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10 Worst Mistakes in Sports History

If they could do it over again, they'd probably think twice: A look at funny sports stories that made major headlines.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Charlie Riedel/AP/Shutterstock (6023394a) During an outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, in New Orleans. Officials of Entergy New Orleans say the cause of the Super Bowl blackout was a faulty device called a relay that had been installed to prevent a failure of electric cables leading to the Superdome. They said the device has been removed and replacement equipment will be installed US--Super Bowl-Power Outage, New Orleans, USA
Charlie Riedel/AP/Shutterstock

Super Bowl XLVII Blackout

It will surely live on in the pantheon of Super Bowl fails, along with Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction and Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in ’91. But it’s not on sportswriter Steve Madden’s list of the worst blunders in sports history. Here are his top five.—David Noonan, National Affairs Editor

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Everett/Shutterstock (10284338a) Babe Ruth, 1921 Historical Collection
Everett Collection/Shutterstock

1919: Red Sox Sell Homer Hero

Sox owner at the time Harry Frazee sells baseball’s biggest star to the Yankees for $100,000. Babe Ruth proceeds to hit 659 homers and lead the Yanks to four World Series in the next 15 seasons. The cursed Sox wait 86 years to win their next series. Check out these Vintage Baseball Photos Die-Hard Fans Will Appreciate.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (10479900a) HEIDI. New York Jets' quarterback Joe Namath (12) sweeps around the right side past Oakland Raider defenders Ralph Oliver (56) and Dan Conners (55) to score from the one-yard line during the second quarter of a football game at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. The Jets were leading 32-29 when the childrens classic "Heidi" began on NBC, interrupting the final minutes of the game which the Raiders won 43-32 in one of the most dramatic rallies in AFL history Game of the Week Analysis Football, OAKLAND, USA - 17 Nov 1968

1968: Girl Hijacks Game

NBC’s broadcast of a key NFL game between the Jets and Raiders runs long due to injury and penalty time-outs. With one minute to go and the Jets leading 32–29, the network switches to the movie, the story of a Swiss orphan girl. Oakland scores twice in the last minute to win 43–32. It might have been more appropriate to put on one of the 10 best football movies of all time.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Carl Viti/AP/Shutterstock (6542861b) Watchf Associated Press Sports College football California United States APHS CAL STANFORD FAUX PAS 1982 The Stanford band goes wild on the field at the end of the Cal-Stanford game in Berkeley, thinking they had won, as the scoreboard says, 20-19 with no time left, . Little did they know that Cal's Kevin Moen weaved his way through hundreds of people including the band to score a touchdown after time had run out, giving Cal a 25-20 win over Stanford CAL STANFORD FAUX PAS 1982, BERKELEY, USA

1982: Breaking Up the Band

The Stanford Cardinals football team took a one-point lead in a rivalry game with the University of California’s Golden Bears, only four seconds remaining on the clock. After a squib kick from Stanford, the Golden Bears were able to connect an improbable five lateral passes to bring it back for a touchdown—juking defenders and tuba players alike as Standford’s marching band had wandered on the field, thinking the game as good as over.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock (6569113a) University of Miami wide receiver Stanley Shakespeare (6) leaps high to gather a first quarter pass from quarterback Bernie Kosar against the University of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl game in Miami, . Flying through the air to defend is Nebraska cornerback Neil Harris (11 Orange Bowl Miami Nebraska 1984, Miami, USA
John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock

1984: Orange Bowl Blunder

The undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers were down by one point after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Hurricanes in the fourth quarter of the 1984 Orange Bowl. Instead of kicking the extra point and tying things up, the Cornhuskers tried for a two-point conversion—and failed. The decision lost the Cornhuskers their national championship, along with their perfect season.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Longstreath/AP/Shutterstock (6566326a) Montross Webber North Carolina's Eric Montross, left, guards Michigan's Chris Webber during their Final Four championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans NCAA MONTROSS WEBBER 1993, NEW ORLEANS, USA
David Longstreath/AP/Shutterstock

