Most sports fans get caught up in the lure of a thrilling victory, the nail-biting drama that comes along with an overtime game. Or the sting of a tough defeat that dashes the dreams of a team and their fanbase.
However, what slips through the cracks are the teams that missed out, players that never measured up and the gift-wrapped opportunities that never came to fruition.
Here are the 25 biggest letdowns in sports history.
The year was 2005, Calipari was a lot less sketchy, and Memphis actually had some competition in the C-USA.
After posting a lackluster 19-15 record, Memphis made an inspired run to the C-USA title game against No. 6 Louisville and were keen on stealing a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Memphis, down 75-73 put the ball in the hands of C-USA rookie of the year and freshman All-American Darius Washington Jr., who proceeded to get hacked while firing up a trey. The clock showed 0.0, but Washington was given three free throws.
Washington sunk the first free throw to make the score 75-74, prompting the Memphis bench to get on their feet and start doing a jig in anticipation of the upset. Washington then went on to clang the next two