This Day in Failure: December 20

2008: Continental Airlines Flight 1404, en route from Denver International Airport to Houston, veers off the runway upon takeoff and comes to a stop in a ravine, injuring 38 of the 112 passengers and crew aboard.

1996: New York Jets head coach Rich Kotite—famous for wearing a look of beleaguerment and anguish on the sidelines—announces he will be stepping down following the NFL team’s season finale three days later. The Jets go on to lose Kotite’s last game, a typical come-from-ahead collapse in which New York jumps out to a 14-0 lead over the Miami Dolphins, only to lose 31-28. In two seasons as coach of the Jets, Kotite compiles a 4-28 (.125) record, tying Leeman Bennett (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), for the worst record of any coach with more than 30 games with the same club.

1987: The Philippine ferry Dona Paz collides with a tanker, killing 4,386 people, making it the world’s worst peace-time tragedy at sea. The Dona Paz is licensed to carry only 1,500 people.

1980: NBC broadcasts an NFL game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins without announcers in the broadcast booth. The experiment is regarded as a failure, although the silent telecast draws a 13.5 rating, not far below the network’s 14.9 average for the 1980 regular season.

1803: France transfers ownership of the territory of Louisiana—which includes both the Mississippi and Missouri river valleys—to the United States. France receives only $15 million for 828,000 square miles of land.