Artistic License Sports

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"Two minutes for... roping? That's a new one on me." note 
Announcer Bob Miller in D2: The Mighty Ducks , lampshading the penalty that doesn't make sense

There are many family movies and TV shows set around sports. There are also many times in media where sports is used as a backdrop or plot-point. When this happens, the writers will use the most basic terminology available, and often not even get that right. Most of the time, the sport or the rule that was abused is just out of reach of most of the viewing audience, but rest assured that some sports fanatic will find fault with it. The most basic fault is Loophole Abuse using a loophole that's actually closed... the TV show says there ain't no rule, but the Real Life rulebook says there is.

See also Critical Research Failure. Gretzky Has the Ball is when this is done intentionally and in-universe. New Rules as the Plot Demands is the version of this trope for games that only exist in the work of fiction. If the news media gets its pop culture wrong, it's Cowboy BeBop at His Computer. In video games, if this is the theme of the entire level, you have Athletic Arena Level. Pac Man Fever is this trope with video games standing in for sports. Of course, it's impossible to make this mistake in a game of Calvinball.


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • A 2014 Mountain Dew commercial has a Dew-drinking show jumper attempting tricks as though the horse were a motorcycle. At the end, the judges give him three zeros. Unfortunately, scoring for stadium show jumping is strictly based on time. There are penalties assessed for hitting obstacles or failing to jump them, but at no point is there any subjective scoring by judges.
  • A 2013 commercial for McDonald's McRib sandwich had two fans of the McRib compare the awesomeness of it to crazy plays from American football, including "Running the Wishbone out of the I-Formation." The Wishbone isn't a play, it's a formation as well, so you can't run the one out of the other.
  • A 2013 Microsoft commercial has two baseball scouts scouting a pitcher while talking to their team's General Manager, one on an iPhone, the other on Windows. One asks "What's his E.R.A.?" the followed by "How about against lefties?" It's impossible to have an E.R.A. against lefties, as this particular stat simply cannot be broken down this way. E.R.A. is calculated as a rate of earned runs per 9 innings. Runs allowed have two components: batters getting base and then scoring as runners while another batter is hitting (who may or may not be left-handed) before three outs in an inning are recorded. The proper way to measure a pitcher's level of success against left-handed hitters would be to calculate the collective batting average, on-base percentage, or slugging percentage that lefties have against him.
  • A 2014 Bud Light radio ad, tailored for NFL radio broadcasts in respective markets, had a named fan spending the '97 season of the local team calculating the perfect temperature at which to serve Bud Light. This created a problem in the Cleveland, Houston, and Nashville markets, as the local teams did not exist at the time.note  As a result, those markets' version of the ad was altered to reference different years.
  • If Segata Sanshiro wants a football team to win, it will win. He did get called out for it in the second one.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Even though it's a shonen series and thus we can expect liberties with everything, but the portrayal of American Football in Eyeshield 21 is at times just plain wrong. Even with the Hand Wave of "American football is a violent sport", the referees should be showing up more than twice in the entire series. Still, it gets the basic rules right, especially under Japanese rules, which is more can be said for most examples on this page.
  • Even more so with The Prince of Tennis, aside from the gravity- and physics-defying shots the characters use.
  • Code Geass and Chess.
    • Most commonly, Lelouch likes to move his king out early, saying that if the king doesn't lead, the troops won't follow. Fine analogy, but such an incredibly bad chess strategy that it doesn't even fall under "difference of opinion" or "debatable."
    • The worst example has to be Schneizel putting his own king in check (and blatantly so: he moves it to the square right in front of Lelouch's king). This isn't just bad strategy, it's an illegal move.note  The in-story explanation seems to that it was a Secret Test of Character by Schneizel; Lelouch moves his King out of the way so that one of his other pieces can do the job, and Schneizel remarks that he's learned exactly what kind of person Zero is from this action.
    • All the above can be excused with the fact western-style chess is not very popular in either Japan or almost any Asian country other than former Asian Soviet republics and probably the producers only know the basic rules of the game.
  • Captain Tsubasa has a variation: while most of soccer/football's rules are respected, the players make impossible moves, and use strategies that are pathetic for anyone that understands the sport, all in name of the plot. The matches depicted on the show also have muuuuch more goals than real life's scores.
    • But then it comes an episode (in the Road to 2002 series) where the main focus is a referee that was, apparently, being unfair. The episode then takes a while to talk about referee's methods and other stuff... but then you stop to think about it - this is an anime that never gives a damn thing about referees. Characters are constantly getting severely injured in the middle of matches, sometimes in the most blatant ways, and nobody lifts a finger. All for the sake of awesome, sure, but sends the anime squarely into this trope.
    • There are more egregious examples. Sometimes players violently attack players of the opposite team without receiving any kind of punishment or only receiving a yellow-card. Have in mind we are not talking about faking a miscalculation and hitting your opponents on purpose (which happens in real life) but actually kicking them without holding back, sometimes even after being shouted by your coach/team captain/team partners to "break his leg". This in real life not only would get a red card, but it'd get you kicked from Soccer League, and probably get your team punished as well.
    • In the filler of the first anime series, during the flashback when the Japanese team played in an European tournament, Japan played against England, whose team used the Union Jack flag, rather than the St George's Cross, the flag used in sporting events, due to the fact all the countries of the United Kingdom normally participates with their own flags, rather than using the Union Jack flag, who is normally used in political events outside sports.
  • Parodied in Hayate the Combat Butler with beach volleyball. Hayate is worried because he doesn't know how to play, but Nagi tells him it's okay because the author has no idea either. So obviously, it ends with killer robots.
  • The Saki manga had one caused by an artist error: A panel showed Saki with 15 tiles in her hand, which is not legally possible in Mahjong. Strangely enough, the error made its way into the anime adaptation.
    • Crunchyroll's subtitles also demonstrated that the translators apparently didn't know how to play Mahjong, at least not the Riichi variant used in the series. The translation notes in the first episode alone had:
      • An incorrect definition of yaku as "special hands that are worth 1 fan [sic] (point doubling) each". Correct definition: Yaku are hand patterns each worth 1 or more han (fan is the Chinese term used in other variants).
      • "The player sitting east gets double points and pays double points." The East seat player actually gets 1.5x the points if they win the hand, and pays double if and only if someone else wins via tsumo (drawing the final tile themselves, as opposed to taking someone else's discard).
      • For some crazy reason, the subtitles had mixed not only romanized Japanese and English translations for Mahjong terms, but some terms were translated into their Chinese word origins and then romanized. Sometimes all in the same line, for example "all simples pinfu mixed triple chow."
  • In FLCL, Naota is shown striking out looking every inning against Haruko's pitching. The problem is that Mabase isn't scoring any runs, and a given player can only bat at most twice every three innings if the team doesn't score, because the maximum number of batters you can send to the plate without scoring is six, while there are nine in a lineup, and everyone (or their substitutes) must bat once before anyone can bat twice.

    Chess 
  • Any chess game played between over-competitive nerds is always done incorrectly. There is never a clock. The players move absurdly quickly (especially as there is no clock!). They never record their moves (which is required in any competitive game). They do not shake hands before or after the game (even if they hate each other, they would still do it, in a snarky way). Worst of all, a player wins a decisive advantage by killing his/her opponent's queen. (This only really happens in beginner's games; in a game between talented players, a tiny material advantage or a slightly advantageous position would be enough.) The game always ends in checkmate, even though it's standard practice to resign when one's opponent is guaranteed to win. Finally, the game is never drawn, even though our heroes are supposedly both brilliant players, and more than half of top-level games are draws.
    • There's also a favorite bit where one player puts his opponent in check and the opponent checkmates him on the next move. It's technically possible, but there are very few situations where a single move can put one's own king out of danger's way and completely trap the opposing king. It generally requires the losing player not to pay close attention, and the winning player almost always wins because of sheer luck rather than planning.
      • Here is a list of eight high-level games where check was answered by checkmate.
    • Chess players always shout "check" when they deliver it; among professionals it would be rather rude.
    • Also the all-too common cases where a character is shown to be smart in that he can either win most games of chess in less than ____ moves or can think 10/20/you name it moves ahead.
    • In Sailor Moon episode 71, Ami and Berthier replay a real-life game between Spassky and Fischer. Ami continues after the point at which Spassky resigned - and wins. (There have been cases where players resigned and analysts later discovered a possible winning continuation, but the game in question is not one of them.)
    • Oddly enough, this was Averted in House, hand-shaking and all. Of course, the Patient Of The Week was one of the contestants, and his first showing symptom was that he leaped over the table and beat his opponent to a pulp with the clock, but that's neither here nor there.
    • A newspaper strip called Big Nate did an arc about the title character taking part in a middle school chess competition, and wonderfully averted the statement above about players never shaking hands. Each time he shook hands with an opponent, Nate psyched him with a different bit of trash talk, including the simple statement, "Your hands are all sweaty." (The other kid stammered that he had a glandular problem, and Nate thought, "He's mine.")
    • And the board positions (if shown) themselves! God, the positions on the board! Pawns on the first or eighth rank. Bishops on the same colors. Both kings in check simultaneously. Three of the same piece with all 8 pawns still on the board. Quadrupled and quintupled pawns. In general a mishmash of board configurations that are either completely illegal or even if just barely legal, mindblowingly unlikely to ever occur in any real game between actual real players.
    • Briefly parodied in an episode of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (Series 5, Episode 3: Re-Animated), where the layout of pieces and the 'checkmate' is clearly wrong.
