The Worst Play Call in the History of Football   Leave a comment

On October 31, 2010, when Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly had his backup quarterback throw a fade route while trailing Tulsa by one point at their 19-yard line with 45 seconds left and an excellent kicker waiting to kick the game-winning field goal, I thought I had seen the worst play call in the history of football.  The risk far, far outweighed the reward to the point that the call seemed incomprehensible.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle’s Pete Carroll called for a pass play while trailing 28-24, facing 2nd and goal from the New England 1 with 26 seconds left and one timeout remaining.  From a purely risk/reward standpoint, this was not a worse play call than Brian Kelly’s, but given the context that this was a Super Bowl and not just a regular season college game, it was arguably a worse play call.

Last night, the Atlanta Falcons managed to top them both.  With 3:56 left, facing 2nd and 11 at the New England 23 yard line, holding a 28-20 lead, all Atlanta had to do was run the ball two more times, even if for no gain, force New England to burn two of their three timeouts, and then attempt a 40-yard field goal that their kicker is going to make about 90 percent of the time to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead, leaving New England needing two scores in roughly 3:45 and only one timeout.

Of course what Atlanta did was call a pass play, which resulted in a sack, followed by another pass play which resulted in a holding penalty which knocked Atlanta entirely out of field goal range.  You can say it’s easy to second-guess given the results, but it was pretty clear at the time that making sure to get at least 3 points on the board was the best option.

Any other horrible play calls I’m missing?

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Posted February 6, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, NFL, Sports

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