A Sports First: Reigning NFL, NBA and NHL Champs Lose in First Round of Playoffs

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A Sports First: Reigning NFL, NBA and NHL Champs Lose in First Round of Playoffs
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Dirk & Mavs suffer first-round departure after 2011 title

First, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers lost their first playoff game to the New York Giants. Then the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins lost their first-round series to the Washington Capitals four games to three. Finally, the defending NBA champs, the Dallas Mavericks, were swept in a four-game first-round series to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Put it all together, and it was the first time in sports history that the defending NFL, NHL and NBA champions were all defeated the following year in the first-round of the playoffs.

(If baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals make the 2012 MLB playoffs and are defeated in their first-round series, we’ll have a clean sweep of defending champs in the first round of the playoffs in 2012.)

Following is a look at each of the football, basketball and hockey champions since 1970 that were defeated in their first-round playoff the following season after their title.

Year listed is the year they won the Super Bowl, the NBA championship or Stanley Cup, followed by their first-round loss in the playoffs the following season.

 

National Football League (10)

2011 Green Bay Packers: Lost 37-20 to NY Giants in divisional playoff game

2010 New Orleans Saints: Lost 41-36 to Seattle in Wild Card playoff game

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
A quick exit for Packers in last year's playoffs

2008 NY Giants: Lost 23-11 to Philadelphia in divisional playoff game

2007 Indianapolis Colts: Lost 28-24 to San Diego in divisional playoff game

2000 St. Louis Rams: Lost 31-28 to New Orleans in Wild Card playoff game

1995 San Francisco 49ers: Lost 27-17 to Green Bay in divisional playoff game

1986 Chicago Bears: Lost 27-13 to Washington in divisional playoff game

1985 San Francisco 49ers: Lost 17-3 to NY Giants in Wild Card playoff game

1984 LA Raiders: Lost 13-7 to Seattle in Wild Card playoff game

1974 Miami Dolphins: Lost 28-26 to Oakland in divisional playoff game

 

National Basketball Association (6)

2011 Dallas Mavericks: Lost 4-0 to Oklahoma City in Western Conference first-round series

2006 Miami Heat: Lost 4-0 to Chicago in Eastern Conference first-round series

1999 San Antonio Spurs: Lost 3-1 to Phoenix in Western Conference first-round series

1983 Philadelphia 76ers: Lost 3-2 to NJ Nets in Eastern Conference first-round series

Elsa/Getty Images
Bruins suiffer first-round loss in defense of Stanley Cup

1980 LA Lakers: Lost 2-1 to Houston in Western Conference first-round series

1977 Portland Trail Blazers: Lost 4-2 to Seattle in Western Conference semifinals (they had a bye in the first round)

 

National Hockey League (12)

2011 Boston Bruins: Lost 4-3 to Washington in the conference quarterfinals

2010 Chicago Blackhawks: Lost 4-3 to Vancouver in the conference quarterfinals

2007 Anaheim Ducks: Lost 4-2 to Dallas in the conference quarterfinals

2004 Tampa Bay Lightning: Lost 4-1 to Ottawa in the 2006 conference quarterfinals (2005 season was cancelled)

2003 NJ Devils: Lost 4-1 to Philadelphia in conference quarterfinals

2002 Detroit Red Wings: Lost 4-0 to Mighty Ducks in conference quarterfinals

1993 Montreal Canadiens: Lost 4-3 to Boston in conference quarterfinals

1973 Montreal Canadiens: Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1972 Boston Bruins: Lost 4-1 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1971 Montreal Canadiens: Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1970 Boston Bruins: Lost 4-3 to Montreal in quarterfinals

 

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