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Top 10 Scariest Situations in Sports

Ty Cobb (Photo Courtesy of

So it’s Halloween and I got to thinking: what are the scariest situations in sports? Here’s what I came up with. Feel free comment below and add your own situations!

Honorable Mentions

  • LeBron on the Prowl During a Breakaway
  • Racing Usain Bolt
  • The Goalie on a Hockey Breakaway
  • Defending Shaq in his Prime
  • Dealing with Scott Boras

10. Inbounding the Ball from the Sideline at Cameron Indoor Stadium

Two words: Cameron Crazies. They make up one of the loudest arenas in all of sports. At times the noise has been recorded at 116 decibels, comparable to a jet engine taking off at an airport. The threshold of pain for the average human being is 120 decibels. Now imagine trying inbound the ball with that much noise just feet behind you and the entire section of the Crazies pointing at you. Just pray Coach K decides not to guard the inbound pass.

9. Witnessing a Soon-to-be crash in front of you in Nascar

You know that feeling immediately before your car stops just in time to avoid that pesky fender bender? Well take that feeling but imagine racing around a track a close to 200 mph. Nothing else needs to be said here. This would be at least Top 3 if the everyone agreed Nascar was a sport.

8. Getting Paired with Tiger Woods

Too high right? Wrong. One of the most intimidating personas in all of sports, professors at the University of North Carolina have actually found that golfers play worse when paired with Tiger. With Tiger the crowds jump from being measured in hundreds to tens of thousands, not including the millions of people watching at home due to added cameras. The bottom line is…what other athlete causes their opponent to perform worse solely because of their presence?

7. Tom Brady with the Ball and Only Minutes Remaining

Yes, there are quarterbacks with more 4th quarter game winning drives, but few have the improbable comebacks Brady has. Elway has “the Drive” and Montana has “the Catch.” As improbable as those were, they can be compared to Brady’s comeback against the Ravens in 2007 and Bills this year? Both games were deemed over, but Brady somehow led the Patriots to miracle wins. Just as Yankee Stadium had the ghosts that always seemed to help the Yanks, Brady has those same ghosts whereever he plays. I’m not sure any other quarterback has had that.  Like Elway and Montana’s drives, Brady has his share in the playoffs too: the Snow Bowl, Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX.

6. Hearing Enter Sandman at Yankee Stadium

For Red Sox fans, this is scary despite 12 career blown saves against the Sox. Only five of them have come as he took the field with Metallica playing as he entered. At the new and old Stadium, Rivera blew only 25 saves in 431 games with an ERA around two and a WHIP near one. In nine of his 14 seasons as a closer, he has allowed 15 runs or less the entire season. Even scarier, his numbers are even better on the road. Let’s not even talk about postseason (ERA and WHIP: .77)

5. Guarding Michael Jordan with the Game on the Line

Ask Cleveland or Utah who they fear the most? You could also ask Georgetown, Phoenix, the list goes on, believe me! But, the answer to the original question would be Michael Jordon. Has there ever been a better closer when it meant the most? Jordan excelled so much so, that drilling a game winner was expected. The defender has no chance, no one expects him to stop MJ, so how scary can it be. Ask Craig Elo how it’s working out for him.

4. Attempting to Tackle Earl Campbell

This was a tough one, but just watch the first two minutes of this clip and there’s no argument. Has there ever been a more punishing running back night in and night out in the history of the game? Campbell popped Jack Tatum, made a Jet defenders helmet pop off, and seemed to enjoy punishing opposing defenders. No matter how hard they hit him, he seemed to deliver the worst. Unfortunately for Campbell, he may have unleashed too much pain as it is well-publicized he now has a very hard time living a normal life.

3. Stepping into the Batter’s Box Against Pedro

Not the 2009 Pedro, and not even the 2004 Pedro, I’m talking the 1999-2000 Pedro. His numbers from 1997-2004 are Hall of Fame caliber, but his second and third seasons in Boston were as dominant as any athlete, not only in the history of baseball, but in all sports. Over those two season, Martinez went 41-10 with an ERA below 2. In 430.1 innings the numbers are freakishly good: 597 strikeouts, 288 hits, 91 earned runs, 69 walks, and a WHIP of .830. Batters would step into the box, take one swing, and Jerry Remy would literally say opponent didn’t stand a chance. Nothing worse than expecting a 97 mph fastball when it’s actually a 75 mph changeup.  Just embarrassing. Like David Segui said: “If the lord were a pitcher, he’d pitch like Pedro.”

2. Coming Across the Middle Against Jack Tatum

His nickname was the Assassin. He loved it and relished in it. In his first NFL first game against the Baltimore Colts, he not only hit, but knocked out both John Mackey and Tom Mitchell. His alma mater, Ohio State, instituted the Jack Tatum Hit of the Week award. He was one of the few players in sports history who didn’t mind injuring opponents. The most serious of course was Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley. Tatum hit Stingley in a preseason game that left the Pats wide out paralyzed from the neck down. To the day Stingley died in August of 2007, the two never spoke and Tatum never apologized. Steve Grogan still won’t shake Tatum’s hand if he ever sees him.

1. Playing Against Ty Cobb

It’s really a tossup between Cobb and Tatum. Both wanted to bring bodily harm to their opponents, but at least Tatum’s teammates like him. That’s why Cobb is No. 1. He’s probably the poster child for dirty players in baseball and the stories are endless. It’s not only sad, but freaking scary when sliding cleats up (freshly sharpened of course) is one of his nicer gestures. After getting hit by a pitcher, the next at bat Cobb laid a bunt down the first baseline. As the pitcher fielded the ball Cobb ran through pounding his cleats in the pitchers chest. Hell, even Shoeless Joe Jackson hates Cobb. In Field of Dreams, Shoeless Joe says, “Ty Cobb wanted to play, too. But none of us could stand the son of a b**** when he was alive, so we told him to stick it!”

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