THE LINEUP #5: 10 Worst Championship Performances (In My Life)

Posted: April 7, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, The Lineup
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As I struggled my way through the second half of the college “basketball” (I use that loosely due to the fact that both teams acted like they were allergic to the actual “basket”), I took a trip down memory lane for myself. Now this was not a comfortable journey reliving some of the most amazing performances I’ve ever seen, like Jordan in Utah or basically every inning of Mariano Rivera’s post-September career. No this was something far worse, I was trying to actually think of it I had ever seen anything worse than this to determine the champion of anything.

While the clock ticked down, and started to run short on memories of worse showings, I started to realize that anything worse than that (that wasn’t Soul Plane or any Tyrese movie that didn’t involve amazing robots from my childhood trying to kill him) just wouldn’t come to my mind, and I’d probably blocked them out years ago. So I went to Wikipedia, the source of all my random knowledge (along with my girlfriend), and pulled up several championship lists to remind myself of how they were determined. All at once, a ton of memories blew back in my mind of terrible nights wasted hoping to see a fitting end to entire seasons I’d bled, sweat and maybe cried through time-to-time. It was like the “Butterfly Effect”, only with middle-aged announcers instead of Demi Moore’s boy toy.

 

A lot of folks were covering their noses due to the smell coming from their TV's on Monday night.

 

So I bring to you the worst of the worst I can recall, the 10 worst championship performances of my life/that I suffered through, in order from terrible to terriblest (sorry there wasn’t a word terriblest enough for me to describe these displays below, so I had to create one….and use it twice).

10. Ohio State Buckeyes, 2007: The Buckeyes have no shortage of BCS letdowns over the years, but this remains the worst of the lot. It was plain terrible all the way through here, and Florida made sure it they won on style points as well. QB Troy Smith turned in one of the worst nights I’ve ever seen, and got the Heisman curse started early, completing only four passes for 35 yards on the night, and leading (or maybe backing in) the Buckeyes to 82 total yards on the night. They didn’t score after the second quarter, gave up 34 points in the first half, finally falling 41-14.

9. San Diego Padres, 1998: Around this time nobody wanted to see the Yankees, who were assured World Series like the sky was assured to kick it with the sun every morning. However, they never got ushered to one like this huge mismatch. In game one, a Tino Martinez grand slam cued a seven-run seventh inning comeback, which crushed the Pads momentum for the rest of the series. To close it out, they got shut out at home in game four (with Mariano Rivera closing it with his third save of the series), and the series was brought to a decisive end. The Yanks were executioners in this one, outscoring the Padres 26-13, including 14-4 in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

8. New Jersey Nets, 2002: This was a nice story of Jason Kidd coming out east and helping a franchise that hadn’t played a meaningful game in about thirty years in a different league and with a completely different type of star (the ABA & Dr. J), but the Lakers weren’t too impressed. This was back when Shaq was like a tank with agility and Kobe was like Clark Kent when he just realized “Hey, I can do a lot really cool stuff I didn’t even know about!”. Shaq opened up with 76 points in the first two games, and by the time the series headed to Jersey, the funeral bugle was already getting tuned up, and the celebratory brooms were being unwrapped, as the Lake Show swept its way to its 14th championship.

 

The only real contest in the '02 Finals was what got bigger quicker: Shaq's point total or J-Kidd's son's head.

 

7. Los Angeles Lakers, 2004: And on that note, two years later the Lakers played the stooge in one of the most unexplainable upsets ever. By this time, Kobe and Shaq hated each other in a fashion that even Batman and Joker would be impressed by, and the Pistons exploited this quickly. A dynasty has never crumbled so quick and so decisively with its pieces still in place (hell, they even added graying All-Stars Karl Malone and Gary Payton who were trying to vulture a championship). The Pistons didn’t care about this and thoroughly ended the Lakers run behind a band of misfits that featured basically every talented cast off in the League under the biggest rolling stone of a coach ever, Larry Brown. I’m still confused on how this happened.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers, 2007: Bad year in Ohio here, with the aforementioned Buckeye boofout, and now the best thing they had going in their prodigal son and future pariah, LeBron James, finally doing the unthinkable: putting the Cleveland CAVS in the NBA Finals. Just five years before, this is the same franchise that had Ricky Davis throwing the ball at the rim to try to get himself a triple-double, in what was the highlight of the year during their 17-win tank job to land Judas Iscariot…er…LeBron.

