Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The New Guy Presents: The Biggest Choke-Failures in Sports AKA The Bills List

I was inspired Monday night by a certain football game to create my inaugural address to the sports blogosphere via 4th and Fail. I did not look at the success of Tom Brady and the Pats, but instead I looked upon the sheer failure that was displayed on the field by the Bills. So, without further ado, I would like to give my top 10 list of futility as a whole in sports. This doesn’t mean that I am going based on one performance (unless that performance was that much of a cringing failure). I will not judge based on an isolated incident. Instead, I will judge on the individual/team’s entire legacy [of FAIL].

10. Sergio Garcia - Let’s congratulate the man for he is a constant variable in the Law of Fail. The guy just can’t seem to ever win the big one. Whenever he has been in position to win one of golf’s coveted majors he just falls by the wayside. Honestly, it’s become a bit predictable at this point. Garcia’s consistent, but not completely epic failure lands him the 10 spot.

9. Florida State Seminoles Football
- I hate to do this because I have the utmost respect for the program and the legendary Bobby Bowden, but c’mon Noles you’re better than that! Tuck your shirts in! Go run a lap or something! Wide Right I,II, and III along with a Wide Left just for good measure?! They managed to blow another game even with a phantom pass interference call (as a Canes fan, those phantom calls are the bane of my existence) on Labor Day! Five shots at glory and you couldn’t punch it in? Really?...REALLY?!?! The peculiar thing about FSU’s brand of fail is that it always seems to happen against Miami. The Ponyboys of Florida State often manage to stay [garnett and] gold (Ahem! GT fumble! Ahem!), but their rising toll of fail against “the U” lands them the 9 spot. DAG GUMMIT!

8. Michigan Wolverines Fab Five - Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson were all top 100 prospects as they entered the maize and blue. The team was so highly touted, and it is for that reason that they fail. They managed to get to the end of March Madness as freshman in 1992, but they got a whooping at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils (71-51). Alright, they were all just a bunch of kids, but I’m sure they’ll run the NCAA circuit next year, right? WRONG. This 1992 game was just a mere appetizer for the magnificent fail that would ensue in the ’93 NCAA Championship game against the Tarheels of UNC. The Wolverines went on to lose that game 77-71 in what turned out to be an epic fail culminated by a very aware Webber timeout…

7. Houston Oilers - The Houston Oilers punch-in at 7 simply because they were on the wrong end of what we now know as “The Comeback.” This game was a 1993 AFC Wild Card game between said Houston Oilers and the Buffalo Bills. The Buffalo Bills were without eventual Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, and instead had to look to their back-up, Frank Reich, to help them advance to the next round. The Houston Oilers did what they were supposed to do, and they held a commanding 35-3 lead in the 3rd quarter. Suddenly, the poster-boys for futility staged the ultimate comeback, and they eventually won the game 41-38 in OT! Are you kidding me?! The Houston Oilers took the loss so bad that they moved to Tennessee and became the Titans (where they fell short of winning the Super Bowl…literally). I guess I would be ashamed of myself if I blew a 32 point lead against the Bills too…

6. Ohio St. Buckeyes Football – These guys just haven’t been able to win a big game in a long time. The only two games they won were against an obviously overrated Michigan team in 2006, and a very controversial call by Terry Porter in 2003. They were mangled and embarrassed by two SEC teams, Florida and LSU, in the 2006 and 2007 BCS National Championship Games. They were blown up by the USC Trojans in 2008 in the Coliseum by means of a 35-3 man-handling. Ohio State has recently been competitive in games, but now they are just choking at the end. The 2009 Fiesta Bowl against Texas and their most recent fail against the Trojans can attest to that. Therefore, for constantly choking on the big stage for close to a decade now, the Buckeyes check in at number 6.

5. Greg Norman – The Great White Choke himself garners the five-spot on this list. Why, you ask? Simple: The 1996 Masters. Norman went into the final round with an incredible six-stroke lead! The Shark with the golden everything also shot a golden 63 in the first round, and that 63 was good enough to be an Augusta course record. Norman ended up losing the tournament to Nick Faldo…by five strokes. Five strokes?! How’d that happen? Well readers, Norman shot an inglorious 78, and Faldo played a great round with a score of 67. Readers, you must comprehend that it’s not even like he choked by one stroke! This, my friends, was a complete meltdown that Jean Van de Velde could only truly appreciate.

4. 2004 New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox pre-2004 - Eat it up Yankees and Bo Sox fans; I just associated the two of you together (Editor's Note: My mind just exploded). The 2004 Yankees make the four-spot because of their ALCS debacle after holding a 3-0 lead on their most hated rival. No one in MLB history had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. Therefore, it is an automatic fail when you are the first team to accomplish that “feat.” The Red Sox had been failing for a long time prior to this miracle run by “The Idiots.” The most notable Red Sox fail is obviously Bill Buckner’s error in the 1986 World Series against the Metropolitans of New York. The Red Sox have righted their ship in the new millennium, and I can’t say that the Yankees are complete choke artists because they have 26 rings in their name. However, there are some 9 year olds who have yet to see the Bronx Bombers win a World Series because of the Diamondbacks in 2001, my beloved Florida Marlins in 2003, and aforementioned Boston Red Sox of 2004. If that magnanimous payroll doesn’t step up then I will have no choice but to start calling the Yankees the 21st Century Boston Red Sox.

