Top 20 Sporting Events Ruined by Morons

To say these sporting events got out of hand would be an understatement! For this list, we'll be looking at times sports events were stopped, marred, and/or were interfered with for stupid reasons, which in turn ruined it for everyone else in the process. Our countdown includes Flyers Fans Throw Bracelets on the Ice, Football's Battle of Bramall Lane, Monday Night Football Laser Attack, Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe's Boxing Fan Man, and more!

Top 20 Sporting Events Ruined by Morons

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Sporting Events Ruined by Morons.

For this list, we’ll be looking at times sports events were stopped, marred, and/or were interfered with for stupid reasons, which in turn ruined it for everyone else in the process.

Which incident on our list includes the biggest moron? Let us know your stories in the comments below!

#20: Flyers Fans Throw Bracelets on the Ice

A NHL playoff game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals in 2016 went from promising to absolutely disastrous. After a questionable hit by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Dmitry Orlov, a scuffle ensued amongst players. When no players from the Capitals were given penalties, Flyers fans let the referees know their disappointment by pelting bracelets on the ice. The bracelets were given to those in attendance to honor the memory of then Flyers owner Ed Snider, who had passed away a week earlier. Fans were asked to stop, and when they refused to do so, the team was assessed a two minute minor as a result. Philadelphia sports fans often get a bad rep, and this incident didn’t help by any means.

#19: Bottlegate

Facing the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cleveland Browns were on their last drive in an attempt to win the game trailing by 5. On a 4th and 2, quarterback Tim Couch threw a pass which was caught by wide receiver Quincy Morgan. The Browns were awarded the first down. They were already on their next play when the previous play was then being reviewed. It was later ruled an incompletion; the Browns no longer had any downs and the Jaguars were set to win. NFL rules state that a play can no longer be reviewed if the next play is already underway, but for some reason, that was forgotten. Fans in attendance were not pleased, so much so that they began throwing plastic bottles onto the field. It got so out of control that even though there were 48 seconds left on the play clock, the referees called off the game.

#18: Water Bottle Thrown at Dimitri Payet

Just 4 minutes into a Ligue 1 match between Lyon and Marseille, midfielder Dimitri Payet was set to take a corner kick when he was suddenly hit in the head by a water bottle thrown by a fan. Payet was in pain and was attended to by medical staff. Fortunately, Payet was able to get on his feet and return to the sideline. The game was then put on hold, and while it was announced the match would resume and Lyon players returned to the pitch, Marseille players remained in the dressing room, where Payet was still experiencing shock after what had transpired. More time passed, and the match was ultimately called off. It was indeed a disappointing way for a game to end.

#17: Spectator Lets a Rock Go Onto the Dick Johnson

The biggest and most infamous highlight from the 1980 Bathurst 1000 racing competition was when racer Dick Johnson’s car hit a rock. The rock came onto the track after a fan had supposedly thrown it on there. Johnson attempted to pass it, but failed to do so, instead hitting it and going straight into the fence. Worst of all, Johnson was leading, but as a result of this incident, his day had come to an end and he was left with $40,000 in damages. Years later, it was revealed that the boulder ended up on the track after a fan accidentally kicked it onto the track while playing with it. Lesson here is: when attending a race (or any event for that matter); stay away from any rocks.

#16: Football’s Battle of Bramall Lane

Here’s the one time on our list where the fans weren’t involved! In 2002, Sheffield United and West Brom Albion notoriously faced off at Bramall Lane Stadium. Throughout the match, the players just wouldn’t stop being aggressive, and it cost them. The match was littered with endless red cards and injuries. United players were particularly unruly, either deliberately bending the rules or straight up headbutting their opponents. By the 82nd minute, Sheffield was down to 6 men, and the game had to be abandoned. The players and manager were either banned, fined, or accused of cheating, with the match awarded to West Brom a week later. Players can get hot-headed too, but it’s always better to play it cool on the pitch.

#15: Bradford City Stadium Fire

May 11th 1985. Bradford City AFC and Lincoln City FC were facing off at Valley Parade and the former was celebrating their promotion to the Third Division Championship. But 3 minutes before half-time, play was stopped. Officials had been alerted that an area of the stands, Block G, was going ablaze. The flames grew and people in attendance were asked to evacuate. 56 people lost their lives, with 265 others having suffered injuries. While the cause remains unknown, many forensic experts have attributed the fire occurring as a result either a discarded match or cigarette having lit the stands, which at the time were made out of wood.