    • The episode of Family Ties where Alex plays chess against a Russian is an interesting case. They actually got many of the details right, including the use of the chess clock. But the presence of live commentary in the same room was more than a little silly, Alex's whole moral dilemma for the episode is created by ignoring the sealed-move rule for adjournments, and of course, for some reason the Russian who suddenly decides he wants to lose can't simply do so by resigning.
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey: HAL, playing chess with Bowman, gets a few details mixed up, but it's a very subtle error that could only be spotted by a chess wizard. It can also be taken as Foreshadowing that something's very, very, very wrong with HAL.
    • Played for laughs in Futurama where one of two robots playing chess declares: "Mate in 137 moves!" - from the opening position.
    • In the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone movie, Harry starts out as the white-square bishop but clearly delivers checkmate while traveling on a black square diagonal. While his starting square is not directly shown, the king-side white bishop always starts on a white square.
      • One of the areas in which the film actually improved on the book is that the film's portrayal of chess is much more accurate. In the book, it's generally pretty obvious J. K. Rowling has never touched a chess board in her life. For example, Ron at one point is said to take "one step forward", despite the fact that he is playing a knight (this error and some others were fixed in later reprintings).
    • An episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh had the characters trying to play chess. Rabbit, the only one who knows anything about the game at all, points out that "some" of the pieces are missing — from the way he describes it, it sounds like he only expects there to be one of each kind to begin with. And also a magician. This is ultimately all in service of them "playing the missing pieces" — yep, this turns out to be an RPG Episode, complete with Tigger as "the Bish-Hop of Bounce" and rabbit as the Inept Mage.
    • A particular episode of Smart Guy made just about every error you ever see, as well as a few completely new ones. In addition to having the board set up wrong, there was one scene where the black player made the opening move, and the protagonist's solution to defeating an advanced chess computer was to make completely nonsensical moves, which would have never worked in real life. (In fact, one of these moves that was deemed to be "nonsensical" was moving the knight out first, which, according to chessgames.com's database, is actual the third most popular opening move among professional players, out of 20 possible opening moves, making this not even wrong).
    • Star Trek suffers from this whenever chess comes up. While the rules of 3-D chess are more complex than the rules of regular chess, there is no reason that Counselor Troi should be able to win against Data by making irrational moves.

    Boxing 
  • Boxing (and the same applies to martial arts). While media where boxing is the focal point they at least usually gets most right, anytime the sweet science is more of a side plot you see these:
    • For excitement's sake, most boxing matches in the media are all offensive action, and rarely do they show defensive styles, setting up combos, feeling out processes, etc.
    • In many instances, there doesn't seem to be any weight classes, or everyone is seemingly a heavyweight. Anyone can seemingly fight anyone, you rarely see someone cutting weight.
    • Same applies to championships, as fighters are always going for "the title" with the weight class or organization never defined. In reality, there's multiple world titles in over a dozen weight classes.
    • The dramatic moment where the hero juuuuuust gets up as the referee is just hitting 10 on the ten-count, often pulling himself up by the ropes. Fighters actually get a count to eight to get to their feet, with the ref counting off 9 and 10 while they check the fighter over to see if they're cognizant enough to continue. Or showing a mixed martial arts fight where there's a ten-count. There's none in MMA.
    • Along with that, fighters taking unbelievable punishment but somehow they hang in there and make their comeback, as long as they stay on their feet. A referee, while they can be lenient (especially if the fighter in question is known for their toughness), can wave off a fight if the fighter is "out on their feet" or they feel they've just taken too much of a beating.
    • Athletic commissions often seem not to exist, and the boxers only answer to the promoter (and/or their manager). They never have to get physicals, blood tests, drug tests, etc. Doesn't apply if it's specifically stated to be an underground/illegal bout.
    • The bell rings to end the round, and one guy sucker punches the other. Such a punch would constitute at least a deduction of points, if not outright disqualification.

    Comic Books 
  • An Archie comics story involves a new kid in town coming out of nowhere to become the star player on Riverdale's baseball team, playing shortstop. His leg is then badly injured when a player on a rival team spikes him, but he reinvents himself as an ace pitcher and leads Riverdale to the championship. It would be a great story if it wasn't utter bullcrap. As anyone who's ever pitched at any level could tell you, it is impossible to pitch on an injured leg, at least with any degree of competency. Pitching is not simply about throwing a ball; pitchers generate power from their legs and put a great deal of stress and weight on them when pitching. If you try to pitch on a bad leg, not only will you have difficulty controlling your pitches, it's a good bet you'll injure your arm also.
    • In another issue where Betty becomes a race car driver, the flag bearer at the racetrack waves a checkered flag at the start of her first race. The checkered flag is supposed to signal the end of a race.
  • During the Flashpoint event, the Hall of Doom flying super-prison just misses crashing into Joe Louis Arena during a Red Wings game. An establishing panel shows the ice level, where each team has eight men on the ice, nobody's wearing a helmet, the goaltenders don't look like goaltenders, and there are no officials visible. It can't be justified with an Alternate Universe since the NHL rules were codified decades before the point of divergence.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes made this into a Running Gag with the two titular characters never understanding even the basic rules to any game they play. They once played a game of baseball with over thirty bases, randomly strewn about through their neighborhood. A game of football had them fighting, scratching and punching each other for the football, dragging themselves towards the end zone after the play was clearly dead. They even once played a game of Monopoly where Calvin tried to rob the bank when he couldn't pay, prompting the usual fight. All of this was their motivation for creating Calvinball, a game whose only permanent rule is "you can't play the same way twice."
  • In Peanuts, Charlie Brown's baseball team often lost games by lopsided margins like 100 to 1. However, American Little League Baseball has the Mercy Rule, which stops the game early to avoid such humiliation. While Charlie Brown is certainly stubborn enough to keep playing, there is no mention of the umpire enforcing, or even bringing up the rule. Also, their games always last nine innings, while Little League games only go six. Often justified, however; while it's varied from year to year, it's usually stated that Charlie Brown's team doesn't play official Little League baseball (at one point he says that they're "about three leagues below that"), as he usually schedules games with managers himself, and plot arcs have had the owner of the sandlot preventing the games for liability issues. Besides, the visiting team can't win via the Mercy Rule until the home team has had a chance to answer. Since a team continues to bat until the defense can make three outs, it's theoretically possible for the visitors to score 90 runs in one inning and only then be retired and proceed to shut out the home team in the bottom of the inning.
  • Any time a sporting event is held in Safe Havens, it's a good bet that the rules of the game will be sacrificed to the Rule of Funny.
    • Examples include the university band playing during game action in a basketball game (which would result in a bench technical — two free throws + possession for the other team — in real life) and Dave being allowed to wear sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player (only protective or prescription eye wear is allowed).
    • And there's also Dave being an apparently successful player in the Italian leagues, despite being a one-trick pony on the court (he's an incredible passer, but he's of high-side-of-average height, slow of foot with no vertical and can't shoot).

    Fan Works 
  • The Twilight High School A.U. fanfic "30 Love" seems to correctly portray women's tennis as if it were using men's rules. Women's tennis is best two-out-of-three sets; men's is best three-out-of-five sets, which is what this fic uses.
  • The Sherlock fanfic "A Hooligans' Game Played By Gentlemen" seems to confuse the two codes (Rugby Union and Rugby League) of rugby. Blackheath Football Club, a union club, is mentioned, but the game he plays with Lestrade and others seems to be a league game, with a turnover resulting after six tackles — a rule which, in any case, was added to the Rugby League rulebook long after Holmes' time. In addition, his position (scrum half) is treated as a forward, when it actually makes him a back, and he implies being a back is harder on the body — this may or may not be the case, but it's something a forward wouldn't be caught dead admitting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Rocky movie series sticks mostly to the general rules of boxing, but has its moments.
    • Mainly the actual boxing feature very little defense and often resembles tough man contest-level skill, as opposed to the highest level of championship prize fighting.
    • The other biggest offender is the beatings Rocky usually takes. In real life, the referee will step and stop a fight when he feels the fighter is essentially out on his feet or has simply taken too much punishment. Not to mention Rocky and his opponents usually have massively swollen eyes or are badly cut and pouring buckets of blood by the end of a fight, which are past the point of even a lenient ringside doctor's allowance.
    • Minor nit-pick: the 5' 7" Rocky/Stallone is an awfully small heavyweight. Someone of his frame would most likely fight at a lower weight class.
  • Air Bud: While there is no rule specifically stating that a dog can't play, interscholastic leagues do have stringent eligibility requirements, including being a student of sound academic standing.
  • Horse Feathers has to be deliberate, as there is no way anybody could possibly think that the ref would let somebody ride down the field in a chariot and use every spare football in said chariot as a separate touchdown, no matter how much bribery was involved. Also, Groucho's team (Huxley College) received a kick-off from rival Darwin College after scoring a touchdown, as opposed to kicking off to Darwin. (This is actually a bit of Truth In Television, since some college all-star games used to do this to make the contests more competitive: in the Hawaii Bowl, for example, a team would get the ball back if they trailed by more than two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.)
  • The 1993 movie Rookie of the Year
    • A 12-year-old boy would not be allowed to play in the Major Leagues because 16 is the minimum age. The only time this was overlooked was due to World War II in the case of Joe Nuxhall. Obviously, this was a liberty that needed to be taken, or it wouldn't be much of a movie.
    • When Henry throws the ball all the way back to home plate after the visitor hits a homer, everyone acts as if it's a live ball (it isn't).
    • Various plays he uses in the 9th are illegal; the pitcher can't be on the pitching rubber during a hidden-ball trick attempt (and play is not resumed from a timeout until the pitcher is on the rubber with the ball) and Henry's Nobody Calls Me Chicken gambit with the runner would not have taken place, as the ump would have called for time as soon as he left the pitching rubber.
