The Six Worst Chokes in Sports History

Every year in every sport at all levels, there are huge chokes.  If one was to pick just one all time worst choke in sporting history I'm not sure it could actually be done.  Bias always plays a role in making any kind of pick like that, so to get an actual true pick would be next to impossible.  I tried to come up with just one, but there was no narrowing it down.  I would have been better off trying to pick the worst choke in sports history narrowed down by team, year, and maybe even game.

So instead, I narrowed down my thoughts on the biggest chokes in sports history by no rhyme or reason other then they were events that stuck out in my mind as biggest chokes that left me saying “what the heck?” either in watching the event or reading about it.  So here, I leave you with my top six worst chokes ever in sports history.

#6  Portland Trail Blazers 2000 Western Conference Finals

For most of Game 7, it looked like the L.A. Lakers were going to be the chokers in this series.  Down 75-60 with 10:28 left in the game, L.A. was on the verge of becoming just the seventh team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead.  But that was before Portland missed 13 consecutive shots, Brian Shaw hit a pair of big 3-pointers and Kobe found Shaq for an alley-oop’ dunk to put the game away.

#5  Boston Red Sox 1978

Most sports fans try to blame this whole season on Bucky Dent.  But to be one of the biggest chokes in the history of sports it takes an entire team.  No one man -- alone -- can take a whole team from fourteen games ahead of their rivals to ending up 3 games behind. 

#4  Brooklyn Dodgers 1951

Starting out with a 13 ½ game lead, and throwing it all away with “The shot heard ‘round the world,” all within the month of August, makes for not only a spot in history of a great win for the Giants but it also guarantees a spot in sports history for the Dodgers…as the team that threw it all away.

#3  Philadelphia Phillies 1964

Sometimes a choke can happen in just a game.  Sometimes they happen in a mere moment.  The Phillies of 1964 want you to know that it took them every bit of twelve games to throw away a six game lead.  If they’d only held that batting average up to a .333 they wouldn’t be on this list today.

#2  New York Mets 2007

While the Mets took an entire season to toss away a six game lead, thereby earning them a slightly lower spot on this list of the all time biggest chokes in sports history, they ended up a notch higher just because five of the six games wasted were lost at home, and to the Nationals and the Marlins.  Those two teams had 180 losses between them in 2007 alone.  Were they just feeling generous that year?

New York Mets Conference on the pitching mound
New York Mets Conference on the pitching mound.
Thanks to Alan Cordova on for the picture.

#1  Houston Oilers 1993 AFC Wild Card Game

There aren’t many folks anywhere on the planet who don’t love a comeback.  Unless you’re the team that the comeback happened to.  13 minutes and 15 seconds left of the third quarter, Bubba McDowell returned an interception over 58 yards to give the Houston Oilers an incredible 35-3 lead over the Buffalo Bills in the Bills' home stadium.  It was a sad day for Western New York…it seemed.

But in the last quarter the Bills were just beginning to fight, even as fans were putting their jerseys away at home, 35 points went onto the Bills side of the scoreboard to force the game into overtime.

The biggest choke in sports history was when Steve Christie made an eye-opening 32 yard field goal to crush the Oilers once and for all… well, until the next season anyway.

What do you think?

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