One of my most disliked terms by sports announcers is, “He’d like to have that one back.”
It goes without saying, if a player misses a last second-shot, a last second-field goal or drops a pop fly, that player will wish he could have that one back.
As much as I hate that saying, I admit it got me thinking recently as I began asking myself what moments in sports history would be a lot different if athletes and coaches could have that one play back? Several moments raced through my head and that led me to my list. I did not include front office acquisitions so the Minnesota Vikings trading for Herschel Walker and the Sam Bowie being taken over Michael Jordan will have to wait for another time. I stuck with on the field or court moments for my Top 10 “He’d Like to Have That Back” moments.
■ 10. Leon Lett celebrates early. You could argue Lett’s more embarrassing moment came the following Thanksgiving when he slid into the ball in the snow against the Miami Dolphins and that would be a strong argument seeing as it cost the Cowboys the game. However, the Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl that season and it’s hard to be mad about a 52-17 Super Bowl XXVII victory but if Lett had just held onto the ball instead of holding it with one hand and having it knocked out prior to crossing the goal line, the Cowboys would have set a record for most points scored in the Super Bowl. Yeah, I think he’d like to have that one back.
■ 9. Steve Bartman costs Cubs an out. Yes, Bartman made a mistake and as a fan, he should have let his team field the ball but he wasn’t the one that allowed the Marlins to score eight runs in the eighth inning. He wasn’t the one who lost game seven. Cubs fans were looking for a scapegoat since they could no longer blame the Billy goat. But of course, because it didn’t help his team and he received a ton of backlash, you know that to this day, Steve Bartman would like to have that one back.
■ 8. Tony Romo fumbles the snap. This one pains me as a Cowboys fan and I felt so bad for the then young gunslinger. Who knows how far the Cowboys would have gone but that’s just the thing – we will never know. I think it’s pretty obvious that Romo would like to have that one back.
■ 7. Ron Artest runs into the stands. He wasn’t the only one who was responsible for that game becoming known as “Malice at the Palace” but running into the stands and punching a fan (and not even the fan who threw a beer at him) was sickening. I felt embarrassed for him and mad at him while watching. He tried to clean up his image by legally changing his name to “Metta World Peace” but I think he’ll always be remembered for his actions in Detroit that night. I think anyone in his position would like to have that one back.
■ 6. Pete Carroll calls a pass. Everyone questioned his decision to not punch it in with Marshawn Lynch, and it’s hard not to. Lynch had been dominant inside the red zone and all he needed was one yard. If he doesn’t get in, the Seahawks still have third and fourth downs. If he gets in, that would have given Seattle a 31-28 lead with 20 seconds left in the Super Bowl. One thing we know wouldn’t have happened had the ball gone to Lynch is the Patriots wouldn’t have intercepted it. That could have changed history. In my opinion, that was one of the worst calls in NFL history and you know Carroll would like to have that one back.
■ 5. Ball sails over Nelson Cruz’s head. This one pains me far more than any of the rest on the list. The Rangers led Game 6 of the 2011 World Series 7-5 before David Freese’s hit went over Cruz’s head and hit the outfield wall to tie the game up at 7-7 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. So many people, including myself, would like for him to have that one back.
■ 4. Chris Webber calls a timeout. Michigan trailed 73-71 in the national championship game against North Carolina when he called a timeout with 11 seconds left. The problem was that his Wolverines had no timeouts left and the Tar Heels were awarded free throws for the technical foul. To this day, Webber is constantly reminded of his error, one he would like to have back.
■ 3. Gary Anderson goes wide left. This game was just being shown on the NFL Network. Anderson, the Minnesota Vikings kicker hadn’t missed all season and his first miss came in the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. The kick would have given the Vikings a 10-point lead but the failed attempt left it at seven before the Falcons marched down the field to tie it up and bring it into overtime where they punched their ticket to the Super Bowl in Miami. Even if it meant trading that kick for a miss in the regular season instead, you know that’s one kick Gary Anderson would love to have back.
■ 2. Scott Norwood goes wide right. A 47-yard field goal is no chip shot but it’s certainly a makeable one for Norwood. He had the distance as the ball sailed to the right and his Buffalo Bills fell to the New York Giants 20-19. It was Buffalo’s first of four straight Super Bowl appearances, all of which they came up short. Who knows, perhaps if the Bills win that one, they might have carried the momentum into the next year and defeated the Redskins before falling to the Cowboys twice in a row. At any rate, you there’s no question that Norwood would like to have that one back.
■ 1. Ball rolls between Billy Buckner’s legs. I was just talking about this play to a friend just days before hearing of his passing and it’s a shame he’ll forever be remembered for the error when he was one heck of a ball player. The Boston Red Sox were trying to end their 68-year World Series victory drought when they led the series three games to two. Mookie Wilson hit a ball down the first base line where Buckner raced over, got himself in good position but missed the ball as it rolled between his legs, allowing the Mets to score the winning run and to force a game seven. I’m sure that haunted Buckner for the rest of his life and that was clearly a moment he would have loved to have back.