    • Rather early in the film, Henry is testing his throwing accuracy, and he does the whole fake announcer narration bit, fabricating a scenario for himself. The scenario involves, among other things, a full count. Once he throws the ball and hits his target, he triumphantly shouts, "Strike one!" Even many people who don't watch baseball would know that a full count means "3 balls and two strikes."
    • According to the announcer, the the climactic game between the Mets and the Cubs will determine the division championship, with the winner advancing to the World Series. The league championship series, which (under 1993 rules) pitted division champions against each other with a World Series berth at stake, is altogether ignored.
    • At the end of the film, Henry is seen playing Little League baseball...which, having played professionally for a year, he would be ineligible to play.
  • The 1994 movie Little Big League involves a 12-year-old boy who inherits ownership of a major league baseball team, and appoints himself manager. Even if the age issue could be overlooked (the team would probably be held in trust until he comes of age), while it once was common for major league managers like Connie Mack be owners as well, Major League Baseball has forbidden it since Ted Turner tried to appoint himself manager of the Atlanta Braves in 1977.
  • A Shot at Glory:
    • Thise soccer/footie movie features a fictional Scottish team of whom the owner (Michael Keaton) threatens to move to Dublin. Ireland has their own professional soccer leagues. Even if this fictional team played in the top Scottish league... and it appears they don't... there would be almost no draw for such a lowly Scottish League team playing in Dublin. Not to mention the logistical problems with all the other crappy Scottish teams having to travel. Not a problem for the likes of Rangers and Celtic, but a big problem for others. And taking the team and starting a new Dublin team in the Irish leagues doesn't even remotely make sense. It would be like moving the Broncos to Manitoba and joining the CFL.
    • More broadly, the film features some inaccuracies in how the Scottish Cup tournament works. The semi finals in the film are played at the ground of the "home" team when they should have taken place at neutral venues, and in the final itself the game goes straight to penalty kicks when the game is tied after 90 minutes, ignoring the 30 minutes of extra time that should have taken place.
  • The Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard features a play at the end of the first half which starts with several seconds left on the clock. The announcers and players treat it as though the touchdown must be scored before the clock goes to triple zeroes. In real life, all that is required is for the play to begin before 0:00. Made especially baffling when you know that ESPN's Chris Berman is serving as one of the announcers. And even more baffling when you consider that another Adam Sandler football movie got this part right.
  • Golf movie climaxes almost always involve the "golden rule of golf": Play the ball as it lies. This is customarily presented as an immutable law of physics, even when such a play would make a golfer's body contort in ways that would make a member of Cirque du Soleil scream in pain. Apparently, the writers have never heard of the "unplayable-lie" rule, which, in real life, can be taken for any shot, even one safely in the fairway. It does carry with it a penalty stroke, and you can't use it to get yourself closer to the hole, but you can do it.
    • In Happy Gilmore, where Jerk Jock Shooter McGavin has to play the ball off the foot of the title character's former-boss-turned-fan (played by Richard "Jaws" Kiel). In the same film, Happy actually is offered the unplayable-lie rule, but doesn't use it to avoid the penalty stroke.
      • Actually, there's another rule that means that he could wait for the rubble to be cleared without taking a penalty — a rule about spectator interference. While this doesn't work for Shooter (it has to do with how an obstacle appears and the ball landed on Kiel's foot due to Shooter's own influence), it would've been in play for Happy because of what caused the obstruction note .
    • How many times did that fan rudely yell "Jackass!" and not get thrown out? While it might have been tolerated when Happy was preparing to shoot, especially since Happy had been encouraging people to make noise earlier in the movie, there's no way the officials would've tolerated it during a shot. In reality, not only would the fan be thrown out the first time he did that, Happy would be given a free chance to re-hit his ball from the original spot.
  • Days of Thunder:
    • A NASCAR team needs more than one car. This is not just a question of repairing damage and having a backup car ready, but of suitability. In the Sprint Cup Series, a team keeps several cars for the year: cars exclusively for the restrictor plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, cars exclusively for the road course races at Watkins Glen and Sonoma as well as the Pocono races, cars specifically built for the short track races at venues like Bristol and Martinsville, cars specifically built for the non-plate superspeedways, and cars built for the intermediate length tracks.
    • Or that even Tom Cruise couldn't pass everybody else in the race in the last three laps at Daytona. Unless he's an AI driver who has superhuman abilities that even Dale Earnhardt was incapable of making. During the Darlington race earlier in the movie, the driver would have lost a lot more than just two positions with the extra time he spent on pit road, due to the egg-shaped configuration.
    • And, of course, in the real world a driver would be banned from NASCAR (and probably all motorsports) for life if he went out and rammed the winner from behind during his victory lap.
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby has a few of note for NASCAR:
    • The Texas Motor Speedway race is signed as the Dickies 500 (which is now the AAA Texas 500). However, the race ends in the day time, when both Texas races (spring and fall) currently end under the lightsnote . Also, the NASCAR on FOX crew is shown commentating for the race, when at the time of filming, and in the present day, it would have been the NASCAR on NBC team (or, from 2007 to 2014, the NASCAR on ESPN/ABC team) who would be covering the race. FOX covers the spring Texas race, currently known as the Duck Commander 500.
    • At the final Talladega race, when the pace car pulls off on the last restart, Ricky Bobby and Jean Girard are lined side-by-side, a la a double-file restart. When the movie was filmed in 2005, double-file restarts (or "Shootout-style restarts" as they were also called) were only used in the non-points Sprint Cup races - the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona and the All-Star Race at Charlotte. In points-paying races, the field lined up for restarts with two lines of cars - lead lap cars on the outside line, and lap-down cars on the inside line; on restarts with less than ten laps to go, all of the cars restarted single file whether or not on the lead lap. Double-file restarts were not introduced to points-racing in the top three NASCAR touring series until June 2009.
    • In the climatic race, team owner Larry Dennitt gives Cal team orders, through Cal's crew chief, to take out Ricky so as to keep Ricky from getting past Jean Girard. When Cal refuses to comply, Dennitt orders his third car, Ricky's old #26 ride, to wreck Cal so that Cal can't give Ricky a push. Given how easy it is to listen in on team communications, such 'team orders' would probably be construed NASCAR as an attempt to manipulate the finish of the race, especially since the #26 shoving Cal into the wall starts a pileup that wrecks much of the field. Considering the harsh penalties that were handed down to Michael Waltrip Racing when they caught attempting to manipulate the finish of the fall Richmond race in 2013 in an attempt to get Martin Truex, Jr. into the Chasenote , you can imagine that NASCAR will probably be handing hefty fines and penalties to all of the Dennitt Racing teams.
  • Driven: The scene of the main characters having an impromptu grudge match in their race cars through the evening Chicago rush hour; Not only would the average race driver be fired for such a reckless stunt but they certainly wouldn't be able to use their regular car. Most single seat race cars need a team of mechanics to operate the computer systems, heat the tires, start the car with an external starter, and to strap the driver's belts since he/she cannot do that themselves.
  • Averted at the climax of Little Giants. The Giants' last play of the game, called "The Annexation of Puerto Rico" by its geeky play caller, was a legal play at the time better known as the "fumblerooski" (the ruling body of Pee-Wee football has since banned it).
  • Used to very painful effect in the Wesley Snipes version of The Fan. Live video replay on the Jumbotron (which is not allowed), video of arguments between players or brawls (also not allowed), a player getting his number assigned on Opening Day (numbers are assigned during Spring Training), the climactic scene occurring at a baseball game played during a monsoon... it would be easier to list what the movie got right. Such things do NOT include the long shot featuring a batter from BOTH teams warming up in their respective on-deck circles, and then later showing Snipes's character go directly from the dugout to the batter's box. When Tony Scott was setting up to film that climactic scene, practically the entire cast and crew was loudly pointing out that baseball is just not played in the rain. He didn't care, saying he liked the drama it created.
  • In the 1963 Disney film Son of Flubber, Professor Brainard comes up with an ingenious way to help the local high school football team win: he'll fill up a player's uniform with his new discovery, "flubber gas", to make him light and buoyant. The other players, instead of passing just the ball, will throw him with the ball, so even if he is tackled, the team will retain possession of the ball. The only problem with such a ploy? It's illegal. Rule 17 section 6 of the official football rulebook, passed in 1910, specifically outlaws players on the offensive team from pushing, pulling, or holding the player carrying the ball. Nobody in the film, including the referees, seem to be aware of this.
  • Similarly, in its predecessor The Absent-Minded Professor, the same flubber gives basketball players shoes that allows them to take gigantic leaps. Unfortunately, by making several leaps in a row (as they do), without passing or dribbling the ball, they would be immediately called for travelling. Unlike a lot of the examples on this page, the opposing coach does realize that Medfield's game techniques are far from kosher, and complains about it loudly to the referee... whose only response is "Ain't no rule says one team can't jump higher than the other!" But using artificial aids to jump higher can be called, certainly under "any equipment that is designed to increase a player's height or reach or in any other way give an unfair advantage is not permitted." Possibly as a technical foul under "sportsmanship and fair play", or because referees "have the power to make decisions on any point not specifically covered by these rules." Also happens in the re-make Flubber.
  • The movie It Happens Every Spring is about a college professor who discovers a wood-repellent compound and uses this discovery to become a successful major league pitcher. The movie never addresses the fact that applying any kind of foreign substance to the ball is cheating of the most blatant variety: his pitches would qualify as a spitball, which was banned by Major League Baseball in 1920. Even more surprisingly, none of the umpires or opposing players seem the least bit suspicious of all the physics-defying things that the professor's pitches do.
