Something very important to professional athletes when they retire is the legacy they leave behind. Behind being the keyword for my #1 most embarrassing play in NFL history. For Mark Sanchez who officially announced his retirement as an NFL quarterback last month, his legacy will, unfortunately, be remembered for one play and one play only, a fumble that will live in infamy.
The date was November 22, 2012, and the New York Jets were playing the New England Patriots. It was a home game for the Jets and it was on a Thursday night nationally televised game. Those around the world were able to tune in to one of the most embarrassing but hilarious plays ever.
As the Jets’ offense stepped to the line of scrimmage for a play in the second quarter, in what was supposed to be a running play for fullback Lex Hilliard with Shonn Greene serving as a decoy playing the running back position. When the ball was snapped to Sanchez, he turned to his left to hand off to Hilliard but had turned the wrong way. Seeing he had a broken play Sanchez took the ball himself running forward and then began a slide but instead ran right into his guard Brandon Moore but went headfirst into Moore’s buttocks.
The force of the collision caused the ball to come loose from Sanchez’s grasp and as his guard fell on him, the football bounded to the right where New England’s Steve Gregory scooped it up and took it to the house for a touchdown run of around 32 yards. The play naturally went viral where I’m sure it is still played to this day over and over for its humorous impact.
That second quarter for New York was a complete disaster as the Patriots would score three times in just 52 seconds and the Jets were outscored in the quarter 35-3. This while New York had 12 minutes of offensive plays in the quarter. New England would score twice more in the fourth quarter for a 49-19 final score. New York with the loss moved to a record of 4-6 and would finish the season 2-4 for a final record of 6-10.
Once a promising prospect who played his college ball at USC, Mark Sanchez was the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft but the season following his “Butt Fumble” would be his last as a Jet and he would go on to play for five more teams from 2014 until last season where he finished the season as a backup with the Washington Redskins. In between, he was on the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, and the Chicago Bears.
Mark Sanchez will not go into broadcasting where he will be working for ESPN in covering college football.
Every time I watch the “butt fumble” it’s as funny as the last time. An embarrassment for sure to Mark Sanchez but a bit of humor to the rest of the world. As a honorable mention play, in 2003, then Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack del Rio thought he could fire up his squad by bringing an ax into the locker room and using it on an oak stump telling his players to “Keep chopping wood” so team punter Chris Hanson decided to give the stump a whack and instead he gashed himself forcing an end to the rest of his 2003 season.
As a bonus to this story, on behalf of Coleman Productions, I give you their “NFL Funniest Moments of All-Time.”
#2 The Endzone is the Other Way!