3. Chicago Cubs – Neither of the teams mentioned above have failed quite like the Chicago Cubs have, and it hurts to say this because there are some Cubbies in my family. The Cubs have now suffered over 100 years of fail. They’re like watching a gory horror film, sometimes it just gets so ugly but you just can’t take your eyes off of the screen. The Cubs have “suffered” from the “Curse of the Billy Goat in 1945,” the Black Cat in 1969, and the Marlins’ MVP Steve Bartman. The Red Sox would at least get to the World Series from time to time, but these Cubbies haven’t even won the Pennant since the Billy Goat incident! The Cubs just haven’t been able to get it done, but the story will be different in 2015. The Florida Marlins will turn into a team from Miami in 2012, and Back to the Future calls for the Cubs to defeat the Miami team in the World Series by means of a sweep…Oh wait, the Marlins are in the NL with the Cubs you say? Sorry, McFly.

2. Jean Van De Velde - Jean Van De Velde’s epic one-hole fail surpasses the Shark’s in this writer’s humble opinion. Van De Velde knew that he could hit a double-bogey and still come away victorious in the 1999 British Open…queue the misery. Van De Velde’s first shot almost went swimming, and his second shot looked like Albert Pujols was lifting off again on Shaq Vs. because it went right at the grandstand! His shots weren’t even on target, and it was apparent that the man was collapsing. Van De Velde eventually hit a triple bogey to send the Open to a playoff against Paul Lawrie. Lawrie went on to take complete advantage of the situation, as a true one-and-done opportunist, and won the 1999 British Open. Jean Van De Velde thus earns the number 2 spot, and everyone knows who the consensus number one FAIL of a person/team has to be at this point…

1. Buffalo Bills - Please hold your applause for the champions of futility! The zenith of the fail! The apex of ineptitude! THE BUFFALO BILLS! The Yankees may have lost four games, but it was only for one ALCS. The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, managed to successfully get to 4 straight Super Bowls and lose them ALL. Honestly, there is no one individual or team that can prove to be as consistently miserable at the highest level of fail that there is: Championship choking! Whether they got blown out or just missed a kick those Bills couldn’t even pay the referees off and win due to the fact that they would somehow blow the game. Their choking does not only occur in the Super Bowl though. We just saw the Bills cough up an 11 point lead to the New England Patriots in the 4th quarter to blow the game. In 2005, the Bills managed to cough up a 23-3 fourth quarter lead at the expense of the Sage Rosenfels-led Miami Dolphins! (Editor's Note: SEE, Vikings fans, he could be the answer). The Bills continue to blow game after game, but should we really be surprised about any of this? No, because that would be the same as being surprised by how much of a tool Kanye West can be.

Honorable Failures: These squads/people had miserable failures that were on the cusp of cracking this top 10.

-Mike Vanderjagt - This kicker was never the same after he blew that late field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2005 AFC Division Playoff game. Those same Pittsburgh Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl.

-1980 Soviet Hockey - One country’s fail is another’s treasure! The Soviet team were amazing favorites to take the gold at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980. They beat down the US team in an exhibition just before the Olympics, and this all set the stage for perhaps the greatest game of all time: The Miracle on Ice. The USA hockey team went on to defeat the Russians 4-3 en route to their gold medal triumph over Finland.

-John Terry – The captain of the Chelsea FC walked up to take the game-winning penalty kick against the Manchester United Red Devils in the classic 2008 Champions League Final held in Moscow. The conditions were very slippery due to rain, and the captain slipped on his attempt as the ball hit off of the right post. Man U did not let their second life go to waste as they went on to take the CL title.

-Atlanta Braves – This is pretty simple arithmetic: 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005 = 1 WS title… I call that a choke. Especially when you see that the Marlins are yet to win a division title, but managed to make the playoffs twice as a wild card during the Braves very impressive regular season run. So, in numerical terms: 0 division titles = 2WS titles. Hey, don’t get the wrong idea…I’ll take the Marlins deal in a heartbeat.

-New York Mets – The Mets suffered from two consecutive years of late season chokes in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, the Mets held a very considerable 7 game lead on the Philadelphia Phillies, and there were only 17 games left to go. The Mets ended up going 5-12 over there last 17 games, and they lost their playoff spot on the last day due to an 8-1 thrashing at the hands of the Florida Marlins. The next year, those same Mets had a 3.5 game lead on the Phillies with 17 games to go. Needless to say, the Mets went 7-10 in an encore to their collapse of the previous season. The Mets once again missed the playoffs on the last day of the season due to a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Florida Marlins.

Thanks for reading everyone, hope you enjoyed. Here are the fails for you’re viewing pleasure:

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