Top 5 Worst Blown Calls in Sports


Jerry Meals admitted to making a bad call during the 2-1 win by the Tampa Bay Rays over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.

With the score at 2-1 in the eighth inning, a play at the plate resulted in Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava being called out at home.

The run would have tied up the game in a crucial battle for first-place in their division between the Rays and Sox.

Check out the play:

With so many bad calls recently, it is time to look at some of the worst blown calls in the history of sports (sadly, most of them are recent).

5. Brett Hull‘s Crease Goal in 1999 Stanley Cup Finals

In a play that will live in the minds of Buffalo Sabres fans forever, Brett Hull scores in the third overtime of the series-clinching Game 6 for the Dallas Stars.

The rule (which was taken out the next season) prevented skaters from entering the crease before the puck was in the crease.  Basically, Hull put his foot in the crease before he had control of the puck.

That should’ve been called illegal.

Not only was it a bad call, but it cost the Sabres a chance to take the series to Game 7 in order to win the Stanley Cup.  It gets worse — the Sabres have 0 Stanley Cups in their team’s history.

The call was so bad that at the championship parade for the Dallas Stars, head coach Ken Hitchcock said that the team would recognize their season by two words, “No goal.”

4. Steelers-Lions Thanksgiving Coin Toss


Video of the event has recently been taken off of and YouTube, however, no one (especially Steelers fans) will forget the coin toss in the Thanksgiving Day battle between the Steelers and Lions in 1998.

You would think the easiest call to make in football would be the coin toss, right?  Well, not for Phil Luckett.

The Steelers and Lions were tied and the game was sent into overtime.   The coin was flipped midfield and, according to Steelers RB Jerome Bettis, he called tails.   The coin landed tails side up and the referee, Phil Luckett, declared the Lions the winner of the toss.

The crowd and teams went nuts.  Bettis immediately started screaming at the referees, arguing that he had made the right call.

Luckett would stick with the Lions as the winner of the coin toss, resulting in Detroit kicking a field goal to win the game 19-16 in OT — not even allowing the Steelers to get the ball.

Rules have changed in accordance to this snafu in attempts to prevent it from ever occurring again.

3. Curse of Jerry Meals

After 18 consecutive losing seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates were finally on their way to ending the drought.

They were 5 games above .500 and seemed to be on their way to accomplish the feat.

In the bottom of the 19th inning in a July 2011 game against the Atlanta Braves, a 3-3 tie game that was closing in on 2 a.m. would end in one of the worst calls of all time.

Pirates catcher Michael McKenry appeared to swipe the leg of Braves infielder Julio Lugo while he was sliding into home plate.  However, umpire Jerry Meals called Lugo safe at home.

The Braves’ 4-3 win would go on to cause so much controversy — resulting in a social media blowup.

Meals ruined a game that could’ve broken the record for most innings in an MLB game (25 innings).

Also, the call would go on to curse the Pirates.  The Pirates would finish out the season with a 19-43 record — putting them well below .500 for the entire season.

Finally, it seems like the Pirates have broken their curse in 2013…hopefully.

2. Galarraga’s Perfect Game Bid Ruined

In 2010, the Detroit Tigers were ready to celebrate Armando Galarraga‘s perfect game when Indians shortstop Jason Donald grounded to first base with two outs in the 9th inning.

Umpire Jim Joyce ruined their celebration with a call that ended the perfect game and no hitter bid for Galarraga.

The 28-year-old pitcher went to catch the ball from first baseman Miguel Cabrera in order to seal the deal.  However, Joyce called Donald safe — although Galarraga obviously beat him to the bag.

How do you take a perfect game from someone?

Although the call stood, Joyce emotionally said, “It was the biggest call of my career and I kicked it. I just cost that kid a perfect game.”

Jim Joyce knew he had made a mistake and met with Galarraga after the game to apologize.  Galarraga gracefully accepted his apology and responded with “I know, nobody’s perfect.”

Galarraga, who once was such a successful pitcher, has never been the same player since the incident either.

With all the respect that occurred after the call, it is hard to put this on the list.  However, the call was so bad on such a crucial play — forcing me to have to add it as one of the worst blown calls in sports history.

1. Colorado’s Fifth Down

The University of Colorado was trailing Missouri University 31-26 on the final drive of a game in 1990.

Colorado comes from behind to beat Missouri 33-31, scoring the game-winning touchdown on “fifth down.”

Officials fail to count a down when the Buffalos spike the ball to stop the clock and mistakenly give Colorado five cracks at the end zone.  Colorado’s score comes on the final play of the game — leaving no time for Missouri to respond.

The footage from the above video clearly shows the referees allowing Colorado to have five chances to score.

While there is not much explanation to this blown call, the simple task of keeping count of the downs was omitted by the referees — proving this to be such a bad sequence of events.

The choice of this blown call at #1 was because of the play being so unknown and the ability of the referees to make an effortless job so hard.

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