Tuesday, May 30, 2017

In the 1991/92 playoffs against the New York Jets, the Houston Oilers nearly pulled off the dumbest play in NFL history

There have been some dumb plays before, from Jim Zorn's infamous Swinging Gate to whatever the Colts ran against the Patriots, to the questionable calls made at the end of some Super Bowls lately. Don't get me wrong- those plays were dumb. Those plays go under the "what were they thinking" category without question.

But if this play backfired, it would've gone down as the dumbest play, quite possibly, in the history of sports. It didn't backfire in the end (although it probably should have), and instead, only has about 1,200 views on YouTube (the only reason I found it was because it was from a channel that has old NFL Primetime footage).

Let's set the scene. The Houston Oilers were back in the playoffs for the fifth straight year, and were hosting the New York Jets in the wild card round, who were in the playoffs for the first time since 1986. The Oilers held a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and with 6 seconds left, the Jets held the ball on their own 42 yard line.

At this point, you pretty much have to take a shot to the end zone. And that's exactly what Ken O'Brien does- he throws a Hail Mary into the end zone and it gets picked off. But that's not the end of it.

Here's the play

Nice interception there by Bubba McDowell, which was his second of the game. Clock hit 0:00 at the interception, so he should go down at this point.

Instead, he takes it and runs with it. He has space to just fall to the ground and literally end the game, but instead, he tries to break a tackle. After making a man miss, he then proceeds to lateral the ball to Pro Bowl cornerback Cris Dishman. Dishman smartly realizes that the game is over, and he goes down.

But what if that play backfired? What if that lateral missed or Dishman dropped the ball? There was a Jets receiver right there (Chris Burkett). If he picks up the ball and runs into the end zone for a touchdown and the Jets tie it up, then win it in OT, this becomes the worst play in NFL history.

There was literally no point to throwing a lateral there. Unless there's no time left or unless it's a designed play, it's silly to call a lateral in the first place. But to do it up 17-10 with the ball and the clock literally at 0:00 is up there with the worst decisions in NFL history.

Again, this play ended up as just a blip in the record book. If you weren't around at the time, you probably don't even know this play actually happened. But if this stupid decision backfired (and it nearly did), it would've gone down in infamy.

EDIT: There must've been something in the water during the 1991/92 playoffs, because this wasn't the only time this happened during the wild card round.

The Falcons were playing the Saints the day before. With the Falcons leading 27-20 and the Saints on Atlanta's 35-yard line, quarterback Bobby Hebert threw an interception right into the hands of Falcon player Tim McKyer. Here's the play. He proceeds to lateral the ball to Deion Sanders, who then flipped the ball to Joe Fishback for a touchdown that was later called back because the second lateral was a forward pass. Don't know how many timeouts the Saints had left at this point, but seeing as the Falcons were able to take a knee when they got the ball back, I'm assuming the Saints were out of timeouts.

How does this stupidity happen twice in 24 hours?

Submitted May 29, 2017 at 07:39PM by JaguarGator9
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