The NFL's Dumbest Plays of 2008
Dan Orlovsky's Phantom Safety -- Do you want to know how bad this play actually was? When bringing this idea up to the FanHouse football group, all I had to say about this play was, "Dan Orlovsky." Everyone knew which play I was talking about. The poor guy was thrown into a terrible situation in Detroit, and decided his legacy was going to be "running out of the back of the end zone without ever really knowing what went on." Running out of the end zone as a quarterback is one thing ... not knowing you did so and continuing the play is quite another. I can guarantee Orlovsky one thing -- his video will be shown by high-school coaches all around the nation as what not to do when stuffed back by your own end zone.
The Free Kick Attempt by Neil Rackers -- It sure wasn't the dumbest play of the year, but it was definitely the most confusing. With five seconds left in the first half against the Giants, Ken Whisenhunt actually made the decision to opt for a "free kick," even though nobody knew what in the world a free kick was. Rackers set the ball up on a tee, rared back his heavy leg and ... muffed it. Not only was it unsuccessful, but it gave the Giants a chance to return it. I guess the good news was that we learned what a free kick was and that Rackers has no 68-yard leg.
Oakland Attempting a Fake Field goal with Sebastian Janikowski -- Making fun of someone's weight isn't exactly original, so I'll say this as caringly as I possibly can -- Janikowski isn't exactly being approached by friends about throwing up his lunch in the bathroom. That said, the Raiders thought a fake field goal was in order against the Chiefs, even though Kansas City's offense looked as likely to score as Screech did with Lisa. The pitch went between Janikowski's legs, and Maurice Leggett picked it up and ran it back for a touchdown, making the score 10-3 and leaving everyone in the stadium wondering when baseball season starts up again. You know it is a bad play when someone makes a YouTube clip of it to the "Jackass" theme.
Sage Rosenfels Becomes Rosenchoppa -- The Texans were up 17 points over the Colts in Week Five before Rosenfels decided to hand Peyton Manning the game like a valet handing out keys. The whole fourth quarter was terrible, but the play everyone remembers was the jump-dive-helicopter move that resulted in a fumble-turned-touchdown for the Colts. Nobody really knew was Sage was doing, but it gave us some great video. In his next three starts at quarterback, Rosenfels went 0-3.
Janikowski Attempts 76-Yarder -- Our first two-time nominee, but that probably isn't fair. Janikowski isn't to blame for being forced to run on the field at the end of the half and attempt a 76-yard field goal. Lane Kiffin, in his last days before being canned by Al Davis, almost looked like he trying to lose his job with this move. The Raiders were up 15 points and playing the Chargers, who Brinson points out has a guy with the longest field-goal return ever, and were trying a field goal 13 yards longer than the NFL record. Not like I enjoy dashing the suspense, but Janikowski didn't make it.
Jets Attempt a Reverse In Rainy Conditions -- The Jets had won five straight games, were in the middle of Super Bowl talk and were arguably the hottest team in the world that played with an oval ball. With Denver traveling east, a team that had struggled on the road, this was a victory before they even kicked off, right? Well, Eric Mangini decided that in rainy conditions, a reverse on their side of the field was a good idea, and it led to the Broncos' first of four touchdowns. Brad Smith took the direct snap and tried to reverse it to Jerricho Cotchery, but the ball slipped out and the Broncos recovered it and returned it for a touchdown. Momentum, meet the Broncos. The Jets never recovered from that and haven't been the same since.
The DeSean Jackson Fumble -- Jackson is a rookie, and looks to have a solid career ahead of him, but this was one of those plays that may never go away. Week Two, Eagles versus Cowboys, Monday Night Football, what more could you ask for? Donovan McNabb tosses one of the better passes of his season, a bullet over the middle to Jackson for what appeared to be a 60-yard touchdown, but Jackson celebrated a touch too early. Replays showed that DeSean tossed the ball before crossing the goal line, which would have been easily recovered by the Cowboys if not for a whistle and touchdown signal. The call was overturned, the Eagles got the ball back and Brian Westbrook rushed it in for a touchdown. The score stayed the same, but Jackson's career never will.