It’s fun at this time of the year to look back on the best of the past 12 months, but it can be more fun to look at the worst. This week, SI.com will be laughing, cringing and shaking its head at some of the worst things in sports from 2018. Previously: The 10 Worst Coaching Decisions of 2018, The 10 Worst Officiating Decisions of 2018, The 10 Worst Blown Leads of 2018.
We've all been there. You knew what you were supposed to do, but for some reason, when the lights were on, your brain decided to stop working. You beat yourself up about it, but in in the end, all you can really do is laugh.
Mostly because everybody else is going to be laughing at what you did as well, so might as well join in.
From athletes to coaches to announcers to the people sewing the names on the jerseys, everybody has at least one momentary lapse in thinking that causes joy for others, and pain for the person who committed the gaffe. And for your pleasure, we ranked the 10 worst of these moments from 2018.
10. Jason Witten puts his mouth on his foot
Like former teammate Tony Romo, Jason Witten has brought some energy to the broadcasting booth for Monday Night Football.
While watching Aaron Rodgers perform magic on the field during the Packers' game with the 49ers earlier this year, Witten wanted to really drive home the point to the viewers that what they were seeing wasn't normal.
They weren't just watching anybody. They were watching Aaron Rodgers. The man who can throw Hail Mary's from his own 35-yard line to win the game. The guy who makes big plays appear from thin air. He can do anything.
I wonder how long he was keeping that rabbit in his ear before he finally took it out.
9. Padres are too cool to communicate
The Chargers might have left town, but you'll always have the Padres, San Diego. Through good and bad. Winning seasons and losing seasons. Web gems and mind-numbingly poor infield communication that allows a walk-off run.
Eric Hosmer was not the first man to completely botch a routine pop-up with a game on the line and he certainly won't be the last. But he is the most recent, and so far now, we have laugh at him over running the ball for no good reason.
It could be worse. He could have fell down while reaching back to make the catch and turned himself into a GIF. If your failure doesn't get immortalized with a meme, that means it wasn't too bad, and it will blow over soon enough.
8. Did you mean Dan Perez or Oliver Otero?
Annunciation is always important. Are you saying 40 or 14? M or N? Oliver Perez or Dan Otero?
Terry Francona had to find out the hard way that his P's sound a lot like T's, especially when in the dugout during a MLB game.
As Indians closer Cody Allen was in the midst of blowing a save against the Reds, Francona wanted to get another pitcher ready just in case. He was trying to tell his bullpen to get "OP" (Oliver Perez) warmed up, but pitching coach Carl Willis heard the manager ask for "OT" (Dan Otero). Willis made the call to the pen, and to Francona's surprise, the right-handed Otero—not Perez, who is a lefty—came out to face left-handed hitting Joey Votto.
We all know where this goes from here. Votto, one of the best hitters in the history of baseball hits a bases-clearing double, the Reds go on to defeat Cleveland, and Francona has to explain to his grandmother why it is he can't speak up and talk clearly when he has something important to say.
7. Whatever you do, don't turn it over (on downs)
Sometimes, you just got to get rid of the ball and you can't risk taking a sack.
However, fourth-and-five while trailing by 14 with less than five minutes left in the game is not that time.
Maybe Derek Carr decided not getting hit was more important than trying to make a play. Maybe he forgot what down it was. Maybe he was afraid of turning it over if he held on to the ball. Maybe he was expecting to have a slightly different look from his receivers because he thought he called Spider 2 Y Banana in the huddle.
It's the 2018 Raiders. Do you need to know the truth just so you can laugh at their mistakes or do you just want to keep firing off jokes until they post up shop in Las Vegas?
6. Syracuse fails the spelling bee
Equipment teams make mistakes just like the athletes. There's plenty of instances of some player coming onto the court or the field wearing a jersey with the team name spelled wrong or their last name spelled wrong.
But there are certain situations where it definitely shouldn't. If the Bucks equipment people botched "Antetokounmpo" in early 2013, we all would have understood. If the people stitching up the Steelers jerseys in 2004 misspelled "Roethlisberger," nobody would have been that surprised.
But if you work at Syracuse, you can't forget the letters in "Boeheim" in 2018. Might as well have but ORNGE on the front of the jerseys.
