July 23, 2024

Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal inexplicably refused to kneel out the clock with his team holding a three-point lead with fewer than 40 seconds remaining while Georgia Tech held no timeouts. Instead, he drew up a run play, Miami’s running back lost the fumble, and the Yellow Jackets drove 75 yards for a game-winning touchdown as time expired.

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal played the largest role in his team throwing away a win.
The poor decision from Cristobal has been criticized since it happened, especially considering there was no valid excuse for the play-call that ended up losing the game. He didn’t improve his situation by seemingly refusing to take blame in his post-game comments.

“We talk about two hands on the ball,” Cristobal said.

With Cristobal’s terrible decision on Saturday night, it brings up some other memories of terrible — or at least questionable — football play-calling decisions in the past.

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College football Misery Index:Inexplicable, self-inflicted loss puts Miami, Mario Cristobal at top

Worst football play calls in recent memory
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn brings out the field goal unit vs. 49ers in 2015
With the Falcons trailing the 49ers by four late in a November game against the 49ers, quarterback Matt Ryan led Atlanta on a long drive down to the San Francisco one-yard line. On fourth down, and with three and a half minutes remaining, head coach Dan Quinn decided to bring out the field goal unit to cut the deficit to one rather than go for the touchdown.

The decision was so bad that even though the Falcons scored points, it dropped their win probability to 17%. A turnover on downs from a failed touchdown attempt would have been a better result because the 49ers would have had worse field position.

Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels brings out the field goal unit vs. Steelers in September
Head coach Josh McDaniels made a similarly poor decision earlier this NFL season.

The Raiders trailed the Steelers by eight points with fewer than two and a half minutes remaining in the Week 3 matchup. After making it down to the Pittsburgh 8-yard line, the Raiders faced a fourth-and-goal, and McDaniels sent out the field goal unit.

The decision dropped Las Vegas’ win probability by 5%, according to Next Gen Stats.

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Seahawks throw the ball in Super Bowl XLIX
This is probably the first play that comes to mind for most football fans if you were to ask them about the biggest head-scratchers in recent history.

Down just four points with fewer than 30 seconds left, the Seahawks had driven all the way down to the Patriots’ 1-yard line. A touchdown would bring Seattle within seconds from securing their second straight Super Bowl victory. Despite having Marshawn Lynch, one of the greatest running backs of this century, in the backfield, the Seahawks tried to throw the ball on second-and-goal.

The rest is history.

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