25 Pictures of Athletes Who Just Lost a Championship

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterJune 11, 2013

25 Pictures of Athletes Who Just Lost a Championship

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    In the words of the very loud Herm Edwards, "You play to win the game." The former New York Jets coach-turned-ESPN talking head isn't known for his eloquence as a speaker. 

    Let's just say he wouldn't be the first choice to recite a Shakespearean soliloquy, unless sudden movements and a complete lack of an inside voice appeal to your sensibilities. 

    Yet for all his faults and terrible coaching, Edwards got it right just once. You do play to win the game—why else would you be playing? 

    Even the most mild-mannered professional athlete off the field usually flips a switch once competition begins. As unrealistic as it may be, athletes want to win every single game, even in the regular season—multiply that by 10 in the postseason and by 100 in the championship game.

    As fans, many of us know the pain of watching our favorite athletes lose in the big game. That is, assuming we're lucky enough to see them make it there to begin with. And we're just watching…and usually drunk. Which can dull the pain...or amplify the rage. 

    Either way, most of us have never played in a big game and never will.

    That may be a bummer for anyone out there who dreamed of being a professional ball player, but the silver lining is that we'll never have to feel the pain of these 25 athletes who just lost a championship. 

25. Odell Beckham and Morris Claiborne: 2012 BCS Championship

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    Date: January 2012
    Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 

    The all-SEC matchup in the 2013 BCS Championship game was a controversial choice to begin with. The teams had met in a battle of field goals earlier in the season that went into overtime.

    And while undefeated LSU handed Alabama its only loss, 9-6, few people outside the conference were eager to see a rematch of that game. The championship game was higher scoring yet more boring, with 'Bama winning easily, 21-0. 

    In the final seconds of the game, the Tigers' Odell Beckham and Morris Claiborne knelt on the sideline together—obviously coming to terms with LSU's abject failure on offense. Their defense carried them to an undefeated season despite their putrid offense. 

24. Maria Sharapova: 2013 French Open

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    Date: June 2013
    Location: Stade Roland Garros, Paris

    Maybe it's because she has plenty of hardware of her own already. Whatever the reason, Maria Sharapova managed to keep a vague semblance of a smile after being defeated by Serena Williams at the French Open. 

    These women have been the two most passionate and dominant players in their sport over the last decade, and Sharapova must know there's no shame in going down to Williams. 

    Not that she wouldn't have wanted it the other way around or anything. 

23. Omar Infante: 2012 World Series

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    Date: October 2012
    Location: Comerica Park, Detroit 

    You can see the strain on the face of the Detroit Tigers' Omar Infante in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series against the Giants. You can also see the pain too. 

    The strain came from the fact that San Francisco was minutes away from sweeping Detroit, capping the series off with a 16-6 blowout. The pain came from being nailed with a pitch by Giants hurler Santiago Casilla. 

    Talk about adding insult to injury—the Giants' specialty. At least nobody whipped a battery at his face. 

22. Perrish Cox: Super Bowl XLVII

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    Date: February 2013
    Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 

    The 49ers Perrish Cox took a moment to reflect on San Francisco's loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. He was one of the few players not wearing purple to remain on the field for even a brief time after the devastating conclusion. 

    Even though the confetti was purple and the media were almost entirely focused on the Ravens, you can't blame Cox for wanted to take a moment to soak in the sights—especially after such a roller coaster of a game. 

    And if he's lucky enough to get back to another Super Bowl in his career, you can guarantee he'll be remembering the sting of this moment and playing out of his mind to avoid a repeat. 

21. Arjen Robben: 2010 FIFA World Cup

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    Date: July 2010 
    Location: Johannesburg, South Africa  

    A devastated Arjen Robben of the Netherlands reacted in the final moments of the 2010 FIFA World Cup loss in the final match against Spain. 

    It was another 1-0 thriller in the supposedly biggest sporting event in the world. At least it didn't end in a tie. 

20. Scott Daly: 2013 BCS Championship

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    Date: January 2013
    Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami 

    Notre Dame's Scott Daly knelt in the final moments of the 2013 BCS National Championship game against Alabama—a game that was all but over by halftime.  

    The game was the most highly touted of the BCS era, thanks in large part to the rabid and shockingly expansive fanbase of the Irish. Too bad it turned out to be even less of a game than the 2012 championship.

    When the highlight of the broadcast was Brent Musburger leering at women in the stands, you know you had a dud on your hands. No wonder Daly was so down. 

19. Abby Wambach: 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup

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    Date: July 2011
    Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany 

    Like all of her teammates, American soccer star Abby Wambach had trouble holding back her emotions when the favored United States fell to Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup final.

    The match was tied 1-1 after regulation and 2-2 after overtime, forcing a penalty-kick shootout. Japan won 3-1 in penalty kicks, and the silver medal offered little consolation to the American women. 

    Don't worry about Wambach, though; she rebounded in a big way by winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

18. Philadelphia Flyers: 2010 Stanley Cup Final

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    Date: June 2010
    Location: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia 

    The Philadelphia Flyers won two Stanley Cups in franchise history—back-to-back in 1973-74 and 1974-75. So when they faced off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 final, they had the weight of 35 years of coming up short on their shoulders. 

