Biggest Collapses in Sports History
Lost in the story of LeBron James fulfilling his championship promise to the city of Cleveland was the Golden State Warriors’ collapse. Despite being heavily favored in the series, they blew a 3–1 series lead and lost Game 7 at home. Below are some of the biggest collapses that have ever happened in sports.
2016 Golden State Warriors
After coming back from down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City, karma got the better of the Warriors. Cleveland beating Golden State three straight times sounded tough enough, but beating them twice at Oracle Arena — where the home team had lost just four of their last 54 games — seemed impossible. Alas, the Cavs became the first team to come back from down 3–1 in the NBA Finals, and they did it against the greatest regular season team of all time. Golden State lost the same amount of home games in the Finals as they did in the whole regular season.
2016 Masters, Jordan Spieth
By the final round of this year’s Masters, Jordan Spieth was on the verge of taking home his second straight Green Jacket. Then disaster struck at Amen’s Corner. Spieth arguably played the worst three holes of golf in his career, as he bogeyed on 10 and 11. On the 12th hole, the ultimate meltdown happened, as Spieth recorded a quadruple bogey. Spieth hit two shots into the water, and in the blink of an eye, he went from cruising to the win to being down three strokes to eventual champion Danny Willett.
2013 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs were on the road in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins, but they were playing like the home team. Toronto held a 4-1 lead over Boston with just 11 minutes to go in the third period. From that point on things didn’t go Toronto’s way, as Boston scored three straight goals, including two in the final two minutes of regulation with the goalie pulled. With a goal from Patrice Bergeron in overtime, the Bruins won the game and moved onto the second round. The Leafs have not made the playoffs since.
2014 Oakland Athletics
The Athletics had the best record in MLB at the All-Star break (59–36), and they were a World Series favorite. At the trade deadline, the A’s acquired starting pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. But the move turned out to hurt their lineup more than it helped their pitching staff. By the middle of August, the A’s went through a brutal 36-game stretch, during which they went 11–25. Oakland finished the season 10 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, and they didn't make the Wild Card game until the last day of the season. Then, in that game, Oakland blew three different leads in the game, including a 7–3 lead in the 7th inning. Oakland ended up losing to Kansas City in the 12th inning, as the A’s ended their up-and-down season in fitting fashion.
2004 New York Yankees
One year after Aaron Boone’s Game 7 walk-off homer against the Red Sox, New York had a chance to add to the suffering of Boston fans, as they were leading the ALCS 3–0 with home field advantage. Then New York became the first team to squander a 3-0 series lead in MLB history, as Boston got revenge for Boone. Boston would go on to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, winning their first title since 1918.
(Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)