October 7, 2015

LEWIS | The Top Five Most Heartbreaking Sports Finishes

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Yesterday was my greatest birthday of all time. Not only was I reunited with my girlfriend in Austin, Texas, but my mom also bought me a pair of salmon Chubbies with sky blue sailboats on them (Total Frat Move, Rush Phi Delt 2015). However, my girl and my sailboats weren’t what put my birthday over the top. I got to relish in the Yankees being out of the playoffs and to witness my Cubbies play for an opportunity to reach the NLDS. Trust me, this doesn’t happen often.

My jubilation has to contrast pretty strongly with how Lions fans are feeling this week. Once again, the 13th man of the Seahawks helped gift them another win. Losing a game because of a blown call is the absolute worst way to lose. This isn’t quite as bad as the “Fail Mary” that I had to live through a couple years ago, but this Lions-Seahawks game definitely comes close.

In honor of Lions fans everywhere, I decided to compile a list of the five most heartbreaking finishes to games in recent memory. Disclaimer: Patriots fans, your two Super Bowl losses will not be on here because even though you were heartbroken, the rest of the country was rejoicing. I hate the Patriots.

5. 2007 NFC Championship Game
As a Packers fan, I can’t have a list of heartbreaking moments and not list this game. The Giants missed a last second field goal to end the game in regulation and the Packers got the ball to begin overtime. But just like he’s done billions of times before, Favre threw a pick in Packers territory that cost them the game. This wouldn’t be that heartbreaking if it hadn’t been Favre’s last game in a Packer uniform. This game signified the end of era for the Packers and their most beloved player ever, and it was especially depressing to see Favre go out the way he did.

4. Super Bowl XLIII
Considered by many to be the greatest Super Bowl of all time, Super Bowl XLIII featured a Steelers team that everybody expected to be there and a Cardinals squad that nobody saw coming. Down 20-7 heading into the fourth quarter, the Cardinals mounted a comeback and took a 23-20 lead with 2:37 left in the game. But then Big Ben drove his troops 78 yards down the field and broke the hearts of Cardinals fans everywhere after connecting with Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone with only seconds remaining. This was the Cardinals’ first ever trip to the big game and was pretty much the most disheartening way you could lose.

3. 2010 Men’s College Basketball Championship
I don’t remember ever being so sad watching a team I have absolutely no connections with lose. Butler made a Cinderella run through the NCAA tourney and found themselves pitted against Duke in the championship game. This was the true battle between good and evil. The underdog versus the powerhouse. Saint Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom “Scumbag” Brady. This was the real deal. Butler kept it close the whole game and had a chance to win with a long second full court shot. However, Gordon Hayward’s shot was off by just inches and the evil empire that is Duke celebrated their fourth national title. People all across the nation wept.

2. Game 6, 2011 World Series
This game is so heartbreaking because fans had their hearts broken twice. Only one strike away from their first World Series title, the Rangers blew a 7-5 lead in the ninth, allowing David Freese to drive in two runs with a triple on a 1-2 count. But the Rangers regained control of the game in the 10th, pulling ahead from the Cardinals, 9-7. Then they choked again. One strike away from their first World Series title again, the Rangers gave up two runs and the Cardinals won the game in the 11th. I’ve never seen a team collapse like that twice in one game, and this has to still haunt Rangers fans.

1. Game 6, 2013 NBA Finals
This is it. This is my ultimate soft spot. If you ever mention the name Ray Allen, I will punch you in the face. This is the night I cried in the shower for five hours. This is the night Pitbull released Global Warming. The night my life shattered. The Spurs were seconds away from their fifth NBA title when they blew a five point lead with less than a minute left. They forgot how to rebound, forgot how to shoot free throws and forgot that that Ray Allen guy is pretty good at knocking down the three. You guys know what happened. I don’t want to talk about it.