You ever get so excited you just didn't know what to say?Or maybe, you just start rambling on-and-on about something and then forget what you were trying to say?
Both situations apply to Les Miles speaking at his introductory press conference at Kansas.
After a nearly three full seasons away from coaching The Hat is back, and he just wants to get ingratiated with his new community. That community, it's really an entire community. And ummm, he and his players will be active members of that community. Ready to do the thing with the stuff for all the people. Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, you name 'em. Les Miles loves the community and wants NBC to bring back Thursday night sitcom Community.
That was his final point in the end, right?
4. Why are there so many rules associated with free throws?
This is a double whammy.
First up, is Louisville. In a high pressure scenario, then-junior Deng Adel, who was Louisville's leading scorer, just had to inbound the ball with 0.9 seconds left to seal a win over No. 1 Virginia. But sometimes, the rules around free throws and makes get a bit fuzzy. The Cavaliers had a lane violation, so Adel couldn't run the baseline on his inbounds. He tried anyway. He was called for a travel, Virginia got the ball back and made a game-winning three and pulled off the most improbable win of last season. Outside of that game Virginia played against UMBC that is.
Adel will get a lot of blame for the final turnover, but Darius Perry fouling Ty Jerome was easily the bigger blunder. Why would you get anywhere near a jump shooter when you're up four?
The second scenario finds Louisville on the winning end. Michigan State was looking to tie up a contest in overtime earlier this season, but was at the foul line and trailing by three. Joshua Langford wanted to make his first shot and miss the second, to give his team a shot at the putback to tie, or maybe even a tip-out for a game-winning three. But he missed the first. So the best the Spartans could do was get the rebound and scramble for a three. Langford missed the second shot, thinking he left door open for just that opportunity. But he actually slammed it shut by throwing the ball right off the backboard, which is a violation. The ball has to hit the rim, people.
If only Tom Izzo had explained that to his team before the game started.
3. Policing putts
This is what happens when you stop caring, and your brain subsequently shuts off.
Did Phil Mickelson forget the rules of golf or did he just forget he was playing in the U.S. Open and not out on the local course for a Saturday with the boys?
When you're on the verge of carding an 81 for the day, everybody gets how you might just stop putting in the proper effort and make mistake. But when you play a sport where people literally call in from home just to snitch about minor rules violations, you should avoid just going, "screw it," and then turning the U.S. Open into a five-year-old's idea of putt-putt. Especially since you know the people who care most about your sport were going to take offense to this action.
You gotta know your audience.
2. Look where you're throwing
This is not how you start off a Champions League final.
Loris Karius had the ball in his hands and there was no need for him to try and throw it away as quickly as he did. Not only was an opposing player right in his line of sight toward where he tossed the ball, it seemed like half of his team was barely paying attention to him at the time.
Does Liverpool win the Champions League if this doesn't happen? Who knows.What I do know is, Karius should have spent less time arguing for a foul, and more time just holding his L in silence.
Five days after the match, Karius met with doctors in Boston and was diagnosed with a concussion. One doctor said it was “possible” the injury would have had a negative impact on his play. The fans who sent him death threats probably weren’t buying that excuse, though.
1. JR! NOOOOO!!!!
We can never say for sure that JR Smith hits the game-winning bucket to steal Game 1 of the NBA Finals even if he does recognize the score is tied here, becuase you can't underestimate Kevin Durant and Draymond Green making a play on defense. But the fact that we missed out on getting to tell our progeny about the time Earl Smith III hit the game-winner in Oracle Arena to defeat one of the greatest dynasties ever because he never even looked at the rim is what makes this so much worse.
Add in how this lack of awareness also squandered away one of LeBron James's greatest playoff performances ever, and it's understandable why Smith faced so much online vitriol after the error. But I'm not here to to beat a dead horse or feed a fed horse.
The best jokes have already been made and I can't bring myself to tarnish the Henny Gawd any more than the internet already has. I just hope that somehow, some way, JR gets a chance at redemption. Some of you may think he doesn't deserve it, and I get it, kinda. But for one brief moment on May 31, 2018, this one man made the whole world feel the exact same thing LeBron James was feeling.
And for accomplishing that near impossible task, I wouldn't mind seeing JR get another shot at glory.