Like Kissing Your Sister: The Worst Ties in Sports
For all of the professional athletes who compete across Captain Planet's green earth, there may not be anything more unsettling than a tie.
Sure a loss stings, but at least one team prevails while the other can learn to move forward.
The old adage that a tie is like kissing your sister rings true.
After laying everything on the line, walking away knowing that nothing actually happened is a gut-wrenching, "load up on Tums and sit in a cold shower" type of feeling.
Of all the ties that have gone down in professional sports, some are just a cut above the rest.
They include controversial boxing decisions, record-setting draws and of course every National Hockey League tie before they implemented a set of new rules.
With a feeling of disdain strapped to our backs like a JanSport, here's a look at the worst ties in the history of sports.
2002 MLB All-Star Game
You don't see ties in baseball very often, but the 2002 MLB All-Star Game found a way to break the pattern.
Usually, fans come to watch an All-Star game to see their favorite stars team up and collectively win the "big game."
Unfortunately, that all changed when commissioner Bud Selig decided to stop the contest after the 11th inning, leaving fan's hearts emptier than beer cans after a NASCAR race.
The blame can't all be laid at the feet of Selig. The managers of National League and American League teams also had a say in the final decision.
Baseball's Bill Cowher look-alike Bob Brenly and New York Yankees legend Joe Torre met Selig at the mound, and as a trio they decided to pull the plug.
A dearth of pitchers was the excuse they used to end the game.
I guess the hierarchy didn't realize that seeing outfielders loft meatballs to some of the game's top hitters would have been the most entertaining part of the night.
All-Star games are a tough sell to begin with. But having one end in a draw turned out to be a bigger waste of time than watching the first—and only—season of Homeboys in Outer Space.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 2008
When the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles tied back in November of 2008, it came as surprise to fans of both teams.
However, no one was more surprised than Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Not because he thought he should have done more. No, it was because McNabb had no clue that a game could end in a tie in the National Football League.
McNabb told reporters after the game:
I've never been part of a tie. I never even knew it was in the rulebook. I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game. But unfortunately with the rules, we settled with a tie.
McNabb not knowing that games can result in a tie is like a chef not knowing you can overcook meat if you leave it on the grill too long.
You're a quarterback in the most prestigious sports league in the United States. Don't you think having an understanding for how the rules work is just a tad—Hamilton—bit important?
Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield I
Was there ever any doubt that a controversial boxing decision would show up on this list?
Of all the suspect decisions we've seen throughout boxing's historic legacy, the heavyweight clash between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield may have been the most outrageous.
Leading up to the 1999 showdown, the fight was saturated in hype. Lewis was looking to cement his legacy, while Holyfield was trying to remain one of boxing's biggest draws.
Outside of a round or two, Lewis was as surgical with the leather as Bruce Jenner's doctor is with a scalpel.
The 6'5" boxer used his skull-crushing jab and overhand right to ensure Holyfield enjoyed a steady diet of knuckle sandwiches all night long.
By HBO's final count, Lewis managed to outdo Holyfield, connecting on 348 punches compared to Evander's 130.
When the final bell sounded and the fight came to a close, it was all but a formality that Lewis would be named the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Then, as it always does, boxing happened.
The judges, who must have been watching reruns of M.A.S.H. at ringside, decided that Lewis' beatdown of Holyfield was actually a draw.
With boos dripping down from the ceiling at Madison Square Garden, Lewis left the same way he came in: with the WBC championship belt hanging over his shoulder.
Lewis would get redemption eight months later when he once again dished out a thrashing to Holyfield, becoming the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World in the process.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers, 2013
The last tie fans got to witness in professional football came between two old, bitter rivals during the 2013 season.
On a brisk day at Lambeau Field, the Christian Ponder-led Minnesota Vikings blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarterback when Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in and rallied the troops.
What's crazy about Flynn is that he had been horrendous everywhere he played except in Green Bay. Whatever they put in the cheese up in Wisconsin allowed the veteran quarterback to go all vintage Hulk Hogan on opposing defenses.
Thankfully, unlike the Donovan McNabb debacle, at least these guys knew that the game could end in a tie.
Without Aaron Rodgers or a competent Vikings signal-caller on the field, the rivalry between these two clubs was sloppier than Shawn Bradley's post game or a Qdoba burrito slathered in hot, cheesy queso sauce.
Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez
If you thought Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield was a terrible decision, let me introduce you to Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez.
Back in the '90s, Whitaker was a ferocious fighter. He was slick as an oil drum in the ring, and his boxing acumen was second to none.
Chavez, on the other hand, came into that fight as a boxing legend. Racking up 87 victories and 75 knockouts with zero defeats to his credit, he was trying to prove that he could take on even the mightiest foe.
It's important to note that while the fight itself would go on to be talked about for years, then-ESPN commentator Al Bernstein's hair was the main attraction. He was sporting that super-thick, "oops I accidentally lathered my scalp up with 38 bottles of Rogaine" look.
Anyway, let's get back to the fight.
After shaking off the early-round jitters, Whitaker and Chavez settled into a groove. By groove, I mean Whitaker used his snapping jab and Ducati-like hand speed to tag Chavez at will.
It was the sweet science at its very best. A classic boxer using his smarts and ability to frustrate and keep a bull like Chavez at bay.
Just like Lewis vs. Holyfield, the judges felt differently. Scoring the bout a draw, Whitaker was robbed.
"I want to tell the world that I beat the unbeatable. From now on they're all going to look at me and say, 'There's the guy who beat Julio César Chávez. He has been beaten. Pernell Whitaker beat him up'," Whitaker told Sports Illustrated's William Nack.
Boxing tends to expose its inner Cruella De Vil at times. Whitaker got a taste of that injustice against Chavez on that infamous night.
Kansas vs. Iowa State, 1990
One of the greatest things about watching sports is the fact that we all get to witness a piece of history.
At times, sports are defined by record-setting performances.
There are records that are meant to be broken, and then there are others that probably won't ever be realized again—like Harry Caray's consecutive drinking streak of 288 straight days, per Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The University of Kansas is known for their illustrious basketball program. Though they've had flashes of prominence in the world of football, they have also had legendary struggles.
Before the NCAA decided to stop games ending in draws, Kansas was Lord of the Ties.
That streak reached a plateau when Kansas took on Iowa State in October of 1990.
The Jayhawks and Cyclones finished that game with a final score of 34-34, leaving Kansas' football program with the most ties in Division I history.
Sadly, like Caray's record of sloshing back cold ones, that record may never be touched again. The NCAA has since cleansed the rulebook of ties, leaving the Jayhawks' name permanently atop that list.
Ties in the NHL Before the 2005-2006 Season
Hockey has undergone quite the evolution since Silvio Berlusconi, I mean Gary Bettman, installed rule changes in 2005.
Putting entertainment above anything else, the game is now played at a frantic pace.
Goals seem to be scored more frequently, leaving defenses looking like how your 12-year-old nephew plays a game of NHL 14.
Ties were the absolute worst in hockey. I can vividly remember going to a New Jersey Devils game, getting all hyped up for overtime, then watching the game end in a tie.
The end result was confusing. Like being a fan of Ron Artest, you had no idea what to expect.
Is that it? Was the game really over? So many questions, so few answers.
Luckily the NHL decided to rid themselves of the tie, opting to put shootouts in its place—during regular-season games only.
Now at least there's a firework display following an overtime period that ends in a draw.
The NHL won't ever become a ratings magnet, but putting an end to ties is something every major sport should learn to appreciate.
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