Top Five Strangest Calls in NFL History

Yahoo Contributor Network

In case you somehow missed it, arguably the most controversial call in NFL history happened at the end of last night's Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. With the Seahawks down by five, quarterback Russell Wilson threw up a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. Both M.D. Jennings of the Packers and Golden Tate of the Seahawks came down holding on to the ball, but replays showed that not only did Tate push off before the pass got there but also that Jennings clearly had the ball clutched to his chest and, therefore, possession. The referees missed two calls: the pass interference on Tate and that it should have been an interception. Instead, the replacement officials ruled a touchdown for the Seahawks and Seattle won in very controversial fashion. If the ending to last night's game does not end the disagreement between the NFL and the locked out officials then what will?

With that said, there are countless nominations that could be made for this list but the following are the top five strangest calls in NFL history.

5. New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers, 2002 NFC Wild Card Game

After blowing a huge lead, the New York Giants set up for a game winning field goal at the end of regulation. The snap was botched and the holder scrambled and tried to throw it down field. There should have been pass interference called on the 49ers defender but, instead, the officials ruled that there was an ineligible receiver down the field and the game ended on a wild note, to say the least.

4. Houston Oilers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1979 AFC Championship Game

With the Oilers down 17-10 in the third quarter, Houston receiver Mike Renfro caught the ball in the corner of the end zone and got both feet down. The officials ruled otherwise, however, and said that he was out of bounds. In the end, Houston would eventually go on to lose the game 27-13.

3. Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers, 1998 NFC Wildcard Game

The 1998 NFC Wildcard game between the Packers and 49ers is remembered for two things: Terrell Owens' clutch touchdown catch in between multiple defenders at the end of the game and Jerry Rice's fumble that wasn't earlier in the drive. With 40 seconds left in the game, the Hall of Famer caught a short pass and tried to fight for extra yardage. The Packers clearly stripped him of the ball, yet the official claimed that his knee was down. The replays showed that that was not even close to being the case. There were no instant replay challenges back then but that missed call certainly helped institute them into the game.

2. Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots, 2001 AFC Divisional Game

Three words: the Tuck Rule. In quite possibly the most infamous play in NFL history, Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson blitzed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and knocked the ball out of his hand. The Raiders recovered the football and it looked like the game was over. That was not to be. After the officials went under the booth, they came out and said that Brady's arm was going forward and it was an incomplete pass. The Tuck Rule was born. The Patriots ended up winning the game and Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri would go on to become NFL legends. Oh, how things could have been different if not for that call.

1. Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks, Monday Night Football

The ending to last night's game was arguably the worst of all time. Sure, it might be too premature to put this as the strangest call in NFL history but it is mind-boggling how the officials (replacement or not) got it wrong. Quite simply, the end to last night's game was a flat out embarrassment for the NFL. As I mentioned earlier, if the NFL cannot come to an agreement with the locked out officials after what happened last night then the integrity of the game will continue to be in question as the weeks go by.


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