  • The Waterboy:
    • After it's discovered that the coach forged Bobby Boucher's high-school transcript to get him on the team, making him an ineligible player, the NCAA allows Bobby to still play in the team's bowl game if he passes a high school equivalency exam. In reality, not only would the NCAA not allow that, the whole team would have been forbidden to play in the game, would have had to forfeit back all its wins on the season and probably would have been banned from future bowl games and lost several scholarships for a few years.
    • Bobby at one point also assaults the quarterback of the team he's working for as waterboy (albeit with a good form tackle, but he still wasn't in the game), dropkicks an opposing player during play, and attacks a college professor during class. Any one of these actions would probably result in a player being suspended/expelled indefinitely in real life, but Bobby doesn't get so much as a slap on the wrist.
  • Not sports, but Game Shows: Slumdog Millionaire changes brutally how Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? works for the sake of drama (the show is not live, but recorded in studio some days before the actual broadcast — which is why they reread the hotline question on the phone and have a time limit on it; the hotline is never directed to a mobile number, to prevent connection troubles, and for the same reason it's never issued directly when the contestant asks for it; the call is first made in the very moment the contestant begins his round and it's then kept live — but soundless — until the contestant calls for the hotline). And players retain the right to walk away after hearing the question and even after using lifelines (except Double Dip, which was not even used in this version).
  • Played with in that a common way that authors get around this trope is to create their own league or tournament that is a lot like a well-known real world event, but technically isn't. One example is Blades of Glory. Critics point out the errors made in the rules points system for Pairs Figure Skating in the Winter Olympics except that these aren't the Winter Olympics, they're the "World Winter Sports Games."
  • The Mighty Ducks:
    • District Five takes the ice in its first game wearing a smattering of used or inappropriate pads (like a football helmet). Every league for kids mandates proper helmets with full face cages and they would never be allowed to take the ice that way.
    • Later, Gordon tries to get Conway to take a dive and fake an injury in order to draw a penalty. Conway gets pinned to the boards, but refuses to act hurt. Amusingly, in that scene you can see the other player's stick jammed up under Conway's face mask, which is a legitimate penalty.
    • The Flying V just avoids being illegal provided that A. The players pass the puck forward after crossing the blue line, and B. The players ahead of the puck don't initiate contact with a defender for interference. It would still be a really stupid formation in real life, however, as all the defense has to do is gang up on the lead man to either steal the puck or force the V offside (which is exactly what Iceland did in D2).
    • The Ducks' win over the Huskies in the final game of the regular season gave them a playoff spot. If that happened to be the 8th seed, they should have faced the top-seeded Hawks in the first round - the most likely case given that there are 10 teams in the league (going by the chalkboard standings and district map in Hans' shop), it's stated all but two make the playoffs (one of these are the Panthers, who forfeited their remaining games due to measles), and the overall poor record of the Ducks at 1 win, 12 losses, and 1 tienote .
  • D2: The Mighty Ducks
    • One of the players gets a penalty for "roping." Um, what about the fact there were too many players on the ice? Or a game misconduct penalty for leaving the bench? Lampshaded a bit—the announcer did say, "Two minutes for... roping? That's a new one on me." Dwayne also went onto the ice without his helmet, gloves or stick and was carrying a non-hockey-related instrument (the rope). Considering the sheer number of rules he was breaking at once, it's surprising he wasn't ejected.
    • The big heel team is the noted ice hockey power of Iceland. In spite of the country's name, Iceland is not a hockey powerhouse in real life.
    • D2 also has them playing Trinidad and Tobago whose team is on the movie poster and DVD cover. Trinidad and Tobago does not have an ice hockey team.
    • In the final shootout...never mind that Russ switched places with Goldberg to get the shot at the end of the game, which involved him wearing goalie equipment, but under ANY circumstances, nobody can take off their helmet while on the ice any more!
    • In the final shootout to decide the tournament winner of D2, neither Fulton's nor Gunnar Stahl's penalty shots should have counted as they both clearly come to a complete stop and then shoot. During a shootout or penalty shot, the puck must always move forward.
    • During the film the Ducks' star player Adam gets injured when an opposing player deliberately hits him with his stick on his arm that was exposed after he removed his glove. The film treats this as slashing, a common penalty where a player swings their stick at an opposing player. In reality, deliberately using a heavy overhead swing with your stick is not only a much stiffer penalty, it legally qualifies as assault. A similar real-life incident in the NHL in 2000 by Marty McSorley netted him an assault with a weapon conviction by the British Columbia Provincial Court (carrying with it an 18-month probation) and a year-long suspension from the NHL.
  • Pretty much every instance of body contact shown in Slap Shot would be an obvious interference penalty.
  • David Mamet's Redbelt features a very antiquated and ill-informed version of Mixed Martial Arts.
    • The main character is offered a chance to fight on the undercard of an event for a flat $50,000, though real fight purses are divided into a "show purse" for fighting and a "win purse" awarded if the fighter wins.
    • The plot revolves around the concept of implementing randomly-assigned handicaps before each bout, which would never fly in the real world. Athletic commissions are very strict about ensuring that fighters can adequately defend themselves.
    • The promoters state that the whole point of the handicap gimmick is to make the handicapped fighter lose, allowing them to fix the fights. If every fight was determined by a randomly-assigned handicap, no one would bother watching. It defeats the entire point of athletic competition. This is to say nothing about how unlikely it would be that gamblers and gambling institutions would ever buy the chicanery in the first place.
  • Nacho Libre takes a great many liberties with professional wrestling. Obviously, the most glaring issue is that it presents wrestling as real and not staged, but this can be forgiven for the sake of the plot. However, certain basic rules in professional wrestling (even in kayfabe) are ignored. For example, to finish one match, the hero receives a tombstone piledriver, a move which is illegal in most of Mexico, where the story is set. In the climax of the film, he even pins his opponent... outside the ring. While there are special matches that allow pinning anywhere, this was an ordinary match, yet he does not pin his opponent in the ring. Rule of Cool doesn't even really apply here, as while the reason his opponent was outside the ring in the first place was so the hero could perform a physics defying dive attack from the turnbuckle, there's no reason he couldn't have thrown his dazed opponent into the ring to pin him legally.
    • Under traditional lucha libre rules, tampering with an opponent's mask before making the pin results in an automatic forfeit. Nacho should have won at least two matches that way.
  • The film Agent For Harm features a character heading to the "judo range". The film is best known for appearing on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Mike and the Bots tell her to grab her aikido rifle.
  • Unlike other films in The Love Bug series, the last race of Herbie Fully Loaded takes place in what is, if not NASCAR itself, then a clearly NASCAR-like organization. Assuming Team Peyton could get permission to race a Volkswagen (not likely, given the time frame), Herbie is clearly A) Too old, B) (to the naked eye) has no racing modifications, C) possesses NO safety gear (Restraint harness? Roll cage? Nope!). Herbie shouldn't have even been allowed to pass a cursory pre-race inspection.
    • Lampshaded, as one of the race announcers states that someone must have performed some kind of Loophole Abuse, but even then Herbie could have only qualified as an honorary pace car.
  • In the 1994 Disney version of Angels in the Outfield, during the climactic final game, announcer Ranch Wilder says the Chicago White Sox will have the "heart of the order" - which usually refers to the team's 3-4-5 hitters - leading off the ninth inning against the Angels. Kit Keezy ends up being the sixth batter in the inning, which would mean he was eighth in the lineup. Not the most likely spot for the Sox to place the guy who's leading the league in RBI. In fact, had the script called for Wilder to say the "bottom" of the lineup - the 7-8-9 hitters - that would have put Keezy in the more likely 3 spot.
  • 2004's Mr. 3000 is about a baseball player who retires immediately after getting his 3,000th hit. Years later, it's discovered that due to a clerical error, he actually has only 2,997 hits. Everyone acts as though this completely torpedoes his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame. In actuality, nearly every player with at least 2,800 hits has been elected to the Hall in their first year of eligibility, usually by a comfortable margin.
    • Though the film points out that it was more of his bad attitude, as he had been retired 15 years before the error was discovered, plenty of time to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.note  He's inducted after getting 2,999 because he simply sacrifices his last at bat to help his team rather than getting hit number 3000.
  • The 2005 film Fever Pitch gets pretty much everything wrong in its climactic scene: No one would've been scalping tickets in the eighth inning (and virtually every stadium closes off attendance after the first several innings), Lindsey somehow survives a feet-first 30 foot fall from Fenway's "Triangle" wall, is shown on TV running on the field (TV broadcasts are mandated not to show fans running on the field, in order to discourage that type of behavior), and is allowed to carry a brief conversation with Ben before being taken away by security (apparently, Talking Is a Free Action at Fenway Park).
  • The 2012 Clint Eastwood film Trouble with the Curve quickly became notorious in baseball circles for its highly unrealistic portrait of baseball scouting and player development. Sportswriter Joe Posnanski has an entry on his blog detailing the many errors and improbabilities in the movie.
  • The Bring It On films stand as an example here for the ubiquitous artistic licence used in just about any fictional work about high school cheerleading. Firstly, for the sake of Fanservice, the costumes are usually stomach-baring or even more Stripperiffic, which is not allowed in high school cheerleading.note Secondly, for extra spectacle, the routines often feature elements like pyramids, throws and trampoline-assisted leaps which are banned in high-school cheerleading as excessively dangerous.
  • Granted, the Disney Channel movie HE Double Hockey Sticks already takes creative liberties by featuring two fictitious NHL teams in the Delaware Demons and Annapolis Angels. Still, assuming the movie refers to Annapolis, Maryland, those teams would not face each other for the Stanley Cup since they would both be placed in the NHL's Eastern Conference (and most likely the same division) due to their geographic proximity.