    Nobody on the team told me that personally, but the look on their faces after losing Game 6 in overtime, hence losing the series, said it all. 

    Philadelphia certainly made a run against Chicago but came up short. And there's nothing more brutal than coming up short in OT in a game that would have forced a Game 7. Ouch.

    Oh, and in front of your home crowd. Double ouch. 

17. Brett Keisel, Super Bowl XLV

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    Date: February 2011
    Location: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington 

    You'd think the power of the beard of the Pittsburgh's Brett Keisel would have been enough all on its own to power the Steelers over the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. That's a beard that can make a grown man cry. 

    Unfortunately for Keisel, in this instance, he was the grown man crying. The game was pretty close until the end, but Pittsburgh was plagued by turnovers, which were too much to overcome. 

    Oh, and Green Bay wasn't too bad either. 

16. Cristiano Ronaldo: 2013 Copa Del Rey

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    Date: May 2013
    Location: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid 

    Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo already looked like he knew they had lost to Atletico de Madrid at the Copa del Rey Final when he reacted with such desperation to a free kick dinging the post.

    At the time, the match was tied at 1-1.

    Ronaldo, and likely everyone else in the stadium, knew it was really over when he earned a red card and an ejection minutes later. Atletico went on to win the match 2-1, and almost no one felt sorry for Ronaldo. 

15. Kevin Durant: 2012 NBA Finals

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    Date: June 2012
    Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami 

    Despite a valiant effort on the part of Kevin Durant's Oklahoma Thunder, they just didn't have the juice to get it done against the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals.

    The Thunder were younger and less experienced. The Heat were more mature and had a chip on their shoulder the size of Dallas, having lost to the Mavericks in the Finals the year before.

    Oklahoma City actually won the first game by 10 points but couldn't muster another win in the series. The Heat took it all in Game 5, and Durant couldn't do anything but look on in disappointment. 

14. Thierry Henry: 2006 FIFA World Cup

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    Date: July 2006
    Location: Olympiastadion, Berlin

    Longtime superstar Thierry Henry was a member of the infamous French team that was defeated by Italy in the FIFA World Cup back in 2006.

    The team wasn't infamous because of him but rather for the headbutt Zinedine Zidane maliciously served Marco Materazzi in the chest. Apparently, Italy's Materazzi had insulted Zidane's sister, but the referees were unsympathetic and issued Zidane a red card. 

    Zidane remains glad that he was booted from the game, but teammates like Henry are likely less than impressed with his convictions.

    Thankfully Henry had won the cup in 1998, which makes the fact that he's now playing for the New York Red Bulls easier to bear. 

13. LSU Tigers: 2012 BCS Championship

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    Date: January 2012
    Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 

    It became apparent early on in the 2012 BCS Championship that LSU was going to have some serious issues on offense. The Tigers relied on their defense to pull double duty for most of the season, and it worked pretty well. But they didn't have to play Alabama's defense for most of the season. 

    The game started off slow, with 'Bama scoring three points in the first quarter and six points in each of the next three quarters. The Tigers countered with absolutely nothing. As time ran out, every player on the LSU bench was well aware he was going to walk into the locker room...not victorious.

    Calling college kids "losers" just seemed mean. 

12. Lolo Jones: 2008 Olympics in Beijing

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    Date: August 2008
    Location: Olympic Games, Beijing 

    American hurdler Lolo Jones was the favorite to win the women's 110m hurdles final on Day 11 of the Beijing games. A last-minute stumble on a hurdle cost her precious fractions of a second, landing her in fourth place and off the podium altogether. 

    Jones spent four years training to right that wrong at the 2012 Olympics in London, but again she could only muster another fourth -place finish. Her face after that event looked kind of like this one but more sad than stunned. 

    Apparently she's training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. If she finishes fourth again, Jones should be banned from jumping over things in an official capacity for America. 

11. Andy Murray: 2012 Wimbledon Finals

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    Date: July 2012
    Location: Wimbledon Lawn, London 

    Scottish tennis player Andy Murray had yet to win his first Grand Slam of his career when he had the unfortunate matchup against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Finals.

    When he succumbed to Federer, Murray was despondent about losing on his home soil. You are looking at this man on what might literally have been the worst day of his life—perhaps the worst moment of the worst day of his life. 

    The good news is that he beat Federer just weeks later in the gold medal match at the 2012 Olympics in London and later went on to win his first Grand Slam. So hopefully he'll stop being such a baby now. 

10. Detroit Red Wing: 2009 Stanley Cup Finals

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    Date: June 2009
    Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit 

    For two straight seasons, the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins met in the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2008, the Wings dominated early, shutting out the Pens in the first two games before going on to beat them in six. 

    In 2009, Pittsburgh fought back in a big way and took the series to Game 7 on Detroit's home turf. The Penguins managed to cling to a 2-1 lead in the game and win their first championship in almost 20 years. 