1993: Ill-Timed Time Out

University of Michigan basketball star Chris Webber calls a time-out with 11 seconds left as his Wolverines trail North Carolina 73–71 in the national championship game. Only problem: Michigan has no time-outs left. He’s called for a technical foul, and Michigan loses, 77–71.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Swart/AP/Shutterstock (6564145a) Chicago Bull's basketball player Michael Jordan swings during a celebrity softball game, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Jordan and a group of his friends played Michael Bolton and his band before the start of the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers game Michael Jordan Baseball, Chicago, USA
John Swart/AP/Shutterstock

1993: Questionable Career Change

At the height of his career, and after winning three consecutive NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan announces he has lost his desire for basketball and is retiring to pursue a career in baseball. He goes on to bat .202 for the AA Birmingham Barons.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP/Shutterstock (6033396a) Tom Brady New England Patriots backup quarterback Tom Brady warms up on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. Brady grew from a sixth-round draft choice into one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. On Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hears Brady's appeal of a four-game suspension for using deflated footballs in the AFC championship game. How will that affect Brady's legacy Patriots Bradys Legacy Football, PONTIAC, USA
Carlos Osorio/AP/Shutterstock

2000: Passing on the Quarterback

Tom Brady was passed on by every team in the NFL multiple times in the 2000 NFL Draft, finally going to the New England Patriots in the sixth round at #199. Everyone who had a hand in selecting draft picks that year has got to be kicking themselves now, as Brady has gone on appear in nine Super Bowls, winning six, and was voted to six Pro Bowls.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rhona Wise/EPA/Shutterstock (7912107a) A Chicago Cubs Fan Shows His Feelings with a Sign and Body Paint During Game Five of the National League Championship Series Against the Florida Marlins Sunday 12 October 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Florida Usa Baseball Cubs Marlins Fan Support - Oct 2003
Rhona Wise/EPA/Shutterstock

2003: Fan Interference

The Chicago Cubs were leading the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series’ eighth inning when Marlins batter Luis Castillo stepped up to the plate, smacking the ball high and foul. Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou went up for the catch, but so did an overeager Cubs fan, reaching over the wall and onto the field, knocking it away from Alou in the process. The home team was prevented from getting the out, then giving up  eight runs in the inning. The Cubs went on to lose the game and the series, extending their then 95-year championship drought.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lionel Cironneau/AP/Shutterstock (6392064d) JACOBELLIS American Lindsey Jacobellis who was leading in the final of the Women's Snowboard Cross competition, crashes in sight of the finish at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Bardonecchia, Italy, . Tanja Frieden of Switzerland won the race to take the gold medal, Jacobellis finished second to take the silver medal, and Dominique Maltais of Canada bronze WINTER OLYMPICS SNOWBOARD CROSS USA TR1, BARDONECCHIA, Italy
Lionel Cironneau/AP/Shutterstock

2006: Snowboarder Shreds Shot at Gold

U.S. snowboarding darling Lindsey Jacobellis was heavily favored going into 2006 Winter Olympics Snowboard Cross final in Turin, and rightfully so with none of her fellow racers in sight as she bore closer on the finish line. Celebrating her lead, Jacobellis wiped out on the second to last jump, and Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden zipped by to take the gold.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by J Pat Carter/AP/Shutterstock (5975859l) LeBron James LeBron James (6) appears at Fan Fest in Miami Miami Heat Fan Fest Basketball, Miami, USA
J Pat Carter/AP/Shutterstock

2010: LeBron Broadcast

Ohio native and now Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James announces his decision to join the Miami Heat in a one-hour prime-time TV special after playing eight seasons with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. The result: His public-view “Q-score” takes a beating. James becomes a punch line for fans who consider the hometown hero a turncoat. In a bad mood after reliving these sports mistakes? Cheer yourself up with our favorite sports jokes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest