The Dumbest Plays in NFL History
The selection process is tough, because there are a ton of factors. You have referees botching the coin flip, NFL players celebrating straight to the ambulance, and others that just aren't sure which direction they're going. All of these are problematic, and all will find themselves in the list. So, without further ado, let's get to the best of the brainless!
Leon Lett -- Super Bowl XXVII and 1993 Thanksgiving Game -- It really takes a special person to make this list twice, but I guess Lett is that special. In one of the biggest botches ever in a Super Bowl, Lett recovered a fumble against the Bills in the fourth quarter, and as he waddled to the end zone, he decided the 10-yard line was the perfect spot to start the celebration. Little Don Beebe knocked the ball out of his outstretched hand, forcing a touch-back and a place in the Moron Hall of Fame. Previously that year, Lett actually lost a game for the Cowboys because of his clumsy maneuvers. Up 14-13 over the Dolphins with just seconds left in a snowy game in Dallas, the Cowboys blocked Miami's field-goal attempt and as everyone with four ounces of common sense stayed away from the ball, Lett slid in, hitting the football, thus making it live. The Dolphins recovered on the one-yard line, kicked a game-winning field goal, and forever made Lett a true Thanksgiving Day turkey.
Deion Sanders -- 1994, San Francisco vs. Atlanta -- Deion, always one that might find himself on this list just for being alive, sure enjoyed his celebrating. In 1994, when playing for the 49ers, he enjoyed it a little too much, returning an interception 93 yards and dancing his way to a pulled groin along the way. Hey, who ever said Deion wasn't tough?
DeSean Jackson -- 2008, Philadelphia vs. Dallas -- There is nothing like a rookie making one of the most bonehead plays in NFL history. Jackson, the receiver right now for the Eagles, caught, in stride, a bullet from Donovan McNabb and was trotting to the end zone untouched. Honestly, where is the fun in that? Before breaking the plane, Jackson dropped the ball in celebration on the one yard line, causing the Eagles to have to run another play before punching the ball in the end zone. Jackson was lucky the Cowboys defensive backs weren't paying close enough attention, or they could have recovered the fumble.
Bill Grammatica -- 2001, Arizona vs. NY Giants -- This might be one of the most amusing idiotic moves in football history. Fresh off pointless field goals for the Cardinals in a 17-13 loss, the wee Grammatica jumped, jumped, JUMPED in celebration, but unlike Kerry Strug, couldn't stick the landing. The kicker tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season.
Jim Marshall -- 1964, Minnesota vs. San Francisco -- You know, before everyone introduced all this paint and flair in the end zone, it probably was tough to tell which one was yours. Marshall, a member of the Purple People Eaters, snagged a fumble from the 49ers, started running and returned the ball 66 yards -- to the wrong end zone. To add insult to injury, Marshall celebrated by spiking the ball, which, of course, rolled out of bounds for a safety. Not exactly the two-time Pro Bowler's finest moment.
Plaxico Burress -- 2001, Pittsburgh vs. Jacksonville -- It was a miserable rookie season for Plaxico, but this was just the spoiled cherry on top of a forgettable few months. With limited playing time, Burress was in the game against the Jaguars, and after catching a ball in the fourth quarter and thinking he was down by contact, Burress did what anyone would do: He spiked the ball. You know where this is going. Live ball, Jags recovered, and Plax earned the nickname "Spike Lee", which was not a compliment.
Deltha O'Neal -- 2003 Wild Card Game, Denver vs. Indianapolis -- One of the old jokes about defensive backs is that they are receivers with no hands. O'Neal showed he didn't have any awareness, either. Covering Marvin Harrison in the AFC Wild Card game, Deltha not only allowed Marvin to catch a 20-yard pass over the middle, but he decided not to touch him after he hit the ground. Harrison laid on the turf for a few seconds, got up, and ran for a touchdown, untouched. Mike Shannahan was not pleased.
Marty Mornhinweg -- 2002, Detroit vs. Chicago -- Do you want to know the best way to lose your head coaching job and probably never land another one? Win the coin toss in overtime and then decide you'd rather kick than receive. Mornhinweg, or as some called him later "Moron-weg," decided after winning the toss that he'd defer because he liked the wind direction. No, seriously. The Bears won the game, and Marty wasn't asked back the following season.
Dwayne Rudd -- 2002, Cleveland vs. Kansas City -- When compiling a list like this, you soon realize that taking your helmet off at any point in a game is a bad idea. The Browns were winning the game by two points with 10 seconds left when Rudd thought he had sacked Chiefs quarterback Trent Green. It turns out Green had lateraled the ball, but Rudd didn't see it and tossed his helmet off in celebration. But with the ball out of bounds at the 25 and the clock at 0:00, the game is over, right? Nope, games can't end on an NFL penalty, and Rudd got an unsportsmanlike conduct for his helmet gesture. The Chiefs kicked a field goal to win and Rudd walked off the field, helmet in hand.
Garo Yepremian -- Super Bowl VII, Miami vs. Washington -- Yepremian's antics could have cost the 1972 Dolphins their perfect season. Leading 14-0 and attempting a field goal, the kick was blocked and instead of falling on the ball, Yepremian tried to pick it up and throw it. Amazingly, a kicker isn't that great at throwing, and the ball ended up slipping awkwardly out of his hands and into the hands of the Redskins, who scored a touchdown. No harm, no foul, Miami still won 14-7, but that sure made it interesting.
Aaron Brooks -- 2004, New Orleans vs. San Diego -- You know you're having a bad game when the defense is swarming you so badly that you throw a forward pass backwards. (It's also bad when the pass becomes such a huge joke that the makers of Madden added it as a glitch feature.) Brooks was being swarmed by the Chargers defense, so he went to throw the ball away -- behind him. He might have only lost 30 yards, but his confidence was pretty much broken at that point.
Gus Frerotte -- 1997, Washington vs. NY Giants -- Ways to celebrate that are acceptable: high-fives, spiking the ball (after you get in the end zone), the Mile Hile Salute, the Dirty Bird or even something Terrell Owens comes up with. Not a proper way to celebrate, ramming your head into a wall after you score on a one-yard run. Frerotte, after scoring a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with the Giants, went and rammed his head into a padded wall to celebrate. But behind the pad? Straight cement. Frerotte had to leave the game and get X-rays on his sprained neck, which came back negative.
Matt Hasselbeck -- 2004, Seattle vs. Green Bay -- You know, sometimes it's better to just watch.