I’m getting all negative on you, I know, but with the latest batch of playoffs coming in a week, full of memorable moments and legend-making performances, it seems like a good time to rain on the parade of that stuff once again, and point out some more mistakes, gaffes, and crap that’s happened on the biggest stages in sports. Here, today, I present for your enjoyment the Rich Kotite approved Top 10 Worst Major Games of my lifetime. These are not all blowouts mind you, a couple were moderately close, a couple didn’t live up to hype, but most are routs. They were all for one reason or another so boring as to cause me to almost want to change the channel. Enjoy.
10. 2004 ALCS Game 7. Very memorable and pleasurable for us Sox fans, but let’s be honest here. After the marathon games 4 and 5, the Schilling bloody sock game 6 that also featured A-Rod’s slap and riot police circling around Yankee Stadium (we were at that game), this game was a total letdown. It was a beatdown and a coronation yes, but a great game, no. It was over by the 3rd inning. If I wasn’t a Sox fan, I’ll admit I’d have turned it off --- I remember Brandon wasn’t paying attention after the 6th. So much hype, so little competition involved. Red Sox 10, Yankees 3.
9. Super Bowl XXXVII. When a game was so bad it’s memorable for a guy hustling to force a fumble on a showboating defender, well, it couldn’t have been very good. That, and Michael Jackson’s halftime performance where he froze for what seemed like 10 minutes. Just more pain for Buffalo fans in this one and the beginning of the Cowboys dynasty. Cowboys 52, Bills 17.
8. 2002 NCAA basketball final. I have never seen an uglier major college basketball game than this “defensive battle” between the Terps and Hoosiers. The field goal percentages in this game were a whopping 43.8% for Maryland vs. 34.5% for Indiana. No player recorded more than Juan Dixon’s 18 points. Indiana had 25 points in the first half. This game was just close enough to force you to keep watching, but ugly enough to make you cringe. Maryland 64, Indiana 52.
7. Super Bowl XX. Notice a trend beginning? The last 22 years have featured some heinous Super Bowls. Luckily I was two for this Super Bowl, so I don’t have much (read: any) recollection of it. I do watch those ESPN/NFL Films half hour recaps a lot though, and I know any time you pull your starter in a championship game, that’s not good. One of the ugliest ugly late 1980s early 1990s Super Bowls where the NFC had such a huge edge over the AFC. I also like making gratuitous Fridge Perry references, if you haven’t noticed already. Bears 46, Pats 10. How the pats even got 10 on the Monsters of the Midway I’m unsure.
6. Super Bowl XXXV. The modern version of Super Bowl XX, where a dominant D completely obliterated the other team’s offense. I’ve never seen a more frightened QB than Kerry Collins. If only the Ravens had a QB other than Trent Dilfer behind center, this could have easily been the worst Super Bowl ever. Alas, it’s only second. The highlight was seeing the Walt Disney commercial the next day, featuring none other than Dilfer, as Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis wasn’t featured for…legal transgressions. Ravens 34, Giants 7.
5. 1991 Stanley Cup Game 6. Pittsburgh 8, Minnesota 0. Clinching game of a world championship and you lose by 8 goals? How is that possible? Did the team all get the flu the night before? I mean they did win two games after all. There are blowouts between two teams of a different class, but this one goes in the “Didn’t Bother to Show Up” genre. As mentioned, Penguins 8, North Stars 0.
4. 1985 World Series Game 7. Cards fans love to blame ump Don Denkinger and his infamous bad call at first in Game 6, but they seem to have collective amnesia on Bret Saberhagen and the Royals’ dominance in game 7. Another one you can chalk up in the “Didn’t Bother to Show Up” genre. Losing 11-0 in the World Series is pretty much the equivalent of losing 8-0 in the Stanley Cup. This game also represents the Royals last playoff game, strangely enough, or not so much. Royals 11, Cardinals 0.
3. 2002 Rose Bowl. I may be being harsher on this game than it deserves, but honestly, Nebraska had no business in that game whatsoever. No one was beating the U that year, but certainly given its Fiesta Bowl dominance the Joey Harrington led Oregon Ducks could have put up a better fight than the Huskers did. This game was over early, filled with controversy, began Eric Crouch’s fall from grace, and left a bad taste in America’s mouth. Miami 37, Nebraska 14.
2. 2005 Orange Bowl. Just like had occurred a mere three years before, a Big XII team snuck in the back door to reach the BCS championship game only to get pounded while another comparable team was shut out and then beat its bowl opponent. In this case the router was USC, the routee was Oklahoma, and the team on the outside was Auburn. What puts this game over the ’02 Rose Bowl is the final score. This one was so bad I actually did change the channel. I never do that, but here, I made an exception. OU really hasn’t been the same since. USC 55, Oklahoma 19.
1. Super Bowl XXIV. I was five for this game and a huge Elway fan. Well, I’ll put it to you this way, I remember being on my bed bawling as my parents consoled me around halftime. It was that bad. It took me maybe five years to get over it and respect the 49ers. I still cringe when I see these NFL films “highlights.” This was the biggest rout on the biggest stage in sports. It more than deserves the title of Worst Major Game of My Lifetime. And, come on, you knew it HAD to be a Super Bowl. 49ers 55, Broncos 10. Congratulations George Seifert, you made a five-year-old cry, you big meanie.