15 Really Embarrassing Ways of Losing

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2013

15 Really Embarrassing Ways of Losing

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    We all know that people play sports because they're fun, build camaraderie and, let's face it, beat just sitting around on the couch all day.

    But they aren't so fun when the team you're playing for either gets buried into the ground with a blowout loss or by pulling a real choke job.

    It unfortunately happens though, and these are the most embarrassing ways we've seen it go down.

Blowout on the Big Stage

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    Final Score? 

    Alabama: 42 

    Notre Dame: 14

    After heading into the national championship game the lone bowl-eligible undefeated team (Ohio State was serving a ban), the Irish had hoped to shock the defending champs with a stout defense and timely luck.

    It didn't happen.

    The Crimson Tide rolled over Notre Dame from the beginning, embarrassing the school on national TV in a title game that only made every fan who hates the Domers smile a little bit more.

Swept After Talking Trash

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    It wasn't that the Heat steamrolled through the Bucks in this year's first round of the playoffs by sweeping them in four straight games—that's happened plenty of times before.

    The reason this one makes the list is because Bucks guard Brandon Jennings actually had the audacity to predict that his team wouldn't just make it competitive, but actually win the damn thing by eliminating the now back-to-back champs.

    It's embarrassing to get swept, but it's worse when you actually say your team will win and never lose than less than 11 points in those four games. 

Taking a Month off Work

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    After leading their division for most of the season, the 2011 Red Sox had always just assumed they'd head to the playoffs as the wild card team.

    In the words of Lee Corso though, "Not so fast, my friend."

    The Red Sox earned another heartbreak notch to their fans' belts by blowing a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays to begin the month of September, winning only seven games the last month of the season.

    If that's not bad enough, Boston blew a one-run, two-out lead to then last-place Baltimore, while the Rays overcame a seven-run deficit to win the last spot in the postseason.

    That's what I'd call brutally embarrassing.

Forgetting How Many Timeouts Your Team Has

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    I really don't want to pick on Chris Webber any more than he's already heard it from others for more than 20 years, but, in my book, his mental gaffe in the '93 national title game against North Carolina remains as one of the most embarrassing ways to lose a game.

    Had this been just a regular season game, that's one thing. But seeing that it was the biggest game of his life, forgetting what seems to be the simplest of details—how many timeouts your team has—just can't happen.

    Even after a more than solid NBA career, this mistake is the unfortunate lasting memory of Webber's playing days.

Very Unfortunate Outside Circumstances

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    On the surface, losing a three-run led in the eighth inning with just five outs to go until the World Series isn't really as embarrassing as some of the other big leads teams have blown.

    But come on, this was the Steve Bartman game, so it takes it up a whole new level.

    Looking to make their first Fall Classic since 1945—and their first title since 1916—the Cubs had one loyal fan screw them over by reaching for a Luis Castillo foul ball down the left field line.

    All of us know what happened next—the Cubs unraveled, giving up eight runs in the inning and losing 8-3, Bartman got escorted out of Wrigley Field during it all and Chicago lost the series in Game 7 as poor Stevie boy went into Witness Protection.

    To this day though, you can't tell me you wouldn't have gone for that ball too.

Doing All the Work for the Other Team

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    While one would think that this is embarrassing for Stade Olympique De L'Emyrne because their team gave up 149 goals, it's actually a little bit deeper than just that reason.

    Sure, anytime a soccer team nets four goals in a match, it's usually a bad thing, but this one's terrible because Adema didn't even score any of the goals, Stade Olympique did.

    Confused? Here's the deal.

    After a 2-2 tie in Olympique's previous match—knocking them out of title contention after a late and disputed penalty kick call—head coach Zaka Be wanted to protest against the refs.

    There wasn't a better stage than his squad's next match, as Olympique never let Adema touch the ball, putting all 149 goals in themselves.

Blowing a Divisional Lead

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    With a number of different culprits who could have made this list, the '07 Mets earn a spot because it was both a) in my lifetime and b) not for a wild card spot (like the Red Sox and Braves).

    Leading a weak NL East by nine games in mid-September, most teams would be confident enough to rest their starters, set their rotation and begin planning for the playoffs.

    Maybe that's what New York did too much of though?

    Losing six of their last seven games for the cherry on top of the embarrassing flop, the Mets stayed home in October, as the Phillies happily stole their spot—only to get swept in the first round.

By Disqualification

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    Billed as "The Sound and the Fury" since it pinned a rematch between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield for the Heavyweight title, spectators got everything they had hoped—and more.

