My condolences, Cleveland. Another one of your teams blew it again. Choked. Spit the bit, gripped and gagged.
And, thus, your professional franchises clinch the Jean Van de Buckner Award, a dubious trophy that no doubt will slip through their fingers, much like this season's Eastern Conference playoff series against the Celtics. And The Fumble. And The Drive, The Shot, the '97 Series, the '07 ALCS and most likely
That's not to say the professional sports teams in Cleveland are alone. The most chokingest sports cities in America have teams tripping over themselves trying to catch Cleveland's. It was a close contest, of course, because all the contenders have notoriously buckled at the knees with parched throats and quivering hands.
Here are my Top Ten Chokingest Sports Cities in America -- or bottom 10, depending on how you look at it.
First, a few guidelines. Foremost, remember that choking is an art, not a science. In other words, if a city's teams are just bad, that's not exactly choking in my mind. You have to have hopes before you can lose them all. In other words, Kansas City is not on my list. The Royals and Chiefs have been more flat-out awful than teasingly good. Conversely, just because a city has won a championship or five doesn't mean it hasn't mastered the art of the choke and creating heartache for its fans... are you listening Dallas?
And so I begin:
And then there's the litany of Mavericks chokes: The Finals collapse against the Heat in 2006 after leading 2-0 in the series, the first-round flop against the Warriors in 2007 (the first time ever in a seven-game series that a No. 8 seed beat a No. 1), and having it all capped with a meek first-round exit against the Spurs this year.
All that said, McNabb is not the face of choking in this one-time choke capitol of the free world. That would be
Suns fans would get used to it.
Then there are the Padres. They have won division titles and made two World Series, but never gave themselves a chance in either one, losing in five games to the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and being swept by the Yankees in 1998.
Then there is the next-greatest era of Vikings history, ending with the perfect accuracy of
They were monumental in defeat, doing all the things that nervous, choking teams do. Thomas forgot his helmet. The team failed to show up in Pasadena and got waxed 52-17 by the Cowboys. On and on it went.
4. Orlando. Just because a city has only one major professional sports franchise doesn't mean it doesn't rank among the biggest gaggers of all in my book.
A few years later, young
This may well be the definition of Choke City. Sure, Atlanta has had its share of heartbreak in football and basketball, from
Detailed explanations are not necessary. All you need to know about the heartbreak and choking ways of this city are snippets: Bills-Oilers, 1993. Luv Ya Blue and
Say what you will about