On September 24, 2012, the nationally-televised Monday Night Football game ended with Golden Tate scoring a game-winning touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks. At least that's the official version, as called by the replacement referees on the field and upheld by the replay official. From the buzz heard around water coolers on Tuesday morning (and all over television and the internet) you would think that was the worst call ever made by a sports official.
Here are five other blown calls this fan watched live, that he considers to have been even worse:
5. Vanderbilt vs. South Carolina, 8/30/2012: The first game of the college football season. Jordan Matthews tried to catch a pass for Vanderbilt on what turned out to be their final play, with 1:47 remaining. The South Carolina defender clearly grabbed Matthews' arm, easily seen in real-time and all the more obvious in slow motion replays. Though we're told "all plays are reviewed" in college football, the play stood without any interference called. Vanderbilt lost 17-13.
4. Argentina vs. England, 1986 World Cup: Argentine star Diego Maradona jumped up between two British defenders and punched the ball (with his hand) into the goal. Granted soccer has only one referee expected to cover the entire field (plus two assistants on the sidelines), but this was ridiculous. This "Hand of God" goal helped Argentina eliminate England.
3. Colorado vs. Missouri, 10/6/1990: Colorado beats Missouri 33-31, scoring a touchdown on the final play. That happens a lot, but this time it was on fifth down. That's right, the officials failed to count a down when Colorado spiked the ball to stop the clock, and mistakenly gave the Buffaloes a fifth play to score. Colorado went on to win the national championship that season, a title they would not have claimed without this blown call.
2. Pittsburgh vs. Detroit, Thanksgiving Day 1999: Have you ever seen a blown call on a coin flip? On national television, with the game going into overtime, the Steelers' Jerome Bettis calls "tails", but the referee hears "heads." The Lions win the toss and the game. If you ever get to see a replay, watch for the look on Bettis' face when he realizes what's happening, and the laughing Lions' players.
1. USA vs. USSR, 1972 Olympics: Team USA loses an Olympic men's basketball game for the first time in history, but only after the officials put time back on the clock in the final seconds and gave the Soviets another chance. What makes this the worst officiating mistake is that they put time back not once, but twice, resulting in the USSR getting a total of three chances before making the winning basket.
Harold Andrews has been an avid sports fan for nearly 50 years. He sometimes cringes when mistakes are made, but is opposed to instant replay and feels human officials belong in the game.
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