#14: Peter Hore's Invasion of the Field

During the World Cup Qualifying match in 1998 between Australia and Iran, a spectator named Peter Hore arrived on the field and cut open Iran’s goal net. The game was delayed, and when it resumed, Iran made the most of the opportunity. Australia’s initial lead of 2-0 was cut short when Iran went on to score 2 goals, with the game ending in a tie and allowing Iran to advance. Hore’s act was considered a turning point in the match, with many seeing it as an indirect cause of the Socceroos’ collapse. So maybe the event wasn’t ruined for team Iran, but perhaps more so for Australia. Regardless, it still made for an unnecessary delay! Unfortunately, this isn’t the only incident Hore has been involved in, have crashed several other events, including an Australian Open tennis match and the 1997 Melbourne Cup.

#13: The Attack on Monica Seles

With 8 grand slam titles to her name and ranked 1 in the world at the time of this event, Monica Seles was a powerhouse and dominating women’s tennis. However, her tennis career would take a tragic turn when she was attacked by an assailant with a knife during a match at the Hamburg Open in 1993. Initially, no one had understood what had taken place until Seles fell to the ground. Luckily, the attacker was apprehended. While Seles sustained injuries that were deemed non life-threatening and she was able to eventually recover, she took a 2 year absence from the sport. To witness someone get attacked in such a vicious manner was terrifying and many consider it the darkest chapter in the history of the sport.

#12: Vanderlei de Lima Gets Attacked

Vanderlei de Lima was leading the 2004 Men’s Olympic Marathon in 2004 with 4 miles to go, when Irish priest Neil Horan ran onto the road and pushed de Lima into the crowd. Fortunately, spectators helped de Lima get free, but it took him nearly half a minute to get back onto the course. He was passed by two other runners but still managed to come in third. Many believe de Lima would have most likely won if it hadn’t been for Horan, and it certainly put a damper on the event. His reasoning for interfering? To prepare people for the second coming of course. This wouldn’t be the last time he interfered at an event, having run on the track of the British Grand Prix in 2003 and causing absolute pandemonium.

#11: Fan Sign Causes Crash at the 2021 Tour De France

Crashes are commonplace during this competition, but none have ever happened quite like this. In 2021, German cyclist Tony Martin was riding through the race’s first stage when was suddenly hit by a sign that a woman put in his way to show to a TV camera. He fell, resulting in an entire peloton of cyclists to naturally tumble down. The incident went viral, with some going so far as to call it the worst crash in Tour de France history. The fan was arrested and fined 1200 euros. Some things are just not worth doing to get air time.

#10: Monday Night Football Laser Attack

These little gadgets can create some serious problems. Not just for airplanes, but on the field too! During a Monday Night Football game from Mexico City, Houston Texans Quarterback Brock Osweiler was often being harassed by a green light. Someone in attendance was using a high-powered laser to distract him. The game was stopped, with officials asking security to please find and eliminate the interference. Unfortunately, the culprit was never found or reprimanded. After the game, Osweiler was noticeably upset regarding the incident.

#9: Utah Jazz False Whistle

Sometimes fans just want to give their team a helping hand, but in doing so they ruin the fairness of the game. During a game between the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors back in 2009, a whistle blow was heard, in turn stopping all action on the court. However, that whistle did not come from a referee. Quickly realising this, the Jazz players used the opportunity to slam an easy dunk. The Utah Jazz were clearly given an unfair advantage, but the point was awarded anyway! It turns out the whistle came from a fan in the stands who was dressed up as a referee. He placed himself right behind the Golden State Warriors basket, and thanks to his outfit, he was pretty easy to find.

#8: Drunk Cricket Tackle

I think this guy is at the wrong game. Hey! Rugby is in the other stadium! After a few drinks, an Australian fan attending a cricket game between Pakistan and Australia bolted onto the pitch and tackled Pakistan’s Khalid Latif, outraging officials. He supposedly did it on a dare. The fan, whose name is David James Fraser, was escorted out by security, but the incident led to the Pakaistani sports minister demanding alcohol be removed from Australian cricket grounds! The WACA grounds were cleared however and Fraser was fined $9000 on top of a ban for life.