 

Dave, you could've just gave the Spurs the trophy after the West 'Ships if you knew this would happen.

 

Well, this club played like Bobby Sura and Ricky Davis still were running the show, as they got whipped into the ground by Tim Duncan and the Spurs, who landed by and far the easiest of their four rings to date. This series was a quick beating, of the sweep variety, but what made it worse was it was ugly (especially the 75-72 crapfest of game 3) because the Cavs were like the guy that keeps getting punch, but keeps getting back up when the whole crowd has seen enough. If you’re gonna get swept, with the most exciting player in the game, at least crack 90 each game.

5. Buffalo Bills, 1993-94: You would think that getting a third consecutive shot at winning ONE Super Bowl would be a gift that showed much favor from the football gods, but after you blow that one, you get a FOURTH too??? You’ve gotta take that one right? Not if you play for the early nineties Bills, who lost their final two shots at salvaging their big game choke reputation at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys by a total score of 82-30.

4. St. Louis Cardinals, 2004: I’m putting this one here because it was the first time my heart was broken by sporting event. I waited 21 years to see my beloved Cardinals play in the Series at an age where I’d remember (’87 is hazy, I was four). The Birds had won 105 games and were playing a team that hadn’t won a World Series since 1918 AND just had to come back from a 3-0 hole to even reach us, the Red Sox. No way we lose this one, pop the bottles my newly 21-year-old self can rightfully purchase now!!!

Well, four games later, the curse was lifted, Ted Williams soul smiled and all the worst accents in the universe were celebrating inside of MY Busch Stadium, as the Red Sox won the Series finally over my Cardinals. My Mother even called me just after last out to console me, and I hung up on her. Me and my Dad sat on the phone in silence for about an hour the next day. Matter of fact, just last year, I saw the final out of that series for the first time since ’04 and a single tear fell out the corner of my eye.

 

I could've written something that put "808's" to shame in October 2004....

 

Whoever said “It’s better to get there and lose” has never been there and seen that actually happen. When God smiled on me two years later with my first Series, it helped, but this still burns.

3. UConn Huskies, 2011: Oh, wait…they won. Well there’s no column for “surviving” in the standings, but that’s what happened on Monday night. Butler played so bad that they let a team that scored fewer points than minutes in the first half (19) beat them 53-41. FIFTY-THREE POINTS “SURVIVED” THE GAME. The last time that total would’ve won a National Championship game: 1949 vs. Kentucky, before the shot clock existed. And it would have only won that one by one. Jeez…

2. Butler Bulldogs, 2011: I’m gonna keep this simple, since I’m sure there’s still a few folks in shock from watching this happen: 12 of 64 shots on the night for a 18% shooting night from the field and 41 points total. Butler doesn’t have a football team anymore, but I’m pretty sure they could’ve outscored their hoops counterpart on Monday (by not even existing…think about it).

1. Florida State Seminoles, 2000: I had this one in the books before it started, however I am still convinced that Bobby Bowden did too…the books in Las Vegas that is. There is NO WAY this should have ever happened, and I rank it up among the Kennedy Assassination and Area 51 as one of the greatest conspiracies ever. This may be the greatest understatement I ever write on this blog, but the Florida State Seminoles of the mid-to-late 90’s TOOK NO PRISONERS.

So a team with nine guys that would go to the NFL, averaged 42 points a game & a Heisman Trophy winner that finds a way to score a grand total of TWO points against a Oklahoma squad that had a QB that looked like Ron Howard from his days as Richie Cunningham (Josh Heupel) is still about as big of a choke act as I’ve ever seen. Period.

 

THIS MAN SHOULD NEVER BEAT FLORIDA STATE!!! EVER!

 

I don’t care if we never find out about aliens, 9/11 or the Illumanti, I want to know what happened with the 2000 Florida State Seminoles, still.

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