  • It would probably be faster to list everything about baseball the 1994 film The Scout got right, than to break down its impressive list of factual errors. However some key points:
    • First of all, a scout is just that: goes around scouting talent and reporting back to the team. This could be either an advance scout who watches opposing teams to help the manager establish his strategy against an upcoming opponent, and scouts analyzing prospects or free agents on whether the team should consider approaching them. He would not himself be the go-between for signing players, which would instead involve the team's owners and either the prospect or his agent.
    • The young pitcher at the start of the film, Tommy Lacy, as a kid with no professional experience, would never have jumped right into the Major Leagues unless the team's ownership and management was utterly incompetent or dangerously impatient to see a return on the signing. He would have been started in the Minor Leagues first, and played his way up through the farm system precisely because of his unknown quality (in Real Life, highly-touted prospects more often than not fizzle out before they even reach the Majors).
    • After the bidding war on Steve Nebraska, the other teams are able to force an agreement that he can only pitch if the Yankees make the World Series, which Al later promises to Steve he doesn't have to pitch until the World Series. Not only do the other teams not have a say to begin with, but the rules of Major League Baseball would have made Nebraska ineligible to pitch in the postseason anyway, as he must be on (a) the active 25-man roster (b) the disabled list, (c) the bereavement list, or (d) the suspended list before September 1, and must appear in at least one regular season game in order to be eligible for postseason play.
    • The game at the climax is played in Yankee Stadium, an American League ballpark. The American League has the Designated Hitter rule, in which the pitcher does not bat. The rule does allow teams to waive their DH and allow the pitcher to bat instead, but this almost never happens. No team has intentionally waived their right to start a DH in a regular season game since 1976note , and it's never happened in a postseason game.
  • In Hoodlum, a scene is introduced with the title card "December 1934" and then shows Dutch Schultz listening to a Yankees game in his office. In those days, the baseball season was always finished by the second week of October, and it has never extended into December.
  • Deliberately invoked in Rudy. In real life, it was all Dan Devine's decision to let Rudy play in Notre Dame's final game of the year. But it was also the real life Devine's suggestion that his fictional counterpart be the one holding Rudy back in the movie and instead make the other players stand up for him.
  • Warrior gets a lot right about Mixed Martial Arts, but still takes liberties. For example, one character very obviously gets his arm broken in the middle of a bout, but continues to fight on. In reality, getting your arm broken would result in an immediate stoppage, no matter how much you want to continue fighting.
  • In All the Marbles with Peter Falk, women's wrestling apparently is as un-fake as the Superbowl results.
  • The movie version of Arsenic and Old Lace opens with a scene of a fight breaking out during a Yankees-Dodgers game...on Halloween. While it's technically possible nowadays for the World Series to stretch into October 31 and beyond, such a thing would have been unheard-of in The Forties.
  • The Karate Kid Part III: Snake's fouls on Danny in the final showdown were so blatant and close together, even the most lenient ref would've disqualified him halfway through the match.
  • It's a well-known fact that The Love Guru star/producer/writer Mike Myers is a big hockey fan, so the many egregious errors in the sport's portrayal - like the referee handing out on-the-spot game suspensions, goalies wearing outdated Friday the 13th style plastic masks and Guru Pitka having free access to the Toronto bench - can be put down as Rule Of (allegedly) Funny.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen vehicle Switching Goals is a movie about soccer that manages to get many basics of the sport wrong. It is shown to allow time-outs, have plays (like in American football), the game ends as soon as the clock reaches zero (and the clock is indeed counting down) with the end signaled by a hockey-style honk, shoving another player when you're the one in possession of the ball isn't counted as a foul (in a kids' game no less!), one goalie isn't wearing gloves and a tournament final ends in a draw.
    • The last two are actually Accidentally Accurate. Goalies are not required to wear gloves; they wear them to have a better grip on the ball and to prevent hand injuries, but technically, they can play without them.note  Also, when a tournament game is decided on penalties, it technically counts as a draw for both teams.
  • Bullfighting is really toned down in The Book of Life. In real life, the bull is weakened by picadors who jab spears into his neck to weaken him so that the matador can further weaken him with the capote, with the goal of tiring him so much that he's forced to expose his lungs for the killing blow; here, the bull and the matador enter together.
  • Ace Ventura has one that crosses with Artistic License History (and maybe Writers Cannot Do Math). A plot point is a 1984 AFC Championship ring. Yet while the resulting Super Bowl that year was Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers, that was Super Bowl XIX, despite the film referring to it as XVII (which the Dolphins also lost, only to the Washington Redskins, not the 49ers). Also, Miami never lost by a last second field goal in either game; that was based on the last-second kick missed by Scott Norwood of the Buffalo Bills is Super Bowl XXV. (Granted, Norwood never lived down missing that kick, but thankfully, he didn't take things nearly as far as Ray Finkle does in this movie.)
  • Bull Durham: Early in the film Nuke is said to have compiled 18 strikeouts and 18 walks in his first start. This would require a mathematical minimum of 126 pitches (already a high count for a rookie in the minors) and in reality probably more than 200 pitches (an absurdly high number).
  • 42: While mostly true to the sport, some license was used with the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Green Street: Occurs when Pete takes Matt to see West Ham play against Birmingham City at Upton Park. The team shown in the film was not Birmingham City (which would have been wearing blue-and-white kits) but rather Gillingham, a team which wore the blue and black hoops during the 2003-2004 season. Moreover, since Birmingham City and West Ham were in different divisions during the 2003-2004 season (Birmingham in the Premier League, West Ham in the Championship), it would have been impossible for the two clubs to play league games against each other during that season.
  • Major League: In the second movie, Cerrano kills a bird with a swing; he goes into the outfield to mourn the bird and has to be tagged out. In Major League Baseball rules, he's out once he abandons his effort to run to the next base. Also only eight spots in the batting order, not nine, elapse between Taylor's groundout in the 7th inning and his bunt single in the 9th.
  • Million Dollar Baby:During the title bout, the Blue Bear commits several fouls that would result in immediate automatic disqualification in a real boxing match, but only receives warnings and/or point deductions for them.
  • Speedy: The Yankees are playing at home, but the scoreboard on the street (as well as the impromptu line score Harold makes with doughnuts) has them batting in the top of the inning.
  • The Natural: The New York Knights somehow are batting in the bottom of the inning in Chicago despite being the visiting team.
  • Varsity Blues: In two games, Mox hits an obnoxious mascot on the sideline with the ball after the snap. The film treats this as a clever way to stop the clock (i.e. spike the ball). In reality, this would be ruled as intentional grounding and would result in a loss of a down and ten yards.
  • 1992 movie starring Tom Selleck Mr. Baseball, the final climax involves the main character coming to bat with his team down one run and with bases loaded, two outs. He bunts after receiving two strikes against him, then pushes over a fielder while running to first base before he can get the force out, allowing two runs to score and his team to win the game. The former, bunting with two strikes, is legal, but an extremely risky play that goes against all common sense since a foul ball would mean a third strike, and a third out. note  However, outright shoving the fielder would be called interference, resulting in Selleck's character being called out by the umpire and no score. Not to mention that the first baseman is somehow completely absent from the bag he's supposed to be defending, necessitating the pitcher race the runner to it instead of a simple throw to him.
  • Notably averted in Necessary Roughness with regards to Paul Blake's eligibility clock. He never actually went to college, so his clock did not start (it starts with your first semester and lasts four years afterwards, only stopping if you're "red-shirted"; that is, voluntarily held out a year). Several older football players have taken advantage of this rule (most notably Chris Weinke and Brandon Weeden). Most of the players who take advantage of the rule started out going straight into minor league baseball out of high school; though this makes them ineligible to play baseball in college, they can play football just fine. Most of the rest were enlisted military men (with officers playing for the military academies).
    • Played straight in the scene where Samurai clobbers half the opposing offense with his martial arts skills. The ref gives up trying to tally all the penalties he racks up and just calls "15 yards, first down" - though he gives up less because he lost track of the penalties and more because he lost the thread in describing the moves Samurai used. In a real game, the ref goes straight to "Personal Foul, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Defense." And Samurai would've been ejected before he even announced the penalty.
  • Cool Runnings - Oh boy:
    • The Switzerland bobsleigh is shown has having "Schweiz"note  painted along the side, instead of "Suisse"note , the one the Swiss teams traditionally use.
    • The competition is shown has being decided on three runs over three days, rather than four runs over two days.
    • Each sport in the Winter Olympics is organised by their respective world governing body, rather than the "International Alliance of Winter Sports".

    Literature 
  • The Black Stallion. Another one of those cases where something was within the rules when it was made, but not now... except it's a Long Runner, and the series kept following the obsolete rule. The rule in question? Allowing a "Mystery Horse" (i.e. a horse of uncertain breed) such as Black to enter a special match race that had been arranged between two champion racehorses, Cyclone and Sun Raider. Match races (Real Life examples include Seabiscuit vs War Admiral, Man o' War vs Sir Barton, Swaps vs. Nashua) weren't run under normal race rules. The Black later gets an identity and is glossed over as being admitted to the Jockey Club stud book (implausible, as it's a closed book, but not completely impossible—Thoroughbreds are descended from three Arab and Barb foundation stallions and if the Black were real a very strong argument could be made for his being a new foundation sire) and sires offspring on Thoroughbred mares. A problem of The Film of the Book is Alec throwing away his 'disguise' helmet. If the race had the same weight rules as regular racing, he just disqualified himself as he'd come up too light on the re-weigh jockeys must do AFTER a race, to make sure they're not cheating.
