Some sports list-makers claim the Seahawks’ final Super Bowl pass was the worst move in sports history. But it’s only No. 3 on Howie Stalwick’s Northwest list.
The last-minute interception that may have cost the Seattle Seahawks a second consecutive Super Bowl championship is the gift that keeps on giving nightmares to Seahawks fans.
Worthly.com published a list of the 15 worst decisions in sports history. Guess what came in No. 1? Yep, the Seahawks’ ill-fated decision to throw from the 1-yard line instead of handing off the ball to Marshawn Lynch in February.
Considering that the Boston Red Sox once sold 24-year-old superstar Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for around $100,000, it is highly questionable if the Seahawks’ Super Bowl decision truly rates as the worst in sports history. In fact, it doesn’t even rate No. 1 on our list of the 15 worst decisions in Pacific Northwest sports history.
15. A Ty was A Loss
Tyrone Willingham’s so-so record and oh-no personality (or lack of one) led to his dismissal as Notre Dame’s football coach after just three years. The Washington Huskies, apparently in need of fewer victories and spectators, jumped at the opportunity to hire Willingham after the 2004 season. The result was four losing seasons in as many tries, which helps explain why Willingham’s next coaching job came as a volunteer assistant with the Stanford women’s golf team. One presumes Dry Ty’s motivational talks in golf (“Hit that ball. Please. If you’re so inclined. Go, uh, Stanford.”) were every bit as riveting as in football (“Hit that player. Please. If you’re so inclined. Go, uh, Washington.”).
14. Sonics not too Swift
Skinny high school center Robert Swift, the Seattle SuperSonics’ top draft pick (12th overall) in 2004, drew more attention for his countless tattoos and personal demons than for any discernible playing skills. The 7-footer was stapled to the bench during most of his four NBA seasons with Seattle and averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds. Then his life turned into a mess, documented here by the Seattle Times.
13. Mercy, mercy, Percy
Percy Harvin is a big-time talent. Everyone knows that. Harvin is also a big-time pain. Everyone knows that, but the Seahawks threw millions at Harvin in the hope that he would become a changed man in Seattle. As usual, Harvin spent more time injured than active and complaining than playing before he was shipped off to the New York Jets in October. In a little more than one season with Seattle, Harvin played in eight games.
12. Cougars cry Wulff
Paul Wulff loved his alma mater and truly believed he could revive the Washington State football program. Love, as they say, is blind. Wulff got the ax after going 9-40 from 2008-11. For all the misery Wazzu has experienced on the gridiron over the years, no other Cougars football coach comes close to matching Wulff’s career winning percentage of .184.
11. Spokane puck-ered out
Spokane’s population barely topped 100,000 when budding hockey legend Lester Patrick brought major league hockey to the city in 1916-17. The Spokane Canaries – that’s right, Canaries – finished last in their only season in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association while playing in an unheated arena with no roof. Temperatures often dipped below freezing inside the arena, and crowds (surprise!) were minuscule. “The high price (of tickets) has become a stumbling block to many who are curious to see the new league, but not to the extent of $1,” Spokane’s Spokesman-Review newspaper reported. By the way, the PCHA’s Seattle Metropolitans downed the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup that year.
10. Vandal declares . . . insanity?
Idaho Vandals basketball player David Henderson, a junior college transfer, averaged 1.5 points and 0.9 assists in his only season in Moscow. The backup point guard played in just 16 games and shot 25 percent from the field and 55 percent at the free-throw line. Naturally, Henderson passed up his senior season to declare himself eligible for the 1990 NBA draft. Naturally, he was not drafted. Naturally, he never played a nanosecond in the NBA.
