The Washington Post

Great moments in bad sports predictions

(Associated Press)

Earlier Monday, the Bog’s Scott Allen wrote about how — after a fairly dismal performance predicting the result of the Wizards-Bulls first-round series — ESPN’s experts are again picking against the Wizards in their second-round series against the Pacers. Fine, whatever, we’ll do another post for the East finals.

But with that in mind, here are a batch of similarly bad sports predictions from history.

“We want the ball and we’re gonna score.”

With those words, and then by his actions, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck doomed the Seahawks in the 1994 playoffs against the Packers.

“I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”

Nick Saban, then head coach of the Miami Dolphins, said this in December 2006. Two weeks later, he was the head coach at Alabama.

Patrick Ewing’s ‘guarantee fever’

This 2012 New York Times story sums it up (emphasis added):

His first guarantee was a bit of a news media creation. In 1994 he shouted to a group of sportswriters waiting for him outside the Knicks practice facility at SUNY-Purchase, ”See you Sunday, fellas,” in reference to the Knicks returning to Madison Square Garden for a Game 7 against the Pacers. It worked, and it gave Ewing guarantee fever. He rolled out another the next year when the Knicks again needed to beat the Pacers in Game 6 (they did, and lost Game 7). Ewing promised a victory in the 2000 Eastern Conference finals elimination game against Indiana, then missed his final six shots and never played in a Knicks uniform again.

Dan Gilbert makes a bold prediction using comic sans

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was not at all happy that LeBron James decided to take his talents to Miami in the least-classy way possible. So Gilbert decided to write a memo using the least-respected font possible: comic sans, the hacky stand-up comedian of fonts.


You can take it to the bank.

After everyone stopped laughing at Gilbert using a font usually reserved for grade-school talent-show posters, James and the Heat won two titles.

Andrew Beyer picks a dead horse

And, finally, here’s a story recounted by former Post publisher Don Graham about Harvard classmate and horse racing expert Andrew Beyer, in a New York Times story from 1998 (emphasis added):

The two worked together on The Harvard Crimson, where Beyer was known as Longshot Andy. ”We’d all give him $2 to take to the track, and I’m not sure he ever brought back a dollar,” Graham says, recalling one particularly unfortunate selection — a horse named Tar Man, touted by Beyer as a ”mortal lock” — that dropped dead during the course of a race. ”Some kind of heart problem, I think,” Graham says. ”That was the low point of Beyer’s handicapping career.”

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.



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