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Pagano's fake punt call among worst NFL coaching decisions

The New England Patriots were far from fooled by Chuck Pagano's call for a fake punt attempt on Sunday night.AJ Mast/AP

The New England Patriots were far from fooled by Chuck Pagano’s call for a fake punt attempt on Sunday night.

The Colts’ attempted hoodwink Sunday night didn’t fool the Patriots, but it made their coach look foolish.

On fourth down with his team trailing 27-21 in the third quarter, Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano brought his punt team out on their own 37. He was hoping the fake punt attempt, where two players stayed on the ball while the rest of the team shifted right, would catch the Patriots off guard.

It didn’t.

New England was unfazed by the trickery, immediately swallowing up safety Colt Anderson, and Pagano was left wearing the jester’s cap.

RELATED: CHUCK PAGANO SHOW MAKES MISTAKE OF ASKING FOR QUESTIONS

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After blowing the whistle on the Patriots last season in the Deflategate scandal, the Colts became the butt of the joke for what NFL analysts are naming one of the worst play calls ever.

Here are some more of the NFL’s most questionable coaching decisions.

Pete Carroll and Super Bowl XLIX

The Seattle Seahawks were so close, yet so far from a second consecutive Super Bowl title.

Just one yard away from a second consecutive Super Bowl title, Russell Wilson threw a pick to end the game.Gregory Payan/AP

Just one yard away from a second consecutive Super Bowl title, Russell Wilson threw a pick to end the game.

Lined up at the one-yard line on second down with 26 seconds to go, Russell Wilson stepped back in the pocket and fired to Ricardo Lockette in what became the pass seen ’round the world.

Malcolm Butler stepped in front to pick off the attempt, effectively squashing a Seahawks celebration.

It was immediately decried as the worst call in NFL history, because why Pete Carroll, why did you not hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch?

Running may have seemed like a safer option for Seattle, especially since Lynch had carried for 102 yards and a touchdown already, but Carroll’s decision is still a source of much debate with solid arguments on both sides.

Mike Holmgren lets Terrell Davis score

Time was of the essence for Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, and head coach Mike Holmgren wanted to preserve some.

With just under two minutes to go in the title game, Holmgren told his team to let Terrell Davis walk into the end zone uncontested.

Holmgren’s strategy was meant to optimize time for a final drive, and the Packers did have 1:45 left to try to pull off a miracle, but the fates would not align.

Davis’ clean touchdown proved to be the winner.

Holmgren admitted that when he made the call, he had thought it was 1st and goal as opposed to 2nd and goal, a critical clock management mistake.

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The Miracle at the Meadowlands

All he had to do was take a knee.

With his team leading 17-12 in the waning seconds of a game against the rival Eagles, Giants’ quarterback Joe Pisarcik could have kneeled to run out the clock and preserve an upset victory.

Joe Pisarcik's fumble and its subsequent recovery by Herman Edwards of the Eagles became known as the "Miracle at the Meadowlands," but for Giants fans it will always be remembered as "The Fumble."BURNETT/AP

Joe Pisarcik’s fumble and its subsequent recovery by Herman Edwards of the Eagles became known as the “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” but for Giants fans it will always be remembered as “The Fumble.”

Instead, offensive coordinator Bob Gibson called for a handoff to fullback Larry Csonka, who was unable to wrap up the ball.

Csonka fumbled, and the impossible became probable when Philadelphia cornerback Herman Edwards picked up the pigskin and ran it into the end zone, stunning the hometown crowd.

Marty Mornhinweg and the coin toss

For Lions’ head coach Marty Mornhinweg, his job went blowin’ in the wind.

Detroit Lions head coach Marty Mornhinweg won a coin flip before overtime but elected not to receive because the wind was at his team's back.PAUL SANCYA/AP

Detroit Lions head coach Marty Mornhinweg won a coin flip before overtime but elected not to receive because the wind was at his team’s back.

Detroit was headed into overtime in a 2002 matchup with the Bears, and Mornhinweg and his Lions won the coin flip.

That was good news, especially at this time when NFL overtime games were still won by sudden death.

Mornhinweg, however, chose to kickoff because the wind was at his back, and the result was a blow to his coaching credentials.

The Bears got within field goal range on their first drive and nailed the kick, sealing a victory.

Three months later, Mornhinweg got the ax.

Cowboys vs. Eagles, December 1995

After being fooled twice, it was a real shame on Barry Switzer.

The Cowboys and Eagles were notched in a tie with the clock winding down to the two-minute warning.

With the ball at their own 29-yard-line, the Cowboys were faced with a fourth-and-1 situation and the decision to punt would have been a logical one.

Instead, in an arrogant move by Switzer, the Cowboys went for it and running back Emmett Smith was stopped at the line of scrimmage.

That in itself should have been failure enough, but the clock had hit the two minute mark before the snap, which called for a replay of the down.

Switzer chose not to reanalyze his prior call, and went with the same strategy. Smith was stuffed once more, and the Eagles connected on a game-winning field goal on the ensuing drive.

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Pete Carroll ices Matt Bryant

An incredible comeback from a 20-point fourth quarter deficit in the 2013 Divisional Playoffs was overshadowed by a boneheaded call by Carroll.

Despite the evidence against icing kickers, Seattle’s head coach chose to try it anyway when Matt Bryant lined up for a 49-yard field goal with 13 seconds left.

John Bazemore/AP

In a 2013 NFC divisional playoff game, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll attempted to ice Falcons’ kicker Matt Bryant, but Bryant connected on the second try after missing the first.

Carroll asked for a timeout just before the snap, which went off anyway and resulted in a missed field goal by Bryant. But because Carroll’s request had been granted, Bryant got another shot.

This time around the Atlanta kicker nailed it, and Russell Wilson was left with eight seconds to march his team down the field.

It was an impossible task, and Wilson could not deliver, allowing the Falcons to advance.

Bill Belichick in Super Bowl XLII

Everything about the Patriots was so perfect in the 2007 season, and that may have led to their downfall in Super Bowl XLII.

Coming into the championship without a loss, the Patriots were going up against a Giants team that had finished the season with a 10-6 record.

Known for his often aggressive fourth down calls, Bill Belichick had one backfire on him in Super Bowl XLII against the Giants.Tim Sharp/AP

Known for his often aggressive fourth down calls, Bill Belichick had one backfire on him in Super Bowl XLII against the Giants.

It was a David and Goliath matchup, and New England knew it.

So when Bill Belichick was faced with a fourth-and-13 and a 7-3 lead in the third quarter, he elected to go for it because, well, his quarterback was Tom Brady.

But the New England wonder boy whiffed, chucking the ball out of bounds while handing possession back to the Giants.

At the time it seemed like a harmless display of Belichick arrogance, since he could have gone with kicker Stephen Gostkowski for a 49-yard field goal.

When Eli Manning and the Giants marched down the field for the game-winning drive, though, the final deficit was three points.

The mighty Patriots had been toppled.

Dennis Green calls for a knee

The 1999 Vikings featured a high-powered offense led by Randall Cunningham at quarterback and Randy Moss as one of his primary targets.

With 30 seconds left in the NFC Championship game, they found themselves tied with the Falcons at their own 30-yard line.

Still holding two timeouts under his belt, head coach Dennis Green chose to go with the safe route by taking a knee to run out the clock. He trusted his offense to win it in overtime.

Instead, the Falcons drew first blood in extra time and moved on with a 30-27 victory.

schiusano@nydailynews.com

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