Top 10 Biggest Chokes in Sports History

If there's one thing that sports fans love, it's the drama of a game that comes down to the wire. But sometimes, that drama can turn into heartbreak for one team and ecstasy for the other. And there are moments in sports history when the heartbreak is so monumental that it's etched into our memories forever. That's right, we're talking about the biggest chokes in sports history.

Now, when we say "choke," we don't mean someone who missed a few shots or made a couple of mistakes. We're talking about the kind of collapse that leaves you shaking your head in disbelief, wondering how it could possibly happen. The kind of collapse that makes you question everything you thought you knew about the sport, the players, and the world.

And while we hate to relive those moments of agony, we can't help but be fascinated by them. Maybe it's because we want to learn from them and make sure they never happen again. Maybe it's because we like to see athletes at the top of their game brought down to earth, reminding us that they're human, too. Or maybe it's just because we like a good trainwreck.

Whatever the reason, there's no denying that the biggest chokes have a special place in our hearts (even if that place is a painful one). So, without further ado, let's take a look at some of the most unforgettable collapses in sports history and relive the agony all over again.
The Top Ten
1 New York Yankees, 2004 ALCS The New York Yankees lost a commanding 3-0 series lead to their arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in the 2004 American League Championship Series, ultimately losing the series 4-3.

First ever to blow 3-0 in MLB playoffs...and it was to the RED SOX! Not what you want to do against your archenemy

2 Boston Red Sox, 2011 The Boston Red Sox held a nine-game lead in the Wild Card race in September but went 7-20 down the stretch to miss the playoffs in what is regarded as one of the worst collapses in MLB history.

Literally, they were heading into september as a favorite to win the world series. They needed to go 8-19 at the worst to make the playoffs. To make it all the more agonizing, they went 7-20. The yanks blew an 8-0 lead to the rays to allow them to make the playoffs, but the sox could have prevented it had beltran not dropped a fly ball on the last play in the final game against the worst team in the league, the orioles. Seriously?

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. How do Sox fans get out of bed in the morning knowing this?

3 Houston Oilers, 1993 AFC Wild Card Game The Houston Oilers led the Buffalo Bills 35-3 in the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card game, but they surrendered the lead and ultimately lost the game 41-38 in overtime, in what is known as "The Comeback."

That choke job makes Atlanta's look like nothing. That was the equivalent to 28-3 before the Falcons did it in 2016

4 Boston Red Sox, 1986 The Boston Red Sox were one strike away from winning the World Series in Game 6, but a series of errors and a clutch hit by the New York Mets led to the Red Sox losing that game and eventually the series.
5 Atlanta Falcons, Super Bowl LI The Atlanta Falcons had a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, but they allowed the Patriots to score 25 unanswered points to tie the game and then lost in overtime, 34-28.

By far, the biggest "choke" job was the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. They lost because they played too passively once they built a 25-point lead. At the time, Matt Ryan was an excellent QB, but they had a guy named Kyle Shanahan as the OC and he called a pitiful game from mid-third quarter on. This guy (along with Justin Herbert) gets more "hype" as an offensive "guru" than anyone I've ever heard of that hasn't won a Super Bowl. His team choked against the Chiefs a few years ago with a fourth quarter lead. He hasn't won anything, people! The same goes for Justin Herbert. He's a solid QB, but all the accolades he gets for individual stats is pathetic. Again, he has not lead the Chargers to a single playoff win. Pump the breaks on these two. They are "good" not great until they prove it with real results, not just "potential".

6 Fred Brown, 1982 NCAA Championship In the 1982 NCAA Championship game, Fred Brown of the Georgetown Hoyas mistakenly passed the ball to a North Carolina Tar Heels player in the waning seconds of the game, effectively giving the game away.
7 Greg Norman, 1996 Masters Greg Norman led the 1996 Masters by six strokes heading into the final round but shot a 78 and lost to Nick Faldo, marking one of the greatest collapses in golf history.
8 Golden State Warriors, 2016 NBA Finals The Golden State Warriors had a 3-1 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, but they lost three consecutive games, including a historic Game 7, to give up the championship.

Cleveland got lucky they did otherwise they'd still be waiting for a championship

9 Pittsburgh Penguins, 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a 3-0 lead in Game 7 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders, ultimately losing the game and the series.
10 Scott Norwood, Super Bowl XXV Scott Norwood of the Buffalo Bills missed a potential game-winning field goal in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants, marking one of the most infamous missed kicks in NFL history.

Wide right... Enough said... So much pain... Why couldn't he had made it?

The Contenders
11 Jana Novotná, 1993 Wimbledon Finals Jana Novotná led Steffi Graf 4-1 in the final set of the 1993 Wimbledon Finals but lost the next five games to hand Graf the championship.
12 Cleveland Indians, 2016 World Series The Cleveland Indians held a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series but lost three consecutive games, including a historic Game 7, to give up the championship.
13 Brazil, 1950 World Cup Brazil only needed a tie in the final game of the 1950 World Cup to win the championship, but they lost to Uruguay in front of a home crowd of over 200,000 people, in what is known as the "Maracanazo."
14 New England Patriots, Super Bowl XLII The New England Patriots were undefeated heading into Super Bowl XLII and were heavily favored to beat the New York Giants, but they lost 17-14, marking one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
15 Alabama Crimson Tide Football, 2016 CFP National Championship Alabama led the Clemson Tigers 31-28 with two minutes left in the 2016 CFP National Championship, but they allowed a touchdown and a field goal to lose the game 35-31.
16 Chris Webber, 1993 NCAA Championship Chris Webber of the Michigan Wolverines called a timeout in the final seconds of the 1993 NCAA Championship game when his team had no timeouts remaining, resulting in a technical foul and ultimately costing his team the game.
17 Toronto Maple Leafs, 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals The Toronto Maple Leafs held a 4-1 lead over the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, but they allowed three goals in the third period and lost the game 5-4 in overtime, marking one of the biggest comebacks in NHL history.
18 Texas Rangers, 2011 World Series Game 6 The Texas Rangers were one strike away from winning the 2011 World Series in Game 6, but they allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to tie the game twice in extra innings before losing the game and eventually the series.

Nelson Cruz dropped a fly, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th, causing an error and bringing in winning run for the Cardinals. They went on to lose game 7.

19 Boston Red Sox, 1978 The Boston Red Sox had a 14-game lead over the New York Yankees in July of 1978 but went 7-20 down the stretch to force a one-game playoff, which they lost to the Yankees.
20 Los Angeles Dodgers, 2018 World Series The Los Angeles Dodgers lost the 2018 World Series to the Boston Red Sox in five games, despite having the best record in baseball that season.
21 Tampa Bay Lightning, 2019 The Tampa Bay Lightning tied the NHL record for most wins in a season in 2019 but were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets, marking one of the biggest upsets in NHL history.
22 Atlanta Braves, 2020 NLCS The Atlanta Braves had a 3-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2020 NLCS but lost three consecutive games to give up the championship.
23 Bayern Munich, 2012 UEFA Champions Final Bayern Munich had a 1-0 lead over Chelsea in the 2012 UEFA Champions Final with seconds left in stoppage time, but they allowed a late goal and then lost the game in penalties.
24 Jean Van de Velde, 1999 Open Championship Jean Van de Velde held a three-stroke lead on the 18th hole of the 1999 Open Championship but made a series of mistakes, ultimately leading to a triple bogey and a playoff loss to Paul Lawrie.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers, 2018 NBA Finals, Game 1
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