Top 10 Greatest Sporting Mistakes of All Time

There is a certain joy in watching people make mistakes, especially in the word of sport. Seeing professionals on salaries so large its always good to see them make a mistake or two.


1. Bill Buckner -“The Nutmeg”
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First to Baseball and the Boston Red Sox, leading the 1986 World Series 3-2, they were on course for their first title since 1918. However, in game six and the New York Mets having tied the game, a ground ball to Buckner at first base changed the match. The ball ran through Buckner’s legs, allowing the Mets to score the winning run, tie the series and lead to winning the series in game 7.


2. Jean van de Velde – “Sacre Bleu”

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Ahhh, the french, the world would be a lot more boring if it didn’t have the passion and the va va voom of the French way of life. It would also mean we couldn’t laugh at their athletes making complete fools of themselves. Our next sporting mistake is no exception – Going to the 18th hole on the final Sunday of the 1999 Open Championship, Jean van de Velde needed only double bogey six to claim the Claret Jug. Seven shots later, including one to the water, he entered a playoff and eventually lost what had been an unassailable lead…… “merde”


3. Niclas Wallin – “Puck it”

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The sport of Ice hockey is one where simple communication is vital amongst team mates. It allows your team to function fluently and also allows you to know where your colleague is when you want to give them an earful. Wallin’s team mates would’ve wanted to do the latter when the Swede, unaware his own goalie had been swapped for the extra attacker, controls the puck and lays it back to his empty net and watches in horror.


4. Leon Lett – “Showboating”

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When you’ve done all the hard work, make sure you don’t mess up the simplest of scoring opportunities. You wouldn’t think professional athletes would need telling but in the case of Leon Lett in Super Bowl XXVII it was needed to be imprinted on the Jumbotron. When Buffalo fumbled the ball on their own 45-yard line, Lett picked up the pieces and ran for the end zone to celebrate, albeit a little prematurely, and lost possession before a touchdown could be awarded.


5. Zinedine Zidane – “The Head of a Frog”

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Yes another Frenchman to add to the list of these great sporting mistakes, regarded as the greatest player of his generation, Zidane bowed out (literally) of the game on the greatest stage in disgraceful circumstances. Coming out of retirement to lead France to the 2006 World Cup, Zizou was at his best and had earlier given Les Bleus the lead in the final only to ruin it when the Italian defender said something about the midfielders mother,


6. Patrick Stefan – “Wipeout”

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With time running out and all hope fading as the Stars are up a goal against the Edmonton Oilers,  a mistake allowed Patrick Stefan to gather a loose puck and skate towards the Oilers empty net. Just as he was about the push the puck into the net, he slipped and fell.

The puck skids away from him, where it was gathered by the Oilers. They immediately headed back the other way and stuffed the puck past Stars’ goalie Marty Turco to force overtime. .. Its happened to the best of us Stefan.


7. Julian Wright – “Dunk Fail”

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Julian Wright truly made dunk history when he attempted this dunk  .Heading in for a big finish on a fast break, with no-one around him Wright takes the leap, whirls his arms around with the ball only to leave it behind.. losing his balance Wright topples over and falls flat on his face


8. Andres Ecsobar – “Fatal Mistake”

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This sporting mistake brings us to the beautfiul game of Soccer as it’s more widely known. Colombia VS USA is tied at 1-1 and as the Americans break and whip in a cross, the Colombian defender Andres Escobar sticks out a leg only to see it ricochet of him into his own goal, It unfortunately did more than hand the U.S. a 2-1 upset victory. It also cost him his life. After returning home following the World Cup, Escobar was murdered for his terrible stroke of misfortune. It registers as one of the most unbelievable displays of sports fanaticism of all time.


9. Steve Bartman – “Better Known as Asshole”

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In 2003, Steve Bartman went from regular Chicago Cubs sports fan to the most hated man in the city in one fateful night.

Like a young boy playing his first baseball game, the look of excitement on Bartmans face as he tried to catch a pop fly along the fence in foul territory off the bat of the Marlins Luis Castillo was unprecedented. One problem was that Cubs’ outfielder Moises Alou was underneath waiting to pounce and send the Cubs into the World Series. The two  hands colided and the ball batter survived.

The Marlins would use their extra out to spark a rally that would result in a Marlins victory, Steve Bartman was lead out of stadium by security guards.. only have he was doused in beer, urine and pretzels.


10. Stanford – “This One time at Band Camp”

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It’s the only entry on our list in which the screw-up is blamed on something not really sports related. With four seconds left the 1982 match-up between rivals Cal and Stanford, Stanford kicked the ball off after taking a one point lead. Assuming everything was cushty crowds, trumpet players, saxophone players and an array percussion intruments had encroached onto the player surface.

Five laterals, 55 yards, and several flattened band members later, Cal’s Kevin Moen rushed into the endzone to win the game for Cal 25-20


Written by Annabel, an author, blogger and event organiser specialising in creating great Chillisauce stag do ideas

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