While the Chicago Bears defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night may have been a surprise to some, it may not have been the biggest surprise of the night. The Buccaneers had a minute and change to get into field goal range late in the the game, but ended up coming up short on a fourth down in the final minute.
However, once the teams were heading off the field following the fourth down play, quarterback Tom Brady looked very confused and was holding up four fingers. That’s because Brady believed that the fourth down play was actually third down and the Bucs still had another down to work with.
This is certainly one of the more egregious blunders in sports history and lands in some pretty special company. With that in mind, here’s a look at where Brady’s lapse ranks among some of the all-time sports blunders.
7.) Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX
This may have been one of the worst play calls in Super Bowl History. The Seattle Seahawks were trailing the New England Patriots 28-24 with just seconds remaining, but were positioned on the one-yard line. With one of the best power running backs in football in Marshawn Lynch, the play call appeared to be an easy one. However, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll played for a pass on a second down play. Russell Wilson was looking to fit the ball into a tight window, but Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the route and intercepted it. The Patriots went on to win the game and this is still one that has to haunt the Seahawks coaching staff to this day.
6.) Jose Canseco
This one may have been one of the most peculiar plays in baseball history. During a 1993 game between the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers, Indians infielder Carlos Martinez hit a deep fly ball to right field and it looked like Canseco had a beat on the ball. Even if he didn’t make the play, it wasn’t going to be a home run. However, the ball ended up bouncing off Canseco’s head and over the fence for a home run. Canseco looked to be in shock just like many fans were.
5.) Leon Lett
During Super Bowl XXVII between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, Leon Lett went from hero to goat in a matter of seconds. Bills quarterback Frank Reich fumbled the ball and Lett scooped it up and was headed to the end zone. However, before making it there, the Cowboys defensive lineman was celebrating a little bit too early and Bills wide receiver Don Beebe knocked the ball out of Lett’s hands and out of the end zone. As a result, it was a touchback and the Bills got the possession back. The blunder didn’t hurt Dallas though, as the went on to win the Super Bowl by a score of 52-17.
4.) Chuck Knoblauch
During the 1998 American League Championship Series, New York Yankees infielder Chuck Knoblauch committed one of the top blunders in baseball history. Cleveland Indians first baseman Travis Fryman laid down a bunt and was attempting to beat the throw to first base. Knoblauch ended up catching the throw, but the ball fell out of his glove when Fryman made contact with the glove at first base. Knoblauch had no idea that the ball wasn’t in his glove and was rolling away. As a result, Enrique Wilson ended up scoring on the play and Fryman made his way to second base before Knoblauch could get the ball to home plate. The fact that Knoblauch had no idea that the ball had gotten away truly remains one of the more mind-boggling players in sports history.
3.) Tom Brady
Brady’s gaffe has a place in the top three in my book. For a player in his 21st NFL season, playing in his 331st game (regular season and playoffs), and who has won six Super Bowls in his storied career, it seems insane that Brady would lose track of what down it was. Perhaps Brady would’ve run the fourth down play differently if he realized that it was actually fourth down. We’ll never know.
2.) JR Smith
JR Smith has a special place in Cleveland Cavaliers history for all of the wrong reasons. In final seconds of regulation in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, Cavaliers guard George Hill connected on his first free throw to tie the game, but missed the second one. With just 4.7 seconds remaining, Smith secured the rebound, but pulled the ball back out because, as then Cavs coach Ty Lue put it, Smith thought the Cavaliers were beating the Golden State Warriors.
1.) Chris Webber
The top spot in terms of all-time sports blunders has to go to Chris Webber. During the 1993 National Championship game between Michigan and North Carolina, Webber got away with a travel when he was bringing the ball up the court then proceeded to call a timeout. The only problem was that Michigan didn’t have any. As a result, North Carolina got the opportunity to shoot two free throws and ice the game. Webber’s gaffe is something that is still talked about to this day.