Meet Deadspin’s Super Idiots: Here are the dumbest plays in Super Bowl history

Meet Deadspin’s Super Idiots: Here are the dumbest plays in Super Bowl history

Who can forget Don Beebe sprinting from behind to strip Leon Lett at the goaline.
Who can forget Don Beebe sprinting from behind to strip Leon Lett at the goaline.
Image: AP

The Super Bowl is the biggest stage in sports, where stars are made, legends are born… and embarrassment lives forever. There are plays that just don’t get made, sure — like Scott Norwood’s field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV — but there’s a difference between not getting the job done, and screwing up in such hilarious fashion that your Super Bowl moment is the stuff of blooper reels for generations to come.

These aren’t necessarily the worst plays in Super Bowl history, but they’re some of the funniest.

This is the Blooper Bowl.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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Garo Yepremian, Super Bowl VII

Garo Yepremian, Super Bowl VII

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Image: AP

Even after 48 years, it’s still one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see. Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian lined up for a 42-yard field-goal attempt for the Dolphins, but Washington’s Bill Brundige blocked the kick and the ball wound up going back to Yepremian, a two-time All-Pro kicker who had absolutely no idea what to do with his hands. Yepremian tried to complete a pass, and, well, it didn’t work at all. The ball went nowhere, and trying to catch it, Yepremian batted it back up in the air, right to Mike Bass, who ran 49 yards for a score. The gaffe is largely remembered as a comedic moment in the Dolphins’ perfect 1972 season, but that touchdown made it a 14-7 game with just 2:07 left. Washington wound up getting the ball back at its own 30 with 1:14 to go, needing a touchdown to tie, but the Dolphins defense held up, sacking Billy Kilmer on 4th-and-14 to end the game and clinch the only perfect season in NFL history.

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Tom Brady, Super Bowl LII

Tom Brady, Super Bowl LII

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Image: AP

The Eagles’ upset of the Patriots was keyed by the Philly Special near the end of the first half, but what made it all the sweeter for everyone hating on New England was that earlier in the second quarter, the Patriots had tried a similar play of their own, with Danny Amendola coming off a reverse to throw a pass intended for Tom Brady. The future Hall of Fame quarterback had nothing but daylight in front of him … if he’d only caught the ball. Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns in the game, but his drop set up a key sequence in the Patriots’ 41-33 loss. The next play was 4th-and-5, and Brady threw incomplete to Rob Gronkowski, setting up the Eagles with a short field that they turned into their second touchdown of the game, a 21-yard run by LeGarrette Blount. The Philly Special made it 22-12 at halftime, and although the Patriots did take a 33-32 lead early in the fourth quarter, the points exchange on passes thrown to quarterbacks was pivotal in the outcome.

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Manny Ramirez, Super Bowl XLVIII

Manny Ramirez, Super Bowl XLVIII

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Image: AP

Baseball fans are familiar with “Manny Being Manny” to explain oddities involving the former Red Sox outfielder who shares a name with the Broncos center from their trip to Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey. On the first play from scrimmage, this Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Peyton Manning’s head, and into the end zone, where Knowshown Moreno was tackled by Cliff Avril for a safety. Part of the problem was that Manning was moving forward at the snap, which got him an illegal motion penalty, which Seattle of course declined. Things only got worse for the Broncos from there, as the Seahawks rolled to a 43-8 rout.

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Eddie Hinton, Super Bowl V

Eddie Hinton, Super Bowl V

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Legend Johnny Unitas looking beaten down.
Image: AP

Super Bowl V, the first Super Bowl after the AFL-NFL merger, made a case for football to be abandoned forever, as the Colts and Cowboys combined for 546 yards of total offense, a 45 percent completion rate, and 11 turnovers. It was proof that just because a game is close — and this one was decided on a Jim O’Brien field goal for Baltimore with five seconds left — that doesn’t mean it’s good. The Colts were looking for a tying touchdown early in the fourth quarter when they tried a trick play — basically a re-do of the throwback pass that ended up as an interception in Super Bowl III. This time, though, the throwback was covered, so Tom Nowatzke couldn’t get the ball back to Earl Morrall for the downfield toss. Instead, Nowatzke, facing three oncoming Cowboys defenders, checked up and threw the ball downfield, connecting with Eddie Hinton. It had all the makings of a classic highlight… right up until Hinton got stripped from behind on his way to the end zone. The ball went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the ball back to the Cowboys. It worked out alright, because Craig Morton threw an interception three plays later, setting up Nowatzke to run in the game-tying score two plays after that. Another Morton pick led to the deciding field goal.

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Cam Newton, Super Bowl 50

Cam Newton, Super Bowl 50

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Image: AP

The Panthers trailed by six points with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but had the ball and 75 yards to go for a go-ahead score. On 3rd-and-9, Newton looked to pass, brought his arm back to throw, and before he could start moving his arm forward, had the ball knocked loose by Von Miller. There would be no shame in losing the ball that way, but what makes it an all-time flub is what happened next. Instead of diving for the loose ball, Newton stepped backward, looking like he’d suddenly been dropped into the Super Bowl from outer space and was confused by the entire notion of football. T.J. Ward, on the other hand, was very much into the game, and recovered the fumble to set up a Broncos touchdown four plays later that put the Super Bowl out of reach.

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Leon Lett, Super Bowl XXVII

Leon Lett, Super Bowl XXVII

Illustration for article titled Meet Deadspin’s Super Idiots: Here are the dumbest plays in Super Bowl history
Image: AP

The ultimate moment in being able to laugh about it later, the only thing that Lett cost himself with his premature celebration of a would-be fumble return for a touchdown was having his name in the record book of having scored in the Super Bowl. Some folks with Super Bowl pool boxes surely were ticked off, too, but Lett and the Cowboys still got their Super Bowl rings after blowing out the Bills, 52-17 — which already was the score when Lett had his embarrassing moment of getting caught from behind by Don Beebe. The guy who really gets off the hook for this play is Jimmie Jones, who looked the other way as Beebe ran right past him, failing to deliver a block or even alert Lett that a man was coming up behind him. Jones had his own touchdown earlier in the game, while Lett got a measure of redemption by recording the Super Bowl-ending sack… then 10 months later, had a blunder on Thanksgiving that actually did cost Dallas a game and sealed Lett’s fate as being remembered more for his goofs than for his two Pro Bowls and three Super Bowl rings.

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Bob Griese, Super Bowl VI

Bob Griese, Super Bowl VI

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Image: AP

The Dolphins trailed 3-0 near the end of the first quarter and faced 3rd-and-9 from their own 38. By the end of Bob Griese’s dropback, he already was in trouble, with two Cowboys linemen bearing down on him in the backfield. So, Griese spun and ran… and turned… and ran some more… and saw a third rusher coming… and turned again… and ran some more… and finally was brought down by Bob Lilly for a 29-yard sack, the longest in Super Bowl history. Why didn’t Griese, at any point, just throw the ball away? Why did he keep running back toward his own end zone? How did the Dolphins, facing a four-man rush with no blitzes whatsoever, allow Dallas to get that much penetration? The sack wound up meaning nothing, as the teams then traded punts and there was no more scoring until a Roger Staubach-to-Lance Alworth touchdown pass 75 seconds before halftime. The Cowboys went on to a 24-3 romp… and the Dolphins came back in the fall and embarked on their perfect season.

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Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.