavs went into overtime where they eventually lost.
Just one look at LeBron’s face tells the whole story of what he was feeling and viewers were thinking: What on earth was J.R. Smith doing?
20. Fantastic Fan
Ah, a little fan action. During a 1995 Monday Night Football game in Chicago, Bears super-fan Mike Pantazis made the best catch of the contest.
The extra point sailed high over the protective netting and was headed towards the tunnel, where it’d land harmlessly on the concrete. Yet, out of nowhere, cameras catch a leaping Pantazis floating through the air destined to catch the ball.
Crazy, athletic, dumb. Whatever you’d like to call Pantazis, you have to respect the bold move. He did in fact catch the ball while free-falling 20 feet towards hard concrete. He stuck the landing, never let go of the ball, and wasn’t even kicked out of the stadium — a miracle that wouldn’t happen in today’s NFL.
The stunt landed him a post-game interview and a television appearance on Letterman.