Part of the mystique that is the postseason in professional sports is the fact that some run-away favorites are going to lose.
That's why we watch. If it were the Lakers-Celtics in the Finals every year, or Yankees-Dodgers in the World Series, people would grow bored. No one wants to see the preseason darlings play for a championship every year.
We as fans crave the upsets. We live for Villanova over Georgetown in 1985.
Or New York over New England in 2008.
Or Golden State over Dallas in 2007.
Unfortunately for the losing teams, their seasons are branded as failures and their hard-fought accomplishments are forgotten; instead, they're delegated to lists like this that celebrate their inadequacies.
Today, we're looking at the top 20 underachieving teams in professional sports history. For clarity's sake, the "underachievers" will be characterized as teams with excellent regular season records but minimal postseason success, teams with incredibly lofty expectations that became duds, or teams with an egregiously high payroll or an abundance of talent that still never won anything.
Why not include college teams? For one, upsets and underachievers happen too frequently. You could easily make a similar top-20 list just for teams that fell on their face in the NCAA Tournament.
And in football, the preseason rankings are meaningless; they're simply made to bolster ratings for September games. USC-Ohio State doesn't sound quite as good as No. 3 USC at No. 5 Ohio State, even if neither of the two are actually top-five teams.
It just makes it that much more problematic to sort out who really should be considered an underachiever, or who was just given too respect to begin with.
So, without further rambling, let's get it cracking...