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The 5 Worst Calls in the History of Sports


Hate to say it, but referees, umpires, game officials — you know those guys that control the games that we all love to watch — have the toughest jobs in the world. Sadly these wise people are humans; humans make mistakes. Some of these mistakes have resulted in some of the most bone-headed, mind-numbingly stupid calls that fans could have ever imagined happening. After some painstaking research, the COED team would like to pay homage to some of the biggest, most idiotic calls in the history of sports.

1. Hand of God

Diego Maradona made a name for himself recently with his antics at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as a coach. The former star player is responsible for one of the most controversial calls, or rather missed calls, in World Cup history. The infamous goal came during the Argentina/ England quarter final match during the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Somehow the ref for the game missed it when Maradona jumped up and hit the ball into the goal with his hand. When the ref did not immediately waive it off, Maradona had to tell his teammates to celebrate to make the goal seem legitimate. Pictures later showed how clear and easy it was to see the illegal goal. Maradona would later dub it the ‘hand of God’ goal since it was scored by the hand of God and the head of Maradona.

2. The Tuck Rule

This blown call led to a rule change that has effected other games; seems like it was too easy to just admit to screwing up so the NFL changed the rules to make it seem like referee Walt Coleman did not screw up. In a nut shell, during the 2001-2002 AFC Divisional Playoff game Tom Brady got smacked by Charles Woodson for a sack that apparently led to a fumble which the Raiders recovered. With less than two minutes to play the fumble recovery pretty much iced the game for the Raiders. However, Coleman overturned what appeared to be a no-brainer of a call saying that the due to a rule change in 1999 (Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2, Note 2) the ball was still considered as moving forward in a throwing motion even though he was in the process of tucking the ball. New England would go onto win Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams.

3. One More Try for Colorado

In 1990 the Colorado Buffaloes were in the midst of making a comeback against the Missouri Tigers. Their comeback effort got a boost when the refs failed to count the down when Colorado quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball to stop the clock. In the end, Colorado would score the game winning touchdown on the final play of the game. Colorado would win a share of the national title that year.

4. A Day the Steelers were not too Thankful for

One of the easiest things for a ref to do in sports is call the coin flip. Somehow that became a difficult task for the Phil Luckett as the 1999 Thanksgiving Game between the Steelers and Lions went to overtime. As the whole country heard Jerome Bettis say tails for the Steelers, Luckett said heads. The Lions went onto win the toss and the game.

5. Poor Armando

It is rare that a player even has the chance to attempt greatness let alone actually achieve it. For Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Gallaraga, that chance was stolen from him courtesy of umpire Jim Joyce. Gallaraga was one out away from pitching the 21st perfect game in MLB history, a history that spans more than a century and thousands of games played. He appeared to make the tag for the easy out at first base for the 27th out of the game against the Cleveland Indians on June 2nd. Somehow, the umpire called Jason Donald safe. Gallaraga has been gracious throughout the whole mess and even appeared to publicly accept Joyce’s apology, but you know the guy has to be seething inside.

COED Writer