#7: Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe’s Boxing Fan Man

If there’s any confusion as to how the fans felt about this stunt, just ask the flying fists shortly after he landed. Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe were boxing it out at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas strip. Out of nowhere, a person fell from the sky wearing a paraglider and parachute. As he touched the ring, the crowd and security descended on him, letting him know their displeasure with the unfolding events. The fight was delayed and the man was rushed to hospital, later joking that despite it being heavy-weight fight, he was the only guy who got knocked out.

#6: PAOK vs Olympiacos Fan Flares

Hell hath no fury like a football fan scorned. The atmosphere was tense during the 2016 match between PAOK and Olympiacos. The fans were riled up, just waiting for something to set them off. When PAOK midfielder Róbert Mak was sent off after being tripped by an opposing player, and no call was made, fans had had enough. Down 2-1 to Olympiacos, flares were lit all around the stadium, illuminating the sky in red. The flares were thrown onto the pitch, and with tensions still mounting, the riot police were called onto the field. Officials and players were escorted off the pitch and the match was suspended. By that point it wasn’t a match anymore, it was an impending warzone.

#5: State of Origin’s Moment of No Silence

Imagine trying to pay respect to someone while some intoxicated individuals decide to start shouting in the background? One of Australia’s greatest distance runners, Ron Clarke, had just passed away at 78 years old in 2015. At the start of a State of Origin II rugby game in Melbourne, the crowd was asked for a minute of silence to honor Clarke’s memory. But as the players tried to pay respects, some members of the crowd began jeering unrelated chants, angering fellow attendees who began shouting back. The disappointment and shock from the players was palpable. It was pure disrespect: nothing more, nothing less.

#4: NFL Snowball Game

Whenever snow comes to town, it can be tempting to throw a couple of snowballs. But this winter fight caused some serious trouble! It was 1995, the San Diego Chargers were up against the New York Giants awhere a major snowstorm left the Giants stadium seats covered in snow. As a result, many fans decided to start throwing snowballs onto the field, distracting and hurting several people including players, referees, coaches, and cameramen. Despite the crowd being warned to stop, the chaos continued, resulting in the Giants almost being forced to forfeit the match. Although Chargers went on to win and secured a spot in the playoffs, their victory was shadowed by this unfortunate event.

#3: Mommy Enters the Boxing Ring

No mother wants to see their child beaten up, but this went from 0 to 100 real quick! In 1989, light heavyweight brits Tony Wilson and Steve McCarthy competed in a boxing match. At one point during the match, McCarthy had the upper hand, knocking Wilson down and pinning him against the ropes. All of a sudden, a stiletto heel slammed into the back of McCarthy’s head, resulting in a severe injury that required hospital treatment. It was Wilson’s mother, Minna Wilson, who had “blacked out”, squeezed past security, and began attacking her son’s opponent. A rematch was eventually scheduled, but this crazy occurrence certainly put a damper on the event.

#2: PSV Vs Ajax Football Smoke Bomb

If this happened while we were in the stadium, we would immediately bolt for the exit. During a Netherlands football match between PSV and Ajax, everything halted as black smoke filled the stands. 13 smoke bombs were lit, the aftermath being visible for miles outside the stadium. The police believed that it was part of a coordinated action to protest stadium bans. But it wasn’t a popular decision, as the bombs were met with boos from the audience. The match did eventually continue, but 15 people were injured during the incident.

Before we unveil our picks, here are a few dishonorable mentions

Another Day When A Bottle Is Thrown at Dimitri Payet, Another Match Abandoned
A Bottle Is Again Thrown At Dimitri Payet, and This Time The Crowd Also Invaded the Pitch

Disaster at FAI Cup Final
Several Fans Overshadowed a Match By Heckling Stewards and Damaging Seats at Aviva Stadium

Steve Bartman
This Cubs Fan Caught a Ball That He Wasn’t Supposed to Catch and the Rest is History

#1: Malice at the Palace

What started out as a scuffle turned into something far darker. During the conclusion of a regular season game where the Pacers dominated the Pistons back in 2004, Metta Sandiford-Artest (known at the time as Ron Artest) committed a foul on Pistons player Ben Wallace, who then shoved Artest. The two got physical, but things got out of control when a fan added to the incident by throwing a drink at Artest, prompting him to climb into the stands.The arena exploded into chaos between players, fans and security. Even after the fighting stopped and players headed to the locker rooms, fans continued to throw drinks. In retrospect, it's clear that this entire incident could have been avoided had fans not escalated the situation further.