  • In Edward Bloor's "Tangerine", one of the climactic moments features protagonist and goalie Paul Fisher needing to stop a last second penalty kick so that his team will tie their rival and his former team, winning the league in the process. It's a fairly uplifting idea with one small problem: it completely gets wrong the way soccer leagues are scored. See, Paul's team is undefeated whereas the other team is undefeated but has played one more game during the season; the additional game ended in a tie. The problem? According to the scoring rules for soccer leagues, the winner is the team with the most points at the end of the season, not just the highest winning percentage. Since a tie is worth one point and a win is worth three, Paul's team needs to win, not tie, in order to win the league. And to make matters worse, they could have done this if they had just had the climactic penalty kick occur with Paul's team up by one goal. But of course that would be less dramatic...
  • In another Gordon Korman book, The Chicken Doesn't Skate, the book's junior high hockey team has a player unload a slap shot the sails 20 feet over the goal, hits a balcony, busts a light on the scoreboard, and drops back down near center ice for the opposing team to take it and score. Uh, no. Even accepting the physics-defying speed and distance the puck goes, it would have been whistled dead once it cleared the boundaries of the ice.
  • Avalon High in the movie adaptation, despite what's depicted, you can not run a blocked extra point back for a touchdown (a blocked PAT attempt would count as a saftey - two points).
  • The Man Who Brought The Dodgers Back To Brooklyn:
    • When Bobby signs Ruthie to the team, she immediately joins the main Dodgers roster. In modern baseball, rookies — especially unknown pitchers with no professional experience — typically go through the minor leagues before hitting the majors.
    • Bobby would also have had to contend with the MLB's ban on women, which was still in effect when the book was written. The book didn't address the issue whatsoever.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One Kirk bowling episode, "The Spare", has so many faults that even casual bowlers are screaming at the television. For instance, mistaking a 6-pin for a 10-pin; all four members of a team bowling one game together (usually they bowl games separately); one team is leading by one pin before the ninth, and all of a sudden in the 10th that team needs three strikes to win, even when the other team got two gutter balls in the ninth. Perhaps this example would've been shorter if we had listed the stuff about bowling they got right.
    • The 'one game together' might just be writed off as some weird variant of Scotch Double, where two players play a game together, one playing firstball, and the other the second, until a strike is made where they switch
    • Also, in recent years the variant of a five-player team bowling one game together has been the go-to variant for high-school and college bowling competitions. But it would not have been nearly as popular in the mid-'90s, when Kirk aired.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • In the opening host segment for Alien from L.A., Mike is trying to teach the Bots Blackjack. Crow "hits" on two decks worth of cards, all without even looking at his cards. Even though, under some rules, you can go as high as eight hits (which is the most you can statistically draw before going over 21note ), the standard rule is three (a "5-Card Charlie" is holding five cards without busting, counting as an automatic win for the player).
    • In the opening for Red Zone Cuba, Mike and The Bots are playing "high stakes" bingo and Magic Voice calls out "B-37." On standard Bingo cards, B holds numbers 1-15. 37 would be under "N".
  • Cricket enthusiast Aaron Sorkin included in Sports Night a line that in an Test (International) match, one of the bowlers had achieved the remarkable feat of taking all 10 wickets in a single innings (a feat only achieved twice in history - Jim Laker in 1956 and Anil Kumble in 1999), and compared it to a baseball pitcher throwing "3 straight perfect games." Whether that comparison is valid, the professional sports commentators can't understand how the bowler could have conceded any runs while doing this (which would be, in cricketing terms, a virtually miraculous occurrence). Even with absolutely no knowledge of the rules of cricket, you'd presume they'd realise that the standards of scoring in the two games were rather different.
  • In the Wings episode "The Team Player", Antonio, temporarily running the Sandpiper counter while Joe and Brian are away at a Bruins hockey game, causes the Bruins' star player, Danny "Dead End" Connelly, to miss the game. The wrath of all of Massachusetts descends on Joe and Brian, but the airline is saved from disaster when the hockey star abruptly leaves the team to sign a huge contract with their rivals. In what sporting league is one able to walk out on one's contract and immediately join a rival in the middle of the season? Not the NHL, at least.
    • Not to mention for every pissed-off fan, there would've been two who would've ridiculed him for playing the "Do you know who I am?" card.
    • And on top of that, if it was that close to game time, shouldn't he have been at the arena already? If such a thing happened in the real world, the sports media would have been chewing him out mercilessly.
    • In "Blackout Buggins", the group goes to Fenway Park to watch Roy sing the national anthem. After Roy finishes the song, a Red Sox player with the name Casey on his jersey is seen taking the field. The Red Sox have never featured player names on the back of their home jerseys.
  • Seinfeld:
    • "The Wink". After a promise to a sick child that Paul O'Neill will hit two home runs doesn't work out as planned, Kramer pacifies the child by promising that in the next game, O'Neill will catch a fly ball in his hat. This would be an incredibly stupid thing for O'Neill to do; intentionally touching the ball with a piece of equipment other than his glove is illegal for a fielder to do and would result in the batter automatically being given three bases.
    • Another Seinfeld example comes from the episode where Jerry dates an Olympic gymnast expecting acrobatic sex and being disappointed when the sex turns out to be extremely ordinary. After the encounter, Jerry describes his disappointment to Elaine saying that he expected her to use him as the apparatus. Elaine asks, "You mean like the uneven parallel bars? Or the balance beam? Not... the pommel horse?" This might explain why Jerry found the sex disappointing; his girlfriend would have no experience using a pommel horse since that particular apparatus only appears in men's gymnastics.
  • Sex and the City features an episode in which a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is purchased because it has "one leg shorter than the others" and shown at a Westminster-like dog show in that episode and without training, while in heat. There's a lot wrong here, starting with the fact that estrous is an immediate disqualification from dog shows. The idea that an unevenly hocked dog with no prior experience, an amateur handler and a disqualifying (as well as obvious and terribly disruptive to the other dogs) medical condition could win any sort of legitimate major dog show is as accurate as saying Carrie Bradshaw could enlist and play for the NFL. The only thing remotely justifying about it is that the judge was enamored with the handler- but even that wouldn't have helped her get all the way to the show ring.
    • Another episode had the four attending a Yankees game. When they take a visit to the locker room afterward, one unnamed player is seen wearing jersey number 9. The Yankees retired that number for Roger Maris.
      • That probably was not done on purpose in this case, but there's valid reason to avoid giving a fictitious player a number used by a real one. See also 555.
      • They might have used #42, since it's been retired throughout the Major Leagues for Jackie Robinson, but the Yankees' roster also contained Mariano Rivera, the last player still playing to wear #42 before the number was universally retired.
  • In the Even Stevens episode "Head Games," Alan Twitty enters a baseball game as a relief pitcher. Coming straight from the dugout, he immediately steps on the mound and the game instantly resumes. Regardless of level of play, baseball never works like this. Pitchers always warm up by throwing several practice pitches off to the side before entering the game (in college and professional leagues, this is the bullpen, but many little league and high schools teams just use an open field that's out of the way), and are then allowed several more warmup pitches while on the mound. Throwing a baseball hard repeatedly is one of the most risky and injurious things you can do to your body and should only be done once the arm muscles have been properly exercised and loosened. Not doing so can easily cause you to permanently damage your arm. Obviously, this is also an example of The Law of Conservation of Detail.
    • Which is why when a relief pitcher comes into the game due to an injury or ejection (i.e., the only situations wherein you would bring in a reliever without first warming him up), he is given as many warm-up pitches as he wants, as opposed to the 8 normally allotted when a relief pitcher comes in or at the start of an inning.
  • Saturday Night Live was guilty of this in a 2013 sketch featuring host Melissa McCarthy as Sheila Kelly, the aggressively abusive womens' basketball coach at fictional NCAA Division III school Middle Delaware State (parodying former Rutgers mens' coach Mike Rice). In an interview clip, the school's athletic director tries to defend her behavior by pointing out that the players are receiving a free education via athletic scholarships. Division III institutions are prohibited from giving out athletic scholarships (in fact, that's the main distinction between Division III and the other two divisions.)
  • In the original series Doctor Who episode "The Curse of Fenric", the Doctor has perplexed Eldritch Abomination Fenric with a chess puzzle the being cannot solve. The solution is accidentally provided by the Doctor's companion Ace, the black and white pawns must work together! This is presented as a solution that Fenric, by his nature, could not comprehend. In reality, it's a solution that nobody who understands chess could comprehend. note 
    • The Doctor all but confirms this. He defeated Fenric using chess puzzles the first time they met. It is implied that he cheated then as well, counting on Fenric not to realize that in the Doctors case Good Is Not Nice.
  • In the "Stealing Home" episode of White Collar, everything about the heist during a Yankees game pretty much seems to be fine, until you see the date of the check handed to Neal, dated "3/7/12." Unless it was backdated, regular season games at the earliest start in late March, and normally at the beginning of April.
  • The Glee episode "Preggers" gives us the notorious "All the Single Ladies" football play. In real life, a play like that would get flagged for false start, delay of game, illegal formation, playing music over the sound system while the play clock was running and illegal motion (more than one person moving before the snap).
  • A critical plot development in the second season of The Newsroom takes place during an interview with a subject who is obsessed with March Madness, college basketball's post-season tournament. A character even uses the game clock later to figure out that the interview tape was edited. However, the actual game being played on the background TV is a 2011 regular season game between Kentucky and Florida (perhaps as a nod to Florida alum Stephen Root, who played the character being interviewed). The game was played at Kentucky, while March Madness games take place at neutral sites.
