August 3, 2013

The Infamous Butt-Fumble: Worst Play Ever?

By - Jaquan Murphy

With football season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to reflect on one of the more memorable NFL plays, for all the wrong reasons, in recent memory.

In most cases, the phrase "that was the worst play ever" is simply a spur-of-the-moment exaggeration. The play may have been bad, but plenty of worse plays came before it, right?

Well, quarterback Mark Sanchez's infamous "Butt-Fumble" last Thanksgiving against the Pats may very well be the exception to the rule.

Photo by: Chris Szagola
In the second quarter, Sanchez ran smack dab into offensive lineman Brandon Moore's rear end and fumbled; which New England recovered, and returned for a touchdown.

So what makes this play quite possibly the worst play ever, and not just another blooper? Perhaps the massive amount of things that went wrong on the play besides the fumble itself.

Let's start from the beginning.

The Jets lined up in a two-back, two-tight end set on 1st and 10. Nothing special. Nothing bizarre. It was a clear running everyone but New York's backfield. All normalcy ended once Sanchez said "hike." He dropped back for a handoff, and fullback Lex Hilliard left to lead the way, but running back Mike Goodson was nowhere to be found. Why? He had sprinted out for a toss, or maybe even a screen. There's absolutely zero evidence that this was supposed to be a play-action pass, because everyone was blocking.

That raises the question, how could there be such a mix up?

There were no audibles barked out at the line prior to the snap of the ball, so whatever was called in the huddle was the play. When they broke, all eleven guys should have been on the same page.

Obviously, they weren't.

Once the play blew up in the backfield, Sanchez clearly panicked. Rather than just go down and take the loss, he decided to tuck it in and run. Seemed like the right thing to do at the time, right? Worst case scenario, he'd get back to the line and it's 2nd and 10. And who knows, maybe he'd even pick up some positive yardage.

But this is Mark Sanchez we're talking about here, one of the more turnover-prone quarterbacks in the league. Anytime the ball is in his hands, there's potential for the other team to have possession by the time the play is over with.

Coaches always tell runners to follow their blockers, and that's exactly what Sanchez tried to do. Unfortunately, he attacked the line of scrimmage so aggressively that he ran right into the backside of his lineman.

This is the point where the play goes from disaster to complete debacle.

Sanchez hit Moore with such force that it jarred the ball loose. Of course, no one for the Jets noticed that it was on the ground, because they were doing what you're supposed to be doing on a running play; blocking. About a half-dozen Patriots noticed, though. Steve Gregory got to it first and scampered 33 yards for the score.

Not surprisingly, New England went on to win in a blowout, 49-19.

Eight months later, the infamous "Butt-Fumble" has taken on a life of its own. It remains the reigning "Worst of the Worst" play on SportsCenter's weekly segment, a title it has defended well over 30 times now.

36, to be exact.

In the end, the play was nothing more than a series of unfortunate events for Mark Sanchez, but he will never live it down. Not only because of the humorous manner in which he put the pigskin on the turf, but because the entire sequence may have been the worst play start-to-finish in the history of professional football.

- miscommunication in the huddle
- botched handoff attempt
- butt-tackled by a teammate
- fumble
- touchdown the other way

Yeah. Hard to top that.


  1. yep butt fumble is my favourite, its like a clip from the three stooges lol