Big mistake on the biggest stage
The Seattle Seahawks had a huge opportunity to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. After driving to the New England 1-yard line, the Seahawks needed a quick run to take the lead. They opted to go with a pass instead, and the ensuing toss was picked off by the Patriots.
Pay attention next time
Cleveland Browns linebacker Dwayne Rudd made a critical mistake during a game in 2002 against the Kansas City Chiefs. With the Browns holding a slim lead as the game’s final seconds ticked away, Rudd removed his helmet. The only problem was he did so during a live play. Rudd was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, helping the Chiefs move into field goal range as they nailed the game-winning kick with no time left on the clock.
Nobody likes you, Dan Snyder
This has more to do with long-term actions than a single event. Washington Redskins majority owner Dan Snyder has made a name for himself as one of the most hated men in the business. From jacking up ticket prices to taking jabs at the media, Snyder hasn’t done his reputation any favors over the years.
Just a little early
Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson got about as close as he could get to a touchdown in 2008 against the Dallas Cowboys, but he couldn’t convert. While trotting into the end zone, Jackson dropped the ball just short of the goal line and ruined an easy scoring opportunity.
Don’t celebrate just yet
In Super Bowl XXVII, Dallas defensive tackle Leon Lett let his emotions get the best of him. After recovering a fumble, Lett took off for the end zone while beginning to celebrate a potential score. Buffalo Bills receiver Don Beebe took advantage of the premature dancing, knocking the ball out of Lett’s hands.
Taking a breather
After jumping out to a 10-0 lead against the Redskins in the 1987 Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos appeared to take the second quarter off. They yielded 35 unanswered points in that span to effectively put the game out of reach.
That’s one way to fumble the ball
In an incident that became known as the Butt Fumble, Mark Sanchez botched a designed run for the New York Jets in 2012. He ran into the rear end of one of his offensive linemen, losing control of the ball in the process.
Give us the real refs back
The 2012 NFL referee lockout meant a rise in questionable calls by replacement refs. One of those calls came in a game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. In the games closing minutes, a pass in the end zone was partially controlled by both a Seattle wide receiver and a Green Bay defender. The Packers appeared to have the upper hand on the catch, but the refs ruled it a touchdown for Seattle anyway.
They blew it
In 1978, the New York Giants were within reach of a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. All they needed to do was take a knee and let the clock expire. They decided to run the ball instead, a choice that resulted in a fumble. The Eagles capitalized by scoring a touchdown to earn the unlikely win.
Tom Brady appeared to make a critical fumble late in a 2001 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. Such a mistake would have doomed the Patriots. He was ultimately cleared of the turnover thanks to the “Tuck Rule,”and New England used its second chance to secure a victory.
Don’t try if you don’t know how
The Miami Dolphins topped the Redskins in the 1972 Super Bowl, but not before their kicker made a terrible mistake. After having a field goal blocked, Garo Yupremian tried to make the most of the situation by attempting a pass. That errant throw turned into a fumble that was recovered by the Redskins.
An inconvenient miss
Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson hadn’t missed a field goal in 1999 until the NFC Championship Game came around. He missed a critical 38-yard attempt in that game, which kept the Vikings from extending their lead. Minnesota ultimately lost in overtime.
A fraud is exposed
Cornerback Eugene Robinson was arrested the night before the 1999 Super Bowl. He had been caught soliciting an undercover cop for prostitution. To make matters worse, Robinson had been given the Athletes in Action award that same day, an honor given to players who exhibit strong character on and off the field.
No such thing as an easy win
Heading into a matchup with Eli Manning and the 9-7 Giants in 2008, the Patriots were undefeated and riding a wave of momentum. The odds seemed stacked against the Giants, but they ultimately pulled out a victory. The infamous “Helmet Catch” helped the underdogs pull of an upset.
Eli does it again
Eli Manning stunned the highly talented Patriots again in 2012. The mistake-prone quarterback reminded New England that no team in the NFL should ever be overlooked, even by a future Hall of Famer like Tom Brady.
A missed opportunity
Holding a 17-14 lead over the Eagles late in a 2004 playoff game, Green Bay appeared to be closing in on a win. They forced the Eagles into a 4th-and-26 scenario, but Philadelphia responded with a big play that helped them force overtime. The Eagles would then rally to steal the victory.
Leaf doesn’t live up to the hype
Ryan Leaf was without a doubt one of the biggest draft busts of all time. He had his name called in the 1998 NFL Draft around the same time as Peyton Manning, but Leaf’s career was short and he never amounted to anything.
7. A defensive lapse
After taking the lead late in the 1987 AFC Championship Game against the Broncos, the Browns pinned their opponents on their own 2-yard line. John Elway and the Broncos were unfazed, however, driving 98 yards for a score. Denver won in overtime.
Same teams, bigger mistake
The Broncos and Browns went head-to-head again in the 1988 AFC Championship Game. With just over a minute left in the contest, Cleveland running back lost possession of the ball just as he was about to score the game-winning touchdown. The Broncos got the best of the Browns again.
Helping the other team
In 1964, Chicago’s Jim Marshall made a startling mistake against the San Francisco 49ers. After recovering a fumble, Marshall returned it to his own team’s end zone and fell victim to an accidental safety.
You had one job, part 2
Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood had a chance to nail the game-winning field goal against the Giants in Super Bowl XXV. He narrowly missed the kick with eight seconds left in the game, heping the Giants escape with a win.
Not getting it done on the big stage
The early-90s Buffalo Bills reached the Super Bowl four times, dropping all of those opportunities. That’s not a good success rate.
Almost had it
The Bills had the Titans’ backs against the wall in the 1999 playoffs. They just needed to stop Tennessee on a kickoff return in order to wrap up a victory. Kevin Dyson had other plans, bringing the return all the way back for a touchdown. The Bills would not recover.
Roger Goodell is no good
Roger Goodell has mishandled multiple cases since he became commissioner in 2006. He is simply not fit to handle the current issues impacting the league, especially with problems such as concussions becoming more prevalent.