    The Red Wings did not take it well and may have been weeping on the bench at the end of the game. Considering they were still trying to shake the "sting" of the loss four months later, my guess is that they were probably weeping. 

9. Peyton Manning: Super Bowl XLIV

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    Date: February 2010
    Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami 

    With minutes ticking away in Super Bowl XLIV, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning looked like a defeated man on the field. The Colts started off fast, scoring the first 10 points, but after halftime it was all New Orleans Saints.

    The Colts were down by two touchdowns as the game came to an end, but they might as well have been down by 100 from the looks of Manning's body language.

    It's difficult for some sports fans to root for any athlete who's not on their own team, but Manning is one of the few players who transcend that notion.

    I wish I could go back in time and give him a hug...and then probably get arrested. 

8. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade: 2011 NBA Finals

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    Date: June 2011
    Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami 

    Miami Heat teammates and friends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade looked like they were being forced to answer questions at gunpoint after being defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in six games at the 2011 NBA Finals.

    The score of Game 6 was 105-95—so not even close. Not that the final score, or the loss in general, stopped King James from lashing out at his critics, whom he essentially called jealous haters with crappy lives. 

    What can I say, he's always had a way with the media. 

7. Hope Solo: 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup

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    Date: July 2011
    Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany 

    American soccer goalie Hope Solo fought back tears after a devastating loss to Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup final. It's no wonder she was particularly devastated, as the game was tied 2-2 at the end of overtime, resulting in a penalty-kick shootout.

    The Japanese won 3-1. The fact that a game of such magnitude was decided on penalty kicks? Well, that's a travesty. 

    You have to give Solo credit, though; she handled this loss with far more grace and dignity than her elimination from the ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars. 

    That gave her about six months to practice her gracious loser face. It still needs work, though.

6. Michigan Wolverines: 2013 NCAA Championship Game

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    Date: April 2013
    Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta 

    Michigan's Caris LeVert, Max Bielfeldt, Blake McLimans and Eso Akunne sat stunned in the locker room, coming to grips with their 82-76 loss to Louisville in the NCAA championship. 

    The NCAA tournament is one of the most exciting American sporting events of the year, not to mention one of the most intense. They probably needed more than a few minutes of staring quietly to absorb that brutal loss. 

    Hopefully nobody tried to cheer them up by telling them what a great year it was for Louisville sports and that there was no shame in losing to the Cardinals. It may be true...but many walls would have been punched. 

5. Tiger Woods: 2009 PGA Championship

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    Date: August 2009
    Location: Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minneapolis 

    Everyone knows that golf great Tiger Woods hasn't won a major in quite some time. In fact, his drought dates all the way back to the 2008 U.S. Open. He took second at The Masters the same year. 

    The best that Woods has done in a major since then was his second-place finish at the 2009 PGA Championship. As you can tell by his reaction to losing to Y.E. Yang by three strokes, coming in second wasn't much solace to him. 

    Woods is the original Ricky Bobby—if you ain't first, you're last. He looks the same whether he finishes in second place or fails to even make the cut. Gotta love the consistency. 

4. Tom Brady: Super Bowl XLVI

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    Date: February 2012
    Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pondered his second career loss to an underdog New York Giants team in a championship game, but this time it was at Super Bowl XLVI. He exited the stadium after the 21-17 loss. 

    The emotional low that comes from having to walk through a massive storm of confetti and a celebration for the team that just beat you is completely unfathomable...to us. 

    Brady is used to it by now. 

3. McKayla Maroney: 2012 London Olympics

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    Date: August 2012
    Location: Olympic Games, London 

    American gymnast McKayla Maroney did quite well for herself at the Summer Olympics in 2012, winning the team all-around gold at the age of just 16.

    Unfortunately, she came up just short in the individual vault competition, placing second in the event. Her displeasure with the silver medal became a global sensation. 

    This photo isn't the one that inspired her iconic meme, but the fact that she's literally covering up her silver medal in disappointment really shows her devastation. 

2. Chris Bosh: 2011 NBA Finals

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    Date: June 2011
    Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami 

    After being defeated by 20 points by the Dallas Mavericks in a decisive Game 6, Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh looked sad and small while answering media questions during the postgame press conference.

    At least he did it without a sidekick, which is more that I can say for two of the Heat's Big Three.

1. Colin Kaepernick: Super Bowl XLVII

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    Date: February 2013
    Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 

    Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, looked to be in absolute despair as he addressed the media following a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

    The game was a bizarre one that came down to the final seconds, which obviously compounded his pain. Not that the first-year starter had anything to be ashamed about, since he had an extraordinary season. It's just too bad it was capped with such a big loss.

    The good news is that the future looks bright for Kaepernick in San Francisco. 

     

    As someone whose soccer team routinely went defeated in high school—as in losing all the games—technically I know what loss is all about. But when you never win, it sure takes the edge off losing.

    So if you wanna follow a soccer loser on Twitter, that'd be awesome. But if you don't, it's okay, because I'm used to it!