  • Occurs twice during Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, both in the case of Ronny's being a racing driver. During her introduction, she is shown winning the Italian Grand Prix (a Formula 1 race)... in a NASCAR car. For anyone not familiar with Formula 1, this is functionally equivalent to winning the Indy 500 in a milk float made of concrete. It doesn't happen. However, it gets worse: during the episode Once A Ranger, Ronny is shown winning the Monaco Grand Prix. Not only is pretty much the exact same shot with a different subtitle and attendant concrete milk float error (perhaps inevitable due to budget restrictions and the thematic context of the episode), in doing so it uses the same strip of tarmac in the middle of an ocean of grass that looked almost nothing like Imola to begin with. The Monaco Grand Prix takes place on a street circuit.
  • Mysterious Ways: There are a few very basic errors when Declan and Peggy go bowling in "Spirit Junction."
    • First, Peggy asks why Declan didn't get bowling shoes, and he replies, "That's a long story." Bowling shoes are required because street shoes scuff up the lanes, and they were the only ones in the alley so it's not like he could have slipped through the cracks.
    • Second, Peggy says it's her turn again after Declan makes one throw. A frame of bowling consists of two attempts to knock down the pins, unless you knock them all down on the first throw (for a strike).
    • Third, Declan keeps throwing gutterballs before throwing a strike by complete chance. However, he falls completely into the lane in the process, so the strike wouldn't count, as it's a foul if any part of your body crosses the foul line.
  • Haven:The Red Sox and Yankees finished a game in which the Red Sox overcome a 10 run deficit before noon. Even the Patriots' Day game in April starts at 10-11 a.m. Not technically impossible, but highly improbable, since non-high-scoring games between the two teams run 3-4 hours. The point is that plot-wise, Audrey uses her foreknowledge of it to prevent people from dying and stop the "Groundhog Day" Loop, which alphabetically, is very close to this trope.
  • In the beach volleyball episode of Death in Paradise, much of "volleyball game" shown is blatantly not legal play.
  • In Daredevil, there's the career of Matt Murdock's father, "Battlin' Jack". The mob has arranged for him to take dives in several of his matches, including the one he got killed over because he refused to lose to Carl "The Crusher" Creel. Here's the thing, no boxer of any repute has a losing record. "Battlin' Jack" is said to have a losing record, yet the posters on the walls at Fogwell's Gym show him headlining major events, and he's still fighting televised matches against notable boxers, even being paid to take a dive. Real journeymen boxers, the kind with losing records, fight in obscurity, matched against other no-names or young prospects looking for easy victories before becoming a name. There would be no point in bribing a journeyman to take a dive, because they're expected to lose against anyone of note.

    Music 
  • "The Ballad of Fizzball McCann" by Greg Champion (who really should have known better) lists one too many fielders in McCann's field setup (no wicket-keeper was mentioned, although a Cricket side playing without a wicket-keeper would be just as odd).
  • Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" has the line "2-3 the count, with nobody on, he hit a high fly into the stands..." That should actually be "3-2 the count", since 2-3 would mean the titular BEHM had struck out, thus not hitting anything.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • It's very rare for Professional Wrestling to be portrayed as anything less than 100% real in fiction. In fact, many wrestling movies even feature the hero's refusal to take a dive to satisfy a shady promoter as a pivotal plot point. This may have been forgivable back in the day, when the average film or TV show's "Technical Consultant" would be trying to uphold Kayfabe, but in the modern day, when even Vince McMahon himself admits it to be staged, one might think to take a look at the world behind the curtain...
    • Of particular note here is an episode of Quantum Leap in which Sam leaps into the body of a wrestler playing a Foreign Wrestling Heel Russian; in this episode, it's confidently declared that wrestling actually is staged — except for the title matches, and Sam and his partner's refusal to take a dive in a tag-team title match is the main conflict of the episode.
    • In Forrest Gump (the novel), Forrest spends some time as a professional wrestler during a time when the fact that wrestling is staged is a carefully guarded secret. He's supposed to lose an important match, but a friend of his tells Forrest to break the script and try to win for real so they can make money on a bet. And actually, this is a fairly accurate description of how wrestling worked back in the day, as some wrestlers would "go into business for themselves"; usually, though, this was for higher stakes than just a bet, as it tended to get a wrestler blackballed.
    • Subverted, oddly enough, in an episode of Family Matters—a series of unfortunate events lead Carl and Steve to replace the Psycho Twins (including dressing in their costumes) in a match against The Bushwhackers. While they do take liberties—wrestlers exchanging friendly jokes and commentary isn't unheard of, but except in certain character-based situations they wouldn't shout it across the ring at each other—the Bushwhackers are portrayed as guys doing a job, and they're impressed at how Carl and Steve are doing well for "a couple of blokes off the street". However, when Steve mentions that Carl's a cop, suddenly It's Personal and the Bushwhackers stop pulling their punches, looking to actually hurt them. That this would get them suspended at the least if they were the top wrestler in the company and related to the boss isn't brought up afterward.
    • On the other hand, to perpetuate the "Wrestling is real" phenomenon, whenever someone yells "Wrestling is Fake" in a TV show, rest assured any wrestler who hears it will wade into the crowd and show him just how "fake" it is. Apparently blatant assault with hundreds to thousands of witnesses is pretty casual. Unless the guy's a plant...
      • Also, many more extreme professional wrestlers do take offense to people calling it "fake" because it implies they aren't actually doing their impressive stunts. Yes, the matches are played up to look a lot more like real fights, and the winner is often pre-determined, but as Mick Foley would point out, there is no way to "fake" jumping twenty feet through a table covered in thumbtacks.
    • This is totally inverted by the fandom. Browse through the wrestling section at fanfiction.net and compare how much of it is based on Kayfabe to how much of it is basically Real Person Fic.
    • Naturally averted in The Wrestler, where Kayfabe at the lower levels of the game is quite accurately portrayed—and celebrated (sort of), being presented as its own kind of art, which Mickey Rourke's character is only too happy to risk his life for.
    • One ot the most consistent errors in any TV or movie reference to professional wrestling is the frequent use of a move called a "piledriver" (often with the out of place modifier of "flying" or "atomic" piledriver) which never used for the actual wrestling move of that name. One particular example came in the movie of George of the Jungle where he anounces a move as an "atomic piledriver" which is quite clearly an elbow drop.
      • It's especially interesting since the actual piledriver, where a wrestler is picked up, held upside down, then his opponent drops to the ground, appearing to spike his head into the mat, is outright banned in most companies since, while it can be done safely, there is a high risk for head and neck damage should anything go wrong. The only real exception to the rule in WWE is The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver, which hangs around because of a Grandfather Clause and because Taker has a two-decade track record proving he can do the move safely (and likely because the Undertaker's age has guaranteed he only works part-time now.)
    • One case that's surprisingly accurate happens in Married... with Children; Bud dresses up as the "Bumblebee" in order to sneak himself and Kelly backstage of a wrestling event. Eventually Bud ends up in what's obviously supposed to be a Squash Match against real life pro wrestler King Kong Bundy. King Kong is initially polite to Bud and agrees to go easy on him when he notices how nervous he is. Unfortunately, Bud ends up tripping in the ring and accidentally trying to to pin Bundy when his back is turned, leading Bundy to think Bud was playing a fast one at which point he proceeds to completely demolish him.

    Video Games 
  • There are several things odd about the boxing in Punch-Out!!. To begin with, the series seem to have no concept of weight divisions, which results in the comparatively scrawny Glass Joe being in the same group as Fat Bastard King Hippo. And then there are characters like Hoy Quarlow who use weapons.
    • Similar to the Blades of Glory and Speed Racer examples above, the World Video Boxing Association is under no compulsion to obey standard boxing rules.
  • Blitz: The League. The entire game is devoted to the Rule of Cool, at the expense of any pretense of realism (are there any referees?). However, in this case, it is something of a Justified Trope, as the series' makers are on record calling the NFL the "No Fun League" for forcing their licensed football titles to be squeaky-clean in terms of content, which pretty much forbids developers from even alluding to any of the shadier aspects of American Football culture. When EA got exclusive rights to the NFL license, Midway was more than happy to go completely over the top with their latest Blitz title, bringing in notorious ex-linebacker Lawrence Taylor as their spokesman, and hiring the writers of ESPN's controversial hit Playmakers to write the story.
    • In fact, BTL actually was a Playmakers licensed game, until the NFL forced ESPN to kill the show. Also, take in mind that Blitz was not the first time Midway made a Ain't No Rule style sports game: Arch Rivals is one of their earlier attempts at the genre, which they then followed with the popular NBA Jam series.
  • Practically all licensed sports titles avert this trope, due to their focus on providing the most realistic sports experiences possible for fans of the sport. A few, however, go in a less realistic, more arcade direction, realizing that some players feel that increased accessibility and the Rule of Cool are more important than a simulation experience. Examples include Midway's NBA Ballers games and EA's Street series of sports games. A former licensed example would be Midway's NFL Blitz series (in which piledrivers and suplexes are the standard tackling techniques), until they lost the license to EA.
    • EA Sports' cancelled NBA Elite '11 is one glaring exception. Even when you put aside the visual glitches and gaffes that break the realistic feel, the game has some very fundamental problems with the rules, including one bug that increases the score counter before an attempted shot touches the basket. (This could simply be the game revealing that it had calculated the result of the shot before the graphical representation showed it, but it still breaks immersion badly.)
    • EA's Rugby 08 has several problems (e.g. with the rules too), like scrums going to the wrong team when the ball is unplayable in the ruck, and losing penalty advantage if the ball goes into touch... And other touches such as being able to kick the ball away when expecting a tackle (probably a limitation of the programming but still something one should be able to do). The commentators often seem lacking in insight, despite one of them being an actual former All-black, Grant Fox.
