In sports, the ability to win the big games, and ultimately championships, is valued above all else. All of the regular-season wins and individual honors in the world can’t make up for faltering on the biggest stages, under the most intense spotlights.
Look at the constant barrage of criticism that was heaped on Heat superstar LeBron James before he finally won the big one, and followed it up with another big one. Those championships basically act as a Teflon coating now. Hurl all the crap you want at the guy—it just won't stick.
Peyton Manning, on the other hand, must feel like a knife is being jammed in his side every time someone calls him "the greatest regular-season quarterback of all time." On the surface it seems like a compliment, but it really isn't. And this is a guy who has won a Super Bowl; it's just that he's lost more than he's won.
That being said, spectacular implosions are by no means limited to superstars in professional sports. They can happen anywhere, at any time, sometimes completely without notice. Here are a few teams that have imploded spectacularly at the worst possible time.