So we’ve had the best of 2019 but you know how I roll.
It wouldn’t be a real year-in-review without a look at the worst of 2019 from around the sports world. They tell me I only have room for five this time around because, well, they sign my paycheque. So here’s my best five from the bad bunch. Quite enjoy, I hope you will:
No. 5: Do something with it!
An extra-point try in football is simple: you snap the ball, you hold the ball, you kick the ball. The University of South Alabama managed to make it look oh-so-confusing back in September against Memphis University. Here’s how it all started:
South Alabama scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to break the goose-egg and make the score 40-6. Time to line up for the convert … and the fun begins. Jack Brooks, South Alabama’s punter, was the holder and he managed to bobble the snap, leaving the placekicker waiting for Brooks to get the ball back on the point. He couldn’t, giving Jacoby Francis of Memphis all the opportunity in the world to scoop up the ball and run it back the length of the field for a two-point conversion, extending Memphis’ lead, 42-6.
Back in my scholastic football days, we were told to simply fall on the ball if a snap was botched. I played defence so I never had to worry about that but that was the golden rule. Giving up a safety in that situation is unacceptable, no matter the level. If Brooks is the punter, I would hate to see how South Alabama sets up a fake punt.
No. 4: A great pass to … oxygen
College football gave us some good ones this year and this one ended up being better than the South Alabama-Memphis fiasco.
Texas Tech took on Kansas in October. Game tied 34-34 late in the fourth quarter. Kansas placekicker Liam Jones lines up for a field goal which would put them ahead if it was good. Jones’ kick was blocked and Texas Tech’s Nathan Coleman III picked up the ball. He’s running up field, stops and pitches a lateral … to absolutely no one. That’s right – nothing but air there.
Kansas lineman Keven Feder recovers the ball, giving Jones another chance to try a field goal, this one from 32 yards. He would make no mistake this time as Kansas went on to win, 37-34.
Listen, you can feel awful for Coleman III and I do have a slight twinge of sadness for him but you have to know your surroundings. Like with the above situation, the best thing for Coleman III to do was to fall and kill the play. Take your chances in overtime because in college football, each team gets a chance to score; it isn’t sudden-death like it is in the National Football League.
Easy enough to criticize? Sure, but don’t think Texas Tech’s fans weren’t saying the same thing I just said.
No. 3: You have to pass it first, you see …
I knew this one would be up there when I first wrote about it.
It’s one of the most basic plays in basketball: inbounding the ball when it goes out of bounds. It’s one of the first things a player is taught. Eric Bledsoe of the Milwaukee Bucks obviously forgot that part of the game in November.
Bledsoe was set to inbound versus the Los Angeles Clippers that evening after the ball had gone out of play. The referee handed him the ball and he literally began dribbling up the court. I had to take a look at this twice to make sure I was actually seeing Eric Bledsoe dribble up court on an inbound play.
The referee caught it right away and everyone wondered what happening once the whistle blew. No, Eric, you can’t simply dribble up the floor on an inbound, as much as several players would love to.
Bledsoe laughed about it and so can we. It was funny because it was a total and complete brain fart. We’ve all had them.
No. 2: Congrats on finishing one lap early
We take you back to the Diamond League track meet in Lausanne, Switzerland in July for one of the great screw-ups in long-distance running history.
Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia was well out in front in the men’s 5,000-metre event after hitting his finishing kick in the late going of the race and crossed the finish line to win it all … or so he thought. There he went off to celebrate with the fans while everyone else was still going around. Why? Because there was still one lap left to go. His compatriot, Yomif Kejelcha, ended up winning the race with Gebrhiwet ending up in 10th.
Now, this wasn’t one of those hard luck moments because this is all on Gebrhiwet. As he crossed the finish line to win, the lap counter at track-side was clearly ringing the bell signifying the last lap so there should have been no mistake. Everyone else knew the race wasn’t over.
And no. 1: The non-call
It’s the pass interference call that will haunt the New Orleans Saints forever.
In short, Tommylee Lewis was laid out by Nickell Robey-Coleman of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game back in January in what should have been pass interference but it wasn’t called. Everyone associated with the Saints went nuts and you could hardly blame them. Officials miss calls all the time but this one was a slam dunk.
It launched reviews, letters to the U.S. Congress and even lawsuits looking to have the call overturned but anyone with a functioning half-brain cell knew it would live forever in infamy. To Lewis’ credit, he said back in August that he’s gotten over the call and we should as well. This will be the last time I will mention it and it should be for you as well.
Until next time, folks …