Last night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver while presenting the Larry O’Brien Trophy to the Cavs mentioned that coming back to win the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 in games has never been done before. Until now that is. So that got me thinking, the Warriors had this series pretty much won, some people were talking sweep or embarrassment but it turns out that a Cleveland team led by King James himself had what it took to rewrite the record books. To put it bluntly, the Warriors collapsed after such high expectations coming into the postseason but where do the rank among the worst collapses in all of sports history?
Just before I start, it was tough to narrow this list down to just five. Some of the collapses not mentioned are Calipari’s undefeated Kentucky Wildcats in 2015, the 2004 USA Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, the 2003 Chicago Cubbies, the 1986 Boston Red Sox, the Buffalo Bills basically any season ever, and the 2010 Boston Bruins.
5.) 2016 Jordan Spieth at The Masters
Personally, being a big Masters fan and maybe a bigger Jordan Spieth fan, watching this entire event transpire was rough. To remind you all, Spieth had a five stroke lead entering the back nine of the final round for the 2016 Masters and it went downhill fast from there as he recorded a bogey, another bogey and an infamous quadruple bogey on the par 3 twelfth. Outside of those three holes, Spieth dominated the rest of the field only to watch his hopes of a second straight green jacket fall onto the shoulders of Danny Willet.
4.) 2007 New England Patriots
This is going to be tough to write about so I’ll keep it brief. The Patriots finished the regular season 16-0 and were heavy favorites heading into Super Bowl 42 facing off against the New York Giants. Then the Pats lost, the end.
P.S. Why Asante Samuel…. why?
3.) 1980 Soviet Union Ice Hockey Team
Now obviously, I wasn’t alive for the Miracle on Ice but a game that needs the word Miracle in its title really needs no explanation. The Soviet Union beat the NHL All-Stars 6-0, and prior to the start of the Olympics at Lake Placid, the USA team had an exhibition against the Soviets, the US lost 10-3. The 1980 USSR Men’s Ice Hockey team was ‘unbeatable’ but the Titanic was also ‘unsinkable’. Coached by the unconventional Herb Brooks, a team possessed bested the Soviet Union 4-3 with Jim Craig between the pipes stopping 36 total shots. Boston University alumnus and Team USA Captain Mike Eruzione notched the game-winning goal with ten minutes to play that sent a New York crowd into absolute pandemonium. “Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!!”
2.) 2004 New York Yankees ALCS
Hands down, the best four days for any Boston Red Sox fan in their entire life. Breaking the curse was one thing, but beating the Yankees to do it made it sweeter, and coming back down 3-0 in a seven games series to make history, even bettah. So many great moments wrapped up into four days. The Dave Roberts steal, the Bloody Sock, Kevin Millar’s antics, and David Ortiz’s heroics time and time again. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the wicked good ESPN 30 for 30 “Four Days in October” you definitely will not be disappointed.
1.) 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors NBA Finals
Being up 3-1 in the NBA Finals with two of the final three games (if necessary) on your home court seems almost too easy. Not to mention, boasting the best regular season record of all-time with 73 wins and only 9 losses which topped the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls from 1996. All with the NBA’s unanimous MVP, Steph Curry. That is why the Golden State Warriors are my biggest collapse to sports history, they blew a lead that had never been blown before and also had the highest expectations heading into the NBA Playoffs. Side note, props to LeBron on bringing a championship to Cleveland. It was really great moment in his career to see unfold.
Cover Photo via Twitter
Various Photos via WBUR, The Big Lead, Neon Tommy, Hockey Gods, Twin Cities. YouTube, MLB.com, Over The Monster, Associated Press