Great Team Beatdowns of the Past Decade

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

Great Team Beatdowns of the Past Decade

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Blowouts are just a part of sports, and, unfortunately, sometimes they happen on the biggest stage to the best teams.

    And while us fans hope for a tight game that keeps our nerves and emotions going in all different directions, that doesn't always happen.

    After a few high-profile teams have been beat down over the past month in a few different sports, making us wonder what the deal was, I'm giving you a few of the biggest that have been dealt to allegedly great teams.

2008 Los Angeles Lakers (Boston Celtics)

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    In a matchup with the two winningest franchises in NBA history, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers had fans wondering what in the hell went wrong with the series' final game.

    After a tightly played series, and some dramatic moments, the 2008 NBA Finals ended in an absolute snorefest, with the Celtics running the Lakers off the court with ease, not only using a 34-point second quarter to help give them a 58-35 halftime lead, but leaving no doubt by scoring 42 points in the final quarter.

    With the final score being 131-92—a 39-point drubbing—it became the largest margin of victory in an NBA championship-clinching game.

2011 New Orleans Saints (Seattle Seahawks)

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    The final score might not have been all that lopsided, but when the New Orleans Saints traveled to the Great Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC Wild Card Game—a season after winning the Super Bowl—few believed the 7-9 NFC West Champion Seahawks could take down the Saints.

    Then the unthinkable happened.

    New Orleans couldn't seem to stop the Hawks, or hear themselves think, with a crowd that erupted before and after each play, eventually causing an earthquake in the clinching 67-yard touchdown run by Seahawks running back, Marshawn Lynch.

    Final Score? Seattle: 41, New Orleans: 36.

2004 Oklahoma Sooners (USC Trojans)

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    When the 2004 preseason polls were released, the USC Trojans and Oklahoma Sooners found themselves sitting at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

    And, wouldn’t you know it, the two schools ran the table and met in what was supposed to be a classic showdown in the national title game—featuring the previous two Heisman Trophy recipients.

    Well, it was at least memorable for the Trojans.

    With SC quarterback Matt Leinart winning the Heisman just a month earlier, he proved that he was the right choice, tossing an Orange Bowl-record five touchdown passes on the way to a 55-19 victory.

    After the Sooners started the scoring in the first quarter to take a seven-point lead, the Trojans overpowered OU to demolish them the remainder of the game, winning the program’s second-straight AP National Championship—with the BCS version later being vacated.

2009 Spain Men's Soccer (United States)

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    It may not have come in the major tournament in the soccer world, but the U.S. men's national soccer team's 2-0 victory over Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup is nothing short of spectacular.

    That's because, not only did the Spanish team win Euro 2008 the season prior, but they were riding a 35-game unbeaten streak and, eventually, went on to capture the 2010 World Cup title, capping an amazing ride for the country's soccer federation.

    Sure, the match may not have ended in a massive blowout or even had really mattered much to Spain, but it was a match that they should not have struggled to win and definitely should not have ever lost.

2004 Los Angeles Lakers (Detroit Pistons)

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    Personally speaking, it's hard to believe that this one happened over 10 years ago, because it's still pretty fresh in my mind.

    With the Los Angeles Lakers having future Hall of Famers Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, as well as the greatest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson, they squandered a chance to make history when they lost the NBA Finals in five games to the Detroit Pistons.

    Winning 56 games in the regular season, the Lakers were on a mission to get both Malone and Payton—who signed with the team for this exact opportunity—a ring before calling it quits.

    It didn't happen, though, as the Pistons played with heart and passion to defeat the Lakers, capturing their first crown since 1990.

2003 New York Yankees

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    Meeting in the 2003 World Series, the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins appeared to be on completely different levels.

    In one corner, there were the Yankees—a team with incredible history, the most MLB titles and the biggest payroll.

    They had won 101 games in 2003 and seemed like they were on track to add another World Series Trophy to their case.

    On the other side were the Florida Marlins—a team who had all the youngsters seemingly acquired from the fire sale management had following the '97 championship, winning 91 games, sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card team after having a payroll a fraction of the Yanks.

    You know where this is going.

    Josh Beckett—then a 23-year-old flame-thrower—stifled the Yanks, and the Marlins celebrated a championship in Yankee Stadium after six games.

2012 Vancouver Canucks (Los Angeles Kings)

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    I've said before that no No. 8 seed should ever beat a No. 1 seed in a seven-game series—yet, it has happened a number of times in sports.

    Sure, it's understandable for the lower-seeded team to have a few matchups in their favor, and even give the better team a scare, but to win the necessary games to take the series? One would think it wouldn't happen.

    That's what made the 2012 Los Angeles Kings' upset of the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so amazing, because they didn't just blast the President's Trophy-earning Canucks, but ultimately went on to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup—becoming the first No.8 seed to do so.

    So much for a regular season that included 111 points for Vancouver.

2013 Denver Broncos (Seattle Seahawks)

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    After winning 13 games during the regular season, breaking numerous NFL offensive records and having the league MVP—Peyton Manning—under center, the Denver Broncos appeared to have everything going their way heading into the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks this year.

    Until the first snap of the game, that is.

    With the ball sailing over Manning's head and out of the back of his own end zone for a safety, an absolute thumping began, as the biggest game of the NFL season lacked any drama, with Seattle winning 43-8.

    And, yes, the Broncos were a slight favorite before the game—looks like Vegas needs to step it up.

2014 Miami Heat (San Antonio Spurs)

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    OK, so the San Antonio Spurs may have proved to be more than a formidable foe—with three future Hall of Famers of their own—but most people assumed the Miami Heat would take this year's NBA Finals.

    After defeating the Spurs in an epic seven-game series in 2013, the Heat must have forgotten how to defend San Antonio, as the Spurs did anything they wanted to in moving the basketball, getting open looks and winning this year's NBA title.

    With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all relatively in their prime, the Heat squandered the opportunity to build a legacy.

    Who knows what would have happened had Miami won their third-straight title. Could LeBron have stayed in South Beach? After the five-game massacre—in which the Spurs won by an average of 18 points—we'll never know.

2006 Ohio State Buckeyes (Florida Gators)

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    As a diehard Ohio State Buckeyes football fan, this one stings to add to this list, but it bit me even harder the night that the Florida Gators dominated the 2007 national title game.

    Ranked No. 1 in the country from preseason until the matchup against the Gators, the Buckeyes got an opening kickoff return touchdown from speedster Ted Ginn Jr. to give fans reason to think the team was destined to win the national championship.

    That was the lone highlight for the Bucks.

    From there, the Gators used a combination of quarterbacks Chris Leak and then-freshman Tim Tebow, along with a fast, intimidating defense, to run down '06 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and the rest of the scarlet and gray, as Florida captured the crystal football with a 41-14 win.

2007 Dallas Mavericks (Golden State Warriors)

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    As mentioned earlier, no eighth-seed should be able to defeat a No. 1 seed in any playoff competition—yet, here's another instance of it happening.

    After a regular season that saw the Dallas Mavericks win an NBA-high 67 games—helping earn Dirk Nowitzki the league MVP—the team looked as if redemption was on their mind following a Finals collapse the year prior against the Miami Heat.

    The Golden State Warriors had other ideas.

    With former Mavs coach Don Nelson manning the sidelines for the Warriors, he knew exactly how to shut down his former squad, using a number of different looks to throw Dirk and his teammates off their game on the way to a stunning first-round victory, blowing out Dallas in the closeout game.

2014 Brazil (Germany)

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    Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    You had to know this was coming, right?

    Not only did this come in the World Cup during a semifinals matchup with Germany, but Brazil's 7-1 loss came on home soil, making it about one million times worse.

    Whether it was from the effect of losing superstar Neymar Jr. to a back injury the game earlier, or just the pressure of performing well in front of their home crowd, Selecao had one of the biggest meltdowns in recent sports memory.