The 13 Stupidest Plays In NFL History

Last night, Michele Tafoya reported that Rex Ryan called a Mark Sanchez timeout near the end of the first half “the stupidest thing in football history.”  Dumb?  Yes.  But the stupidest thing in football history?  Certainly not.  It did give me inspiration though to consider what actually are the stupidest plays in football history.  Narrowing down the most bizarre, blockheaded, nimwitted, mindless plays in NFL history is no easy feat, but I figure being a lifelong fan of Football Follies and operating Awful Announcing should at least give me some qualifications for trying to discern which bloopers should make the cut.  Whatever you think of the rankings below and what we missed, have a laugh and enjoy the true list of the stupidest plays in NFL history!

13) Bill Gramatica

What better way to start our countdown than with one of the Gramatica brothers!  I miss those ferocious, spunky little devils.  Who could ever forget Bill Gramatica suffering a season ending injury due to what may be the greatest ever celebration fail in 2001… 

12) John Carney

As a Saints fan, the following sequence symbolizes the highest of highs and the lowest of lows I’ve experienced in the past twenty years.  After what is still the greatest, most unbelievable football play I’ve ever seen, John Carney missed the tying extra point with no time on the clock in this December 2003 game against the Jags with the Saints trying to stay in playoff contention.  He missed an extra point!  A professional kicker!  I literally couldn’t move or change expression for half an hour afterwards.  “OH MY GOD HOW COULD HE DO THAT!?!”

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3Od9C2dKiCI

11) Dan Orlovsky

Former Lions QB Dan Orlovsky running out of the back of the endzone and thinking he’s playing in the CFL is funny enough.  When it’s set to a mock 30 for 30 commercial, it gets even better…

10) DeSean Jackson

Letting go of the ball before crossing the goalline?  That my friends is the definition of stupid.  When it happens on Monday Night Football in front of a national television audience, well, that just confirms the brainless nature of this play…

http://youtube.com/watch?v=AIWWrdDNBRU

9) Brett Favre 

Perhaps the highest stakes in our countdown of stupid plays is this famous interception Brett Favre threw in the 2009 NFC Championship Game against the Saints.  A run of three yards or even a throw out of bounds would have been enough to set up a potential winning field goal.  But hey, that wouldn’t be letting the kid in Brett Favre shine!  Also on the bright side, it did produce one of the best angry homer calls of all-time from Vikings announcer Paul Allen, “THIS IS NOT DETROIT MAN, THIS IS THE SUPER BOWL!!!”

8) Garo Yepremian

Here’s the originial broadcast of this folly featuring the great Curt Gowdy describing Garo’s gaffe in Super Bowl VII by saying, “what a kooky play that was!  Garo Yepremian lost his head and tried to throw a pass…”  Also of note is the random fan that celebrates with Mike Bass and the Redskins!  Ahh, the 70s…

7) Dwayne Rudd

In the 2002 season opener, the Browns had the Chiefs beat.  That was until Dwayne Rudd fired his helmet like a projectile missle in celebration of that apparent victory.  Unbeknownst to him, John Tait rumbled the ball into Cleveland territory and Rudd’s javelinesque toss was an unsportsmanlike penalty.  Kansas City won the game on the ensuing field goal and “helmet throw video” still follows Dwayne Rudd as his #1 Google search…

  
                       

6) Lane Kiffin

This boneheaded play is on former Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin and not kicker Sebastian Janikowski.  How does a coach call for a 76 yard field goal?!?!  There is so much to love about this clip including Jim Nantz building up the play like there was actually a remote possibility of a 76 yard field goal happening AND Phil Simms quietly pointing out the kick was against the wind like it would make any difference whatsoever.  (Paging Marty Mornhinweg.)  Lane Kiffin was fired as Raiders head coach two days later in 2008…

http://youtube.com/watch?v=UXTvv4mjur0

5) Whizzer White

Wilford “Whizzer” White played two years for the Chicago Bears in the early 50s.  He’s not to be confused with former Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White (I suppose a lot more people were nicknamed “Whizzer” back then, amazing how that’s gone out of syle), who played in the early 40s.  While Byron was an All Pro, Wilford is best known for this insane play – a 51 yard BACKWARDS run and fumble that simply must be seen to be believed…

  
                         

4A) Leon Lett

Oh, Leon…

4B) Leon Lett

OHHH LEON!!!…

3) Jim Marshall

One of the classics on our list is Vikings DE Jim Marshall, a fantastic player in his time, running the wrong way against the 49ers in 1964.  If you grew up on Football Follies like I did, you’ve probably seen this clip 100 times… and yet it never gets old!  What you may not know is that all ended well for Marshall that day.  His forced fumble returned for a touchdown (not a safety) by teammate Carl Eller was the winning score in a 27-22 Vikings victory…

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0eBrb00pdGw

2) Gus Frerotte

Gus is just lucky that he’s now only the second most famous man to voluntarily slam his cocunut into a wall thanks to The Situation.  At least Gus was wearing a helmet…

1) Aaron Brooks

You may be asking yourself, “what could possibly be dumber than self-concussing oneself?” The following stupid play is so legendary it even has a video game glitch named after it.  I’ve literally been looking for this clip for years to try and relive what actually happened during this 2004 Saints/Chargers game.  Watch as Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks throws the ball backwards.  Not forwards.  Not sideways.  No, he turns around and throws the ball BACKWARDS!!  For NO REASON AT ALL!  At least Jim Marshall was trying when he was running the wrong way!  If you’ve never seen the play and only heard mythical, fanciful stories, prepare to be amazed.  There’s some sort of beautiful irony in Drew Brees making an appearance later in this video as Chargers quarterback at the time…

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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