If you follow sports and perhaps drop a dollar or two on the games, last night’s finish to the Kansas City Chiefs/Washington Redskins matchup on Monday Night Football qualifies as either one of your worst beats ever or greatest unexpected victories (after all, every play makes someone happy or unhappy). In case you didn't see it, watch below, keeping in mind the Chiefs were a 7-point favorite and the over/under total was 48:
However, while losing the cover or the under (or both) last night thanks to a fumble returned for a touchdown on a mad scramble play as time expired is sure to leave a mark, it will compound itself by bringing back scar tissue of bad beats past as well. Here are five moments of suffering that instantly flooded my memory bank as Justin Houston pranced into the end zone in Kansas City last night.
Knicks/Trailblazers, March 11, 1977
With the Knicks holding a 108-102 lead with two seconds left, those with money on the Knicks minus 5.5 were feeling good as the home team Knicks prepared to inbound the ball. The ball was inbounded to guard Earl Monroe, who dribbled once and put up a shot at … the Portland basket! The shot dropped as time expired and Portland was awarded two points and the cover. Monroe was investigated for possible point-shaving but was quickly cleared. Those on the Knicks that night were not as forgiving.
Steelers/Jaguars, Sept. 23, 1997
In a game that should have been remembered for Mark Brunnell returning after tearing knee ligaments, bettors remember it for something else. The visiting Steelers were getting 3 points and those on the men from Pittsburgh were gleefully counting their cash as the Steelers, trailing by two, 23-21, lined up for a 40-yard field goal with six seconds to play. Make it’s a win, miss it’s a win. In other words, win-win—except that Pittsburgh kicker Norm Johnson didn’t stick to the script, instead drilling the ball into a Jacksonville defender with the carom going into Chris Hudson’s hands, who then proceeded to scamper 58 yards for a score as the clock ran out, both on the game and on those who had Pittsburgh and the points.
Braves/Mets NLCS Game 5, Oct. 17, 1999
As the fifth game of the 1999 NLCS entered the bottom of the ninth, Mets fans were in dismay. Not only was the team trailing, 3-2 in the 15th inning of a game that was closing in on six hours long, but those taking over 7.5 runs were already putting that wager in the loss column. The Mets came alive, however, and after tying the game at 3 and loading the bases, hope was alive on both fronts. With one out, Robin Ventura lifted a 2-and-1 pitch from Kevin McGlinchy over the wall in right-centerfield for an apparent 7-3 victory for the Mets and those taking the over. Just one problem. Ventura, nursing a gimpy leg, stopped before reaching second base and was mobbed by his teammates. The official scorer ruled the hit a single with one RBI, making the final score 4-3. “As long as I touched first base, we won,” said Ventura. Clearly he did not have the over.
Western Kentucky/Central Michigan, Bahamas Bowl, Dec. 24, 2014
It looked like an early Christmas present for those taking Western Kentucky minus 2.5 as the Hilltoppers held a 49-14 lead entering the fourth quarter against Central Michigan. Despite a furious rally by the Chippewas, Western Kentucky still held a 49-42 lead with three seconds on the clock and Central Michigan on its own 24. But Central completed a pass to the Western 30 and then a trio of laterals led to a dive into the end zone. OK, so overtime. Still a chance to win. Or not. Central went for two points, meaning those on the Hilltoppers had no chance either way. Those bettors took little solace in Central missing the conversion—but more likely than not, were glad they did.
Knicks/Grizzlies, April 8, 2017
The Knicks came to Memphis as 12.5-point underdogs, enough to get some New York money on the books. Memphis held a 10-point lead with 19 seconds left and inbounded the ball and the Knicks were content to let them run out the clock. As players and coaches began leaving the court, the ball was still in the hands of rookie Wade Baldwin IV, who with less than a second on the clock chucked up a nonchalant 40-footer—that dropped, pushing the winning margin to 13 and sending already depressed Knicks fans into despair.