    • EA's NCAA football series (the college-aged sister game of Madden NFL) mistakenly has a hard roster limit, like the NFL. While the NCAA does have limits on the # of scholarships you can disburse and the # of players you can dress for games, the actual team is much larger than this and provides important reserves for training and injuries.
  • The NES ice hockey game Blades of Steel. Apart from milder stuff like doing away with offsides and the two-line pass rule (which was in effect in the NHL when the game was on the market), it has a few hilarious rules: when a fight breaks out (due to routine contact — it was almost impossible to knock a player off the puck without starting a fight), the two players throw down their gloves and duke it out, and then whoever loses the fight is dragged off by the referee for a two-minute penalty while the clock resumes ticking and the play simply continues for the other (presumably gloveless) player where he left off. Also, starting a fight between the faceoff circles in your own zone granted the other team a penalty shot. Again, there was no real other way to play defense.
  • Pretty much all the Mario sports games. One would imagine setting the equipment on fire would be illegal, but it's Mario's standard special move.
  • Just like the Captain Tsubasa case above, many non-western sport games, especially from the 80s, tended to represent England with the Union Jack flag instead of the St. George's Cross, at least in the Japanese versions. For obvious reasons, this was corrected in the translated versions, and that practice died down in the 90s.

    Web Animation 
  • Issue 10 of Teen Girl Squad has a Scotsman caber-tosses Cheerleader and is disgusted that his throw only goes 23 meters. Success in the caber toss is measured by straightness, not distance. The Chaps point out their mistake in the DVD commentary.
    • In Teen Girl Squad Issue 5, Whats-Her-Face is watching Thomas skateboard. He's announced as doing a "360 Shove It to Boneless". A Boneless is an ollie (jump) move, and thus can't be linked to this way.
  • The original Homestar Runner book Where My Hat Is At? had Homestar desperately searching for his hat so he'd be allowed to play in "the Big Game". Upon finally finding it, he arrives at the game "just in time to score the winning run." Being a picture book, it's left as an exercise for the reader what this means, but when it was remade/parodied as a cartoon, the Brothers Chaps explicitly had him just run onto the field and straight into home plate... prompting the umpire to point out that this is absurd and it wasn't even the last inning, before suspending him from the league.
  • Ghoulia has one in an episode of Monster High where she challenges the Dodge Ball team. Using her calculation she drops the ball and kicks it into the ventilation system which shoots it out hitting the walls and hits all the players. Anyone familiar with the game of dodge ball knows full well that if the ball hits anything aside from another person (such as the floor or walls or if said person catches it) the ball is considered out of play and cannot be considered an out, so the ball was out of play just as she dropped the ball. But still the show treats it as if she won.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, the episode "A Leela of Her Own" (parodying the film A League of Their Own), has Leela becoming the first ever female professional Blernsball player, a game that is made out to be the future version of baseball. In the episode, it is mentioned that Leela has pitched 77.0 innings without recording a single out. In baseball, a pitcher is only credited with innings pitched if they record outs. Possibly handwaved, since it is blernsball, not baseball.
    • It's worth noting that Futurama isn't even consistent with its own rules. When blernsball is introduced in "Fear of a Bot Planet," Fry's knowledge of baseball rules and lingo make him seem like an idiot, since none of it is valid for blernsball. But in "A Leela of Their Own," blernsball's rules are almost identical to baseball, and much of the terminology used comes from baseball.
  • South Park While it's largely the point that hockey rules are ignored in "Stanley's Cup", there's one glaring error in the final game: no Red Wings player can wear #9. That number was retired after Gordie Howe left the game.
  • In the W.I.T.C.H. episode "V is for Victory", the writers got certain aspects of a swim meet wrong. All Will needed to do to win the gold was to get a good time in the semifinals (she didn't have to win it), then win the finals. Her coach told that she needed to win the next two races. Furthermore, Will should be in lane 3 or 4 in the finals, as she won the semis (she was in lane 2).
  • It's not clear how The Mighty Ducks haven't gotten reamed out by their league for having no coach, being below a minimum roster requirement, having a goalie in the role of captain, having a player wear #00, and other irregularities. But at least there Ain't No Rule against giant anthropomorphic ducks playing.
    • The goalie-captain rule is kind of relaxed, though: see Roberto Luongo.
      • Not strictly true - Luongo was captain in an honorary position - hence why the 'C' is on his mask and not his jersey.
    • The rule banning #00 from use is league-specific. The NHL, for example, didn't have that rule until the late 1990s. The reason it was added to the books? The league bought a new statistic-tracking system that broke if a player's number was less than 1. Rather than fix the software they banned #00.
  • In an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, at the climax of a football showdown with their rivals, Perfecto Prep, it looks like Buster kicks Plucky off the team for signaling plays to Perfecto. But as he reaches the sideline, he suddenly turns around catches a quick out from Buster, catching Perfecto off-guard and scoring the winning points. (It helped that they'd scammed Perfecto with a fake playbook). In reality, on every level of organized football there is in Americanote , the play would've resulted in a five-yard Illegal Procedure penalty for Plucky being too far off the ball and for moving non-laterally when the ball was snapped.
    • The Sega Genesis game Tiny Toon Adventures: Acme All Stars Sports Special, pretty much thrived on Rule of Funny regarding this trope. Between soccer and basketball, the characters rode the ball around, flew across the court with it in their mouths, and could even run over the other players with a car or mecha-suit. And harass and immobilize other players (yes, we're talking about Elmyra Duff)....
      • The game also allowed you to pull off special moves in the bowling minigame, including attacks that blow up the pins...
    • On the other hand, a fairly uncommon but legal trick play is having the quarterback move towards the sideline, pantomiming something wrong to the sidelines, and while he does that, the ball is snapped to the running back to start the play. As long as the QB was the only man in motion, and following the motion rules (not running towards the line of scrimmage), that's a legal play.
  • Rocket Power: One episode has Reggie and her team winning a volleyball game 15-14. In volleyball (and for that matter, tennis and badminton), you have to win by two.
  • In Johnny Test, Johnny goes skiing and is denied access to a trail due to it being "NK-13", for no kids under age 13. Trail markers do not work that way, despite the size or difficulty. Though it's unlikely they'd want 10-year-olds going on double-diamond trails, they don't regulate it.
  • The Simpsons episode "Lisa On Ice" takes a few liberties with Ice Hockey. No kids league allows checking, much less checking in the back and sending someone face first into the glass. That's illegal even in the NHL. The clock doesn't run on penalty shots, undermining the cute ending. And Bart is shown repeatedly skating past the entire defense only to stop outside the blue line for a slapshot. Technically, that's a legal play but incredibly insane. In this case there Ain't No Rule but the Rule of Funny and Rule of Drama.
    • Keep in mind, this is Springfield we're talking about here...
    • At one point, Homer tried to cheat at golf giving himself higher scores. A passerby pointed this out.
      • That passerby happened to be then-PGA Tour pro Tom Kite, who also doesn't like it when people (specifically Homer) steal his clubs and shoes.
  • In Kim Possible, there was one episode where they run a play called a flea flicker. Here's the thing: one, a flea flicker is a play where the quarterback gives the ball to the runningback, who fakes like he's going to run with it, but then turns around and tosses it back to the quarterback. Ron never even attempts a pass. Two, it was on a field goal, so it would've been more appropriate to call it a fake field goal. And three, they had Ron out there with a kicker and the placeholder, which meant the fake should've been seen a mile away.
  • In King of the Hill, Bill is Arlen High's record-holder for most touchdowns, until a kid ties him but injures himself on the play. In the next game, the opposing team lets him walk into the endzone on crutches to claim the record. Crutches are not allowed on the playing field. Then, the coach of Arlen High (who was Bill's coach and still respected him) and Hank realize that Bill never officially graduated because he left early to join the Army. So he suits up for one game to tie the record. Texas High School football has a hard age limit, regardless of academic status.
    • Truth in Television: this was a parody of a real-life incident involving University of Connecticut women's basketball star Nykesha Sales. [1]
  • In the American Dad! episode "Return of the Bling", Roger is revealed to have been a member of the 1980 US Olympic Ice Hockey team. In photos, he's shown playing against Italy. The Italian hockey team was not at the 1980 Olympics.
  • Completely averted in NFL Rush Zone Guardians Of The Core. Most likely due to the involvement of the NFL in its production.
  • The ending of the Goofy cartoon Hockey Homicide features this- as an added bonus, they use scenes from other Goofy sports cartoons, Victory Through Air Power, and even Pinocchio to add to the confusion.
  • Toot & Puddle has the characters repairing a shuttlecock using feathers from a feather duster in the episode Old and New. While the shuttlecock is not used for any official sports, it still wouldn't work: not only would that have changed the aerodynamics of the shuttlecock (ie changed the weight, size and balance), the feathers aren't even of the same size and type to begin with.
  • The sports in Cars are based on NASCAR and, in the foreign-going sequel, assorted other forms of car racing from around the world, and are filled with artistic license. The plot of the first film is kicked off by a three-way tie which results in a tiebreaker race scheduled for a week later, rather than the tiebreaker being determined by number of wins then total number of top-5 and top-10 finishes, but most notable is the fact that rather severe wrecks happen and the races just keep going, when a real organization would immediately throw a caution flag. The fact that in this universe the cars are the athletes is a fairly decent Tire Wave for why the rules wouldn't be exactly the same, but whether the rules make more or less sense because of such a setting is best not thought about too hard.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArtisticLicenseSports