One-and-Done Best Regular Season Teams
2011-12 Chicago Bulls (50-16)
Since 2000, the teams with the best regular season record in the four major professional leagues have gone one-and-done 17 times. Here's a look at their futility, starting with the Chicago Bulls, who were ousted in six games by the Philadelphia 76ers, completing the first year ever that the top seed in all four leagues went one-and-done in the playoffs. A year after Chicago reached the Eastern Conference finals, the team earned home-court advantage, even though reigning MVP Derrick Rose missed 27 regular season games. With Rose back, the Bulls looked like a title threat. But with a minute left in a playoff-opening win over the 76ers, he tore his ACL on a move near the basket. With its star out for the postseason, Chicago lost in six games to Philadelphia.
2011-12 Vancouver Canucks <br> (111 points)
Vancouver finished with a league-best 111 points. Its first round opponent, Los Angeles, sneaked into the playoffs with only three regular season games left. But from the start, the Kings were the aggressor. In Game 2, L.A. scored two short-handed goals. Jonathan Quick was strong in the net for the Kings, recording 46 saves in Game 2 and shutting out the Canucks in Game 3. Vancouver struggled between the pipes. The Canucks benched starter Roberto Luongo after he gave up four goals in each of the first two games. Backup Cory Schneider played better but still went only 1-2 in his starts.
2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1)
Green Bay flirted with a perfect regular season behind MVP Aaron Rodgers, but the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning were clearly the stronger team in a 37-20 win at Lambeau Field in the Divisional playoffs. Manning threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, and New York's defense repeatedly attacked Rodgers, who never got comfortable in the pocket. The Giants sacked Rodgers four times and recovered three fumbles. New York went on to beat New England in Super Bowl XLVI.
2011 Philadelphia Phillies (102-60)
Philadelphia won a major league-best 102 games during the regular season, but the team was designed for success in the postseason behind its deep rotation. The opposing Cardinals found enough offense to split the first four games of the series, though, setting up a winner-take-all matchup between aces. St. Louis star Chris Carpenter outdueled Roy Halladay in a 1-0 win in Game 5. The only run of the game came in the top of the first when Skip Schumaker doubled home Rafael Furcal. Ryan Howard grounded out to end the game and suffered a torn Achilles tendon coming out of the batter's box-- he limped a couple of steps and crumpled to the ground as St. Louis started to celebrate. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series.
2010 New England Patriots (14-2)
The Patriots closed the regular season on an eight-game winning streak, including a 45-3 rout of the Jets on Monday Night Football. But Rex Ryan kept alive his preseason promise of a Super Bowl for one more week when his Jets dominated the Patriots at the line of scrimmage. Tom Brady was sacked five times, and New England's high-powered offense was held under 30 points for the first time in more than two months in a 28-21 loss. The Jets fell the following week to Pittsburgh.
2009-10 Washington Capitals (121 points)
The President's Trophy winner jumped out to a three-games-to-one lead in its opening round series with the Canadiens. But the Capitals scored only one goal in each of the final three games as the No. 8 seed downed the Cup favorites. Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak put on a clinic in the final three games, recording 141 saves over those three contests. "It'll be on ESPN Classic tomorrow as one of the greatest goalie performances," Halak's teammate Mike Cammalleri said after the goalie's 53-save performance in Game 6.
2008-09 San Jose Sharks <br> (117 points)
San Jose's home-ice advantage didn't last long. No. 8 seed Anaheim swept the first two games of the series on its way to eliminating the Sharks. San Jose was shut out twice in the series, after being shut out only three times in the entire regular season. "Did we get what we deserved? We could have played better, obviously, in some games," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told reporters after his team was eliminated.
2008 Tennessee Titans (13-3)
Tennessee rookie running back Chris Johnson showed his Pro Bowl form early in his team's playoff opener with the Ravens. He rushed in the game's first touchdown and averaged 6.5 yards per carry before leaving with an ankle injury late in the first half. Without Johnson, the Titans offense struggled to finish drives, and had three turnovers in the game. Perhaps the biggest Tennessee turnover came with about 9 minutes to go when Alge Crumpler fumbled near the Baltimore goal line and the Ravens recovered, preventing the Titans from taking a late lead. Baltimore kicker Matt Stover booted a 43-yard game-winner with less than a minute left to give his team a 13-10 win. "We really have no one to blame but ourselves," Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins said afterward. "This one's going to hurt for a while."
2008 Los Angeles Angels (100-62)
The Angels' prize for winning a major-league best 100 games? The defending champion Red Sox, who had won nine straight playoff games against the Angels entering the series. Boston was in control from the start, and the only positive for Los Angeles was that it ended its losing streak with a Game 3 victory. The turning point might have been in Game 2. J.D. Drew, who had battled back problems that some thought would end his season, drilled a two-run home run in the ninth inning to give Boston a 7-5 win.
2006-07 Dallas Mavericks (67-15)
Dallas drew its nightmare matchup in the first round: Ex-coach Don Nelson and the Warriors had won five straight over the Mavericks. Golden State's success continued in the series as the Mavericks became the first team with more than 65 wins in a season to be eliminated in the first round. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki was widely criticized for his playoff performance, especially his 2-for-13 shooting in the Warriors' 25-point win in Game 6 to close the series.
2006 San Diego Chargers (14-2)
San Diego, undefeated at home all season, entered the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak. In a game filled with mistakes by both teams, San Diego led the New England Patriots 21-13 in the fourth quarter. After intercepting Tom Brady for the third time in the game, safety Marlon McCree had the ball stripped by Troy Brown. New England recovered, tied the game, and eventually won 24-21 on a late field goal. San Diego's last-second gasp was kicker Nate Kaeding's failed attempt on a 54-yard field goal, sealing the fate of head coach Marty Schottenheimer. A week later the Patriots would blow a championship-game record 18-point lead in Indianapolis.
2006 New York Yankees (97-65)
The high-powered Yankees' offense was clicking in Game 1, with shortstop Derek Jeter going 5-for-5 and New York dominating in an 8-4 win. From there, Detroit's pitching took over. New York scored only six runs in the final three games as the Tigers eliminated the World Series favorites. "You kind of get tired of giving the other team credit," Alex Rodriguez told reporters after the team was eliminated. "At some point you've got to look in the mirror and say, 'I sucked.'"
2005-06 Detroit Red Wings <br> (124 points)
Top-seeded Detroit ran into a team ready to make a big run. The Red Wings were first on the Oilers' path to the Stanley Cup finals. In the clinching Game 6, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky scored with 1:06 left in the third period to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead. "I am shocked we're in this situation," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said afterward. Defenseman Mathieu Schneider put it more bluntly: "We didn't play like the No. 1 seed."
2005 Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
Indianapolis' season ended in one of the craziest finishes in NFL history. Pittsburgh dominated from the start but held only a 21-18 lead late in the game. With the chance to close Indianapolis out, running back Jerome Bettis fumbled for the first time all season. Nick Harper, who had been cut in an alleged domestic dispute the previous day, picked up the loose ball and ran it downfield. He seemed on his way to the end zone, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made a touchdown-saving tackle. The Colts' had a shot at a game-tying field goal, but kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed the 46-yarder.
2002 New York Yankees (103-58)
It was the year of the Rally Monkey, and the Yankees were just the first stop for the Angels. Anaheim, with their white-headed capuchin monkey acting as mascot, made a run to the World Series title. New York took Game 1 of the ALDS, but the Angels responded by taking three straight. Anaheim scored 31 runs in the four games and hit .376 in the series.
2000 Tennessee Titans (13-3)
Tennessee ran into division rival Baltimore and an all-time great defense in its divisional playoff game. Baltimore dominated the Titans' offense, holding Eddie George to 3.4 yards per carry and Steve McNair to 24-for-46 passing. With the game tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter, Al Del Greco's field goal attempt was blocked and returned 90 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. Later, a McNair pass to George bounced off the running back's hands, and Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, the league's defensive player of the year, returned the interception for a touchdown. The Titans' defense was also strong, holding Trent Dilfer to 5-for-16 passing, but it wasn't enough against the eventual Super Bowl champions.
2000 San Francisco Giants (97-65)
The Giants had their opportunities and, with a couple breaks, may have swept the Mets. Instead, they dropped both Game 2 and Game 3 in extra innings. In Game 2, the Giants rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. But their momentum stopped when the Mets' Jay Payton drilled an RBI-single to center in the top of the 10th. In Game 3, San Francisco didn't score after the fourth inning. Benny Agbayani drilled a walk-off home run in the 13th to seal the New York win. The Mets then closed the series at Shea Stadium in Game 4.