Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal is at the forefront of college football discussion after committing an all-time coaching blunder. Cristobal’s costly mistake resulted in a squandered final-minute lead for the Hurricanes against Georgia Tech on Saturday.
With 33 seconds left on the clock, the Hurricanes held a 20-17 lead and faced third-and-10 at the Yellow Jackets’ 30-yard line. Rather than electing to have his team take a knee for the victory, Cristobal called a run play that resulted in a fumble. Georgia Tech seized the opportunity by miraculously scoring a last-second touchdown for a 23-20 win over Miami.
“[We] should’ve taken a timeout right there at the end,” Cristobal said to reporters after the game. “[I] thought we could get the first down [and] we talked about [having] two hands on the ball, but that’s not good enough. [We] just should’ve taken a knee.”
The Hurricanes’ epic meltdown caused quite a stir on social media. Here are a few notable reactions to Cristobal’s questionable call to forego the victory formation.
Cristobal’s mishap almost certainly deserves recognition alongside other infamous hall-of-shame coaching moments. Here are a few other examples of prominent coaching decisions that resulted in disaster.
Pete Carroll: Super Bowl XLIX (2015)
The Seattle Seahawks found themselves trailing 28-24 against the New England Patriots with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Needing only a single yard to cross into the end zone for their second consecutive Super Bowl victory, head coach Pete Carroll opted for a pass rather than handing the ball off to All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch. Carroll’s decision resulted in an interception of quarterback Russell Wilson‘s pass and denied the Seahawks a second consecutive Lombardi trophy.
Grady Little: ALCS Game 7 (2003)
During a high point in the Boston Red Sox–New York Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez helped Boston to a 5-2 lead in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series. Martinez started the game and kept the Yankees’ bats in check up until the eighth inning. Despite Martinez having thrown over 100 pitches in the game, Red Sox manager Grady Little decided to keep the right-hander on the mound. As a result, Martinez allowed the Yankees to tie the game, and Aaron Boone went on to hit a walk-off home run in extra innings to propel the Yankees into the World Series, where they’d win the whole thing.
Rick Pitino: NCAA Elite Eight (1992)
With a chance to go to the Final Four on the line, the Kentucky Wildcats scored on a go-ahead bank shot off the glass for a 103-102 lead over the Duke Blue Devils in overtime. Duke quickly called a timeout after the basket, giving Kentucky head coach Rick Pitino an opportunity to craft a defensive plan. Coming out of the timeout, Duke heaved an inbounds pass from the opposite baseline to a posted-up Christian Laettner. Laettner leaped into the air, gathered the pass and buried a fadeaway 15-foot jump shot for the win as time expired. Not a single Wildcat stood in front of Laettner to deny the pass, and Duke went on to win the championship.
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