    With the two best fighters at that time going at it, Tyson, who was locked up with Holyfield, decided he needed a little snack, chomping into his opponent's ear, and taking a chunk out of it.

    As the bout continued, Tyson actually did it again, to the other ear this time, disqualifying him and setting him on a rampage to get to Holyfield's corner.

    This might not have been a blowout or a last-second heartbreaker, but it proved what everyone probably already knew about Tyson—he's absolutely insane.

An Opponent Who Wants Revenge (and to Run Up the Score)

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    OK, so this may have happened long before any of us were actually born, but that doesn't mean it isn't one of the most embarrassing losses in athletic history.

    With a halftime lead of 126-0, many would think that then Yellow Jackets coach John Heisman would applaud is team in the locker room and tell them to ease up a bit.

    Not true.

    Heisman was so pissed off that Cumberland beat Tech in baseball 22-0, that he actually encouraged his team to run up the score as much as possible, which they did, on their way to a 222-0 victory.

    That's true sportsmanship right there.

Thinking a Game's over Before It Really Is

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    Known strictly as "The Comeback," the AFC divisional game against the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills should be a reminder to every team that nothing is over until the fat lady really does sing.

    Leading 35-3 just after halftime, I bet there wasn't a single soul who had thought the Bills had anything left to even make the game competitive again, let alone actually win it.

    After a tie game sent this thing to overtime, the Bills had enough momentum to actually pull off the biggest comeback in NFL history when former kicker Steve Christie notched a 32-yarder for the win.

    That bitter taste in Oilers players mouths wasn't just from the beer they drank after the game to help cope.

By an Old-Fashioned Thumping

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    I could sit here and tell you about all the different records and offensive numbers that were broken in this 2007 contest between the Rangers and Orioles, but instead of even trying, just know that the 30 runs Texas scored broke the American League record for most players crossing home plate.

    That's some achievement, considering this game has been around for over 125 years.

    It was enough to make every baseball nerd go nuts—we're talking to you, Tim Kurkjian.

Wilting Under Pressure

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    As someone who isn't a professional golfer, we have no idea what the feeling must be like to stand on the 18th tee with a three-shot lead, on the final hole at the British Open.

    For Jean van de Velde, he knew exactly what that was like—and he ruined his chance at adding the Claret Jug to his trophy case because of his interesting decisions.

    Common sense would seem to tell us that even if you were to get in trouble, playing it safe would be the way to go. But that's not what van de Velde did.

    After going into the water, the world actually wanted to throw a golf ball to knock some sense into him from swinging out of the wet stuff.

    Unfortunately, he didn't come to his senses, triple-bogeyed the last hole and lost in a playoff.

Whatever the Bruins Did This Year...

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    For the Boston Bruins this year, it was bad enough watching the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate a title on their home ice, but it was probably less painful than the events that actually led up to it happening.

    After leading 2-1 with just a few minutes to go in Game 6, the B's couldn't close out Chicago, giving up two goals in a span of just 17 seconds, meaning Game 7 was actually further away than they had hoped.

    Losing is never fun, but doing it when blowing a lead with just a few minutes left—in a title-clinching game nonetheless—makes it sting a little more.

Get Cocky

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    At the time of the anticipated 2004 ALCS rematch between the rival Red Sox and Yankees, Major League Baseball had existed for over 125 years, providing many memories and records.

    And in those years, never had a team led an opponent in a best-of-seven series 3-0 and ended up losing.

    But that all changed in 2004.

    The Dave Roberts stolen base in Game 4.

    Curt Schilling's bloody sock in Game 6.

    And it was all but over after Johnny Damon's Game 7 Grand Slam in the second inning.

    These two franchises absolutely hate each other, and after the Red Sox went on to win the World Series to end their 86-year drought, it only increased the intensity.

    For "Sawx" fans, the wait may have been worth it after all.

Have Everything That Can Go Wrong, Absolutely Go Wrong

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    Was Game 6 of the NBA Finals the greatest Finals game in NBA history?

    If you read any current ballers' Twitter accounts who were watching the unbelievable ending, it might just be.

    This thing had it all.

    Big leads. Momentum on the Spurs side. Thrilling moments. An epic performance by LeBron James. Missed free throws. And, of course, Ray Allen.

    Losing in overtime had to be demoralizing for a San Antonio team that was literally six seconds away from a fifth NBA title in 14 years.

    Sadly, especially after losing Game 7, the sixth game has to go down as one of the most embarrassing losses ever witnessed.