9. The Boz not the worst
The Seahawks once wasted a draft pick on LB Brian Bosworth, but The Boz was just one of countless draft blunders made by NFL teams. Seattle’s worst pick? On defense, LB Aaron Curry gets the nod. The Seahawks guaranteed Curry $34 million – a rookie record for guaranteed money for a non-quarterback at the time — after drafting him fourth overall in 2009. Curry barely made it to his third season before he was benched and then traded to Oakland. On offense, Seattle’s worst draft goes to QB Rick Mirer. The No. 2 pick in the 1993 draft lasted four seasons in Seattle, passing for 41 touchdowns and 56 interceptions before he was dealt to Chicago. How did Mirer fare in the Windy City? “Mirer,” Chicago Tribune sports columnist Bernie Lincicome wrote, “is to quarterbacking what nose hair is to coleslaw.”
8. Pippen sent packin’
The Sonics selected Scottie Pippen fifth overall in the 1987 NBA draft and promptly traded him to Chicago for No. 8 pick Olden Polynice and two future nobodies. Pippen was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. In a related development, Polynice was named one of the 50 greatest centers in Sonics history.
7. Big Train passes through Tacoma
A hard-throwing young pitcher tried out for the Tacoma Tigers minor league baseball team in 1906, but player-manager Mike Lynch cut Walter Johnson and advised him to consider becoming an outfielder. One year later, “The Big Train” began a 21-year major league career as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. No one has ever topped Johnson’s 110 shutouts, and only Cy Young bettered Johnson’s 417 wins.
6. Bowie boo-boo
The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Kentucky center Sam Bowie second overall in 1984. The Blazers chose to ignore Bowie’s history of leg injuries in college, but more leg problems limited him to a total of 63 games in four of his five years in Portland. That’s bad enough, but the Blazers selected Bowie one pick before the Chicago Bulls took a flyer on a guy named Michael Jordan.
5. Mariners malaise
Picking the Mariners’ worst personnel move is akin to picking the worst Vin Diesel acting performance. In no particular order, read ‘em and weep: Lost superstars Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez. Traded Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb. Traded Adam Jones and Chris Tillman for Erik Bedard. Traded David Ortiz for Dave Hollins. Traded Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson for Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock. Traded Doug Fister for Charlie Furbush and assorted warm bodies.
Costly (in more ways than one) signings of spectacularly inept free agents Carlos Silva, Chone Figgins, Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver, Scott Spiezio, etc. Granted clubhouse access to renowned clubhouse cancer Milton Bradley. Drafted high school outfielder Tito Nanni sixth overall in 1978. Nanni’s only apparent weaknesses were an inability to hit, field or run particularly well. He spent seven years in the minors and zero days in the majors.
4. A falling Leaf
It is difficult to fathom, but it was hotly debated whether Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf should go first in the 1998 NFL draft. Granted, both quarterbacks enjoyed superb college careers. The Indianapolis Colts selected Payton No. 1 out of Tennessee, and he developed into one of the NFL’s all-time greats. The San Diego Chargers selected Leaf No. 2 out of Washington State, and he developed into one of the NFL’s all-time busts.
3. Hawks in Pick Mode
The Seahawks were three feet away from what would have been their second consecutive Super Bowl title when they chose not to hand the ball off to Lynch, who stands almost six feet tall. If one of the most powerful running backs in NFL history had simply carried the ball to the line of scrimmage, tripped and fell on his facemask . . . (sigh). No wonder The Twelves are still in Shock Mode.
2. Pilots had no flight plan
In 1969, a group of investors with insufficient cash, fortitude and common sense force-fed major league baseball to a Seattle fan base not keen on watching a bumbling expansion team play in an aging minor league ballpark (Sicks’ Stadium). The financial state of the Seattle Pilots was such that equipment trucks headed north from training camp in Arizona the following spring with instructions to just keep driving until it was determined if they should turn right to Milwaukee. The Pilots-turned-Brewers have called Milwaukee home ever since.
1. Super(Sonics) slimy move
It’s a fact of life that some people routinely lie, cheat and steal to get ahead in business. When such actions tear away at the heart of a city, the stench left behind is stifling. The conniving manner in which a new ownership group, an old ownership group and then-NBA commissioner David Stern teamed up to steal the Sonics from Seattle’s loyal fans and move the franchise to Oklahoma City in 2008 . . . to this day, it makes vomit appear a little bit in the mouths of Sonics fans in the Northwest and nationwide, except for Oklahoma.