This Day in Failure, December 28
2008: The Detroit Lions are defeated by the Green Bay Packers 31-21, earning the dubious distinction of being the first 0-16 team in NFL history. (Ironically, Detroit completed the 2008 preseason with a 4-0 record.) On this day, the Lions also set another NFL record, becoming the first team in NFL history to allow two 100-yard rushers and two 100-yard receivers in a game.
2008: The Denver Broncos lose to the San Diego Chargers 52-21 and finish the 2008 season at 8-8, becoming the first team since the institution of division play in 1967 to miss the NFL playoffs after having a three-game lead with three weeks to go. Needing just one win to wrap up the AFC West, the Broncos lose at Carolina, at home to Buffalo and to the Chargers.
2008: In the process of getting shut out by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-0, the Cleveland Browns set an NFL record by failing to score a touchdown by run or pass for 24 consecutive quarters (six complete games).
2008: Berkley Books cancels the release of the forthcoming book “Angel at the Fence, The True Story of a Love that Survived,” after writer Herman Rosenblat, 79, admits he fabricated parts of the Holocaust memoir. The book had come under public scrutiny after several scholars claimed that Rosenblat’s facts did not add up, noting that the author’s description of the concentration camp in question was inaccurate.
2008: In an interview that airs on FOX News Sunday, first lady Laura Bush defends her husband’s legacy against critics who call George W. Bush’s administration one of the worst in history, saying, “I know it’s not, and so I don’t really feel like I need to respond to people that view it that way. I think history will judge and we’ll see later.”
1978: United Airlines Flight 173—a DC-8 en route from Stapleton International Airport in Denver to Portland International Airport in Oregon—runs out of fuel and crashes six miles from the airport in Portland, killing ten of 189 individuals on board. The National Transportation Safety Board attributes the accident to the crew’s failure to monitor the aircraft’s fuel state (while preparing for a potential emergency landing) in the wake of a landing gear malfunction. As a result of this accident, United institutes the industry’s first Crew Resource Management (CRM) program, which encourages interpersonal communication and enhanced situational awareness. Today, CRM is utilized worldwide in the aviation industry and related fields.
1879: Less than two years after opening, the central portion of the Tay Bridge collapses into the Firth of Tay at Dundee, Scotland during a fierce storm. The disaster—which took 75 lives—is still considered one of the worst structural engineering failures in British history.