10 Biggest Choke Artists in the NFL

Nick KostoraContributor IIINovember 15, 2012

10 Biggest Choke Artists in the NFL

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    It takes a special kind of person to be labeled a "choke artist," and I mean that in the worst way possible.

    Players and coaches alike have been guilty of falling apart at the most critical of moments, doing tremendous jobs when the lights are dimmed, but disappearing when they shine their brightest.

    Some names are obvious. We all know about the troubles of Tony Romo and Philip Rivers, but which of their fellow quarterbacks join the ranks?

    How many coaches have the "choke artist" label?

    Let's examine the top 10 biggest choke artists in the NFL today.

10. Rex Ryan

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    The New York Jets are an absolute mess right now. Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow is a viable option at starting QB. The defense has fallen apart without Darrelle Revis in the secondary, and Rex Ryan has lost control of his locker room.

    Actually, he lost it long ago, but the fact remains that Ryan frequently puts his foot in his mouth (no pun intended) and makes bone-headed decisions that cost New York games.

    He must be commended for making the AFC Championship game twice, but the Jets lost both of those games and missed the playoffs altogether last season.

9. Mike Wallace

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    In his postseason career, Mike Wallace has caught 16 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers seem average but not terrible.

    That is until you consider that most of that production came in just one game where he had nine catches for 89 yards and a score.

    Wallace was completely useless against the Denver Broncos in the divisional round last season, and he's made it a theme this season to drop passes at inopportune times.

    He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and will undoubtedly demand top dollars, but he needs to improve with games hanging in the balance.

8. Matt Cassel

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    Matt Cassel has not been in too many high-pressure situations. He was a backup his entire collegiate career and then sat behind Tom Brady for a number of years.

    Even when he was given a chance to start for the Patriots in 2008 and went 11-5, the team missed the playoffs, and Cassel missed a chance to shine.

    However, on a smaller scale, he tends to crumble in moments that matter. An overtime interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football last week was only the latest instance of Cassel falling apart in the clutch.

7. Mike Vick

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    He boasts a 2-3 postseason record with four interceptions and a 55.6 completion percentage. It appears Michael Vick simply does not make his team better when it matters.

    Whether in Atlanta or Philadelphia, Vick has thrown costly interceptions and allowed his mobility to get the better of him in crucial situations.

    The current turmoil the Eagles find themselves in may not be Vick's fault (that blame falls with the offensive line), but that does not excuse his inability to step up in the clutch.

6. Andy Reid

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    And what's a quarterback without his head coach?

    When you are the leader of an NFL franchise for over a decade and do not win a Super Bowl, something is wrong.

    This is not to say that winning it all is easy, but Andy Reid has had ample time to get the job done in Philadelphia, and he has failed to win it all.

    Regular-season success matters little when the Eagles falter in the playoffs year after year.

    2012 has been tumultuous for Philadelphia, and the changes are undoubtedly not over, so perhaps Reid will get a chance to try his hand with another organization next season.

5. Michael Turner

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    The entire Atlanta Falcons roster could be considered choke artists in recent playoff outings, but two players stand above the rest.

    Let's start with the running back, Michael Turner.

    Turner's postseason struggles stem all the way back to his days in San Diego. Of his seven career playoff games, he is yet to rush for 100 yards in any contest. Turner has amassed just 310 yards and three touchdowns in those seven games.

    A 2011 matchup against the New York Giants was Turner's latest playoff disappointment, as he rushed for 41 yards on 15 carries.

    A choke artist at his worst.

4. Matt Ryan

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    Matt Ryan's postseason failures are well-documented and have been heavily criticized. The Atlanta Falcons QB is 0-3 in the postseason with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

    It does not matter how electric and dominant the Falcons look in the regular season when the team cannot get over the postseason hump.

    Ryan is constantly going to have a stigma around his name until he can get a W in the race for the Lombardi Trophy.

    As it stands, he is just another choke artist.

3. Philip Rivers

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    Our second QB/head coach combo kicks off with Philip Rivers.

    Rivers used to be known as a borderline elite quarterback that failed in the postseason. However, this year, he has moved his choking schedule up to the regular season and has cost San Diego multiple games.

    His playoff record is nothing to get excited about; Rivers has three wins and four losses while throwing eight touchdowns and nine interceptions.

    The entire Rivers/Turner dynamic has clearly played itself out, and one (or both) of them will need to exit the Chargers organization sooner rather than later.

2. Norv Turner

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    How San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner is still employed is anyone's guess, but the fact of the matter is that he refuses to get the job done when it matters.

    Turner is 4-4 in the playoffs during his career, and lately, he can't even lead the Chargers to regular-season success.

    San Diego has missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons and looks well on its way to being left out of the postseason again in 2012.

1. Tony Romo

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    There is no escaping that Tony Romo is the biggest choke artist in the NFL today.

    Before we get into what makes him fail in critical moments, let's cover what he has done well, because believe it or not, Tony Romo has an impressive 14 fourth-quarter comebacks to his credit.

    However, those tend to get lost in the shuffle when he has consistently underwhelmed in the playoffs and critical games.

    Romo will forever be infamous for botching a hold in the 2006 playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, but he is also just 1-3 in his postseason career overall.

    Romo has moments of pure brilliance and improvisation. He simply must find more consistency in his game to move away from the top spot on this list.