Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Worst blown calls in Tampa Bay sports history

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They were robbed, okay?

They were swindled.

They were hijacked. They were burgled. They were plundered. And to this day, to this hour, the memory of it ticks you off.

Yeah, yeah. Sure, the professional sports teams of Tampa Bay have caused themselves considerably more damage than the referees and umpires of their sport. When all three teams have spent time as the worst franchise in professional sports, that's a given.

But that call?

At that time?

Are you kidding?

Say this for the Tampa Bay Lightning. When its pockets were picked in Game 3 on that disallowed goal by Alex Killorn, it reminded us all of the history of atrocity that this town has endured. No, it hasn't exactly endured Don Denkinger, whose missed call once cost the Cardinals a World Series. It hasn't been the Hand of God (more like the hand of Bruce Allen).

But it stings. Still.

Ask Bert Emanuel. Ask Evan Longoria. Ask Killorn and Fredrik Modin and Kellen Winslow and Simeon Rice and Chad Qualls. Ask a Tampa Bay sports fan.

Yes, a break has come to a Tampa Bay team on occasion. Ask someone from Calgary about the goal that wasn't allowed in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.

But calls that go your way never stick with you the same way, do they?

Again, the teams have self-inflicted more damage than officials ever could. Hey, someone had to make the call to trade for Booker Reese. Someone had to draft Kenyatta Walker and re-sign Michael Clayton and pick receiver Dexter Jackson in the second round. And someone had to trade for Marc Denis and give away Brad Richards and sign Gerard Gallant. And someone had to sign Toe Nash and let Buster Posey slide and not hang onto Josh Hamilton.

But officials are supposed to be like judges. They are supposed to be fair and just and right.

Sometimes, they aren't.

A look at the 10 worst blown calls in Tampa Bay history. A warning: This may raise your blood pressure.

10. Ben Zobrist strikes out

April 8, 2013

It was only an early season game against Texas, but for goodness' sake, what a bad call. Zobrist had Strike 3 called on him — for the final out of the game —on a ball that was so low and outside, it might have killed earthworms. It was comically awful.

9. Zdeno Chara scores from the rafters

Nov. 4, 2006

Chara scored with 46.6 seconds left in the third period to tie the score and lead the Bruins to an overtime victory. The Lightning, and especially goaltender Marc Denis, insisted Chara was guilty of swinging a high stick on the play, and the replay seen by the league was nonconclusive. The play sparked a lot of league discussion about which replays it should use.

8. Rice's flying leap

Oct. 6, 2003

What most remember about, perhaps, the most painful regular-season loss in Bucs history is the Colts' sensational Monday Night Football comeback. But if you're looking for a single play, it came when Simeon Rice was flagged for leaping (leaping?) in an attempt to block a missed 40-yard field goal in overtime. (They won the game on the rekick). The league stood by the call. Rice, however, always insisted he did not land on a teammate (which, supposedly, is what made the play illegal).

7. Derek Jeter has an owie

Sept. 15, 2010

You can call it gamesmanship if you want. The fact is a pitch that was judged to have hit the Yankees' Derek Jeter never touched him. Instead, it hit the bottom of the bat. The trainer came out to tend to Jeter, however, and the umpire awarded him first base. A lesser player, and it wouldn't even be a memory. But Jeter?

6. Winslow is roughed

Dec. 19, 2010

Granted, a lot of these plays happen in a season. But the league agreed that Kellen Winslow was the player who was interfered with, not the guilty party, in a 23-20 OT loss to the Lions. Here's the thing: If the Bucs had won the game, they would've reached the playoffs instead of the Packers, who eventually won the Super Bowl. And Raheem Morris might not have been fired after the following season.

5. Michael Young and Strike 4

Oct. 7, 2010

The Rays were in the AL Division Series against the Rangers when a check swing that will always haunt manager Joe Maddon occurred. Young apparently went too far when he tried to hold back from a Chad Qualls pitch. The umpire called a ball, however, and on the next pitch, Young hit a three-run homer. Maddon was ejected. In a five-game series, it was a crucial call.

4. Modin and his skate

May 2, 2003

The Lightning was eliminated from its playoff series against New Jersey in grueling fashion. The Lightning lost a triple-overtime, 111-minute effort in which it never attempted a power play. Even worse, Fredrik Modin had a goal called back in regulation when the officials ruled the puck went in off his skate. Replays, however, showed a Devils player had kicked Modin's skate.

3. Longoria's invisible tag

Oct. 26, 2008

The Rays trailed two games to one in the World Series when Evan Longoria clearly tagged out the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins as he retreated to third. The umpire called Rollins safe. He scored on his way to a 10-2 victory that essentially sealed the Series.

2. Ryan Callahan fills the goal

April 20, 2014

In the latest entry to the "can you believe that call" list, Callahan scored just after Alex Killorn was called for interfering with Montreal goalie Carey Price. The problem was Price had an inordinate amount of time to recover before the goal went in. Yes, the Lightning was swept, which calms the outrage, but for a moment, the team had life again. And then it was gone.

1. The Emanuel catch

Jan. 23, 2000

Ever notice that it isn't referred to as "the noncatch?'' Bert Emanuel seemingly made a clutch 13-yard reception late in the Bucs' 11-6 loss in the 1999 NFC title game against the Rams that was ruled incomplete. It was a play that was commonly called a catch at the time — and, since the rule was changed that offseason, in every season since. Ask a Bucs fan. Watch the veins stick out in his neck as he insists that was a good catch.

Then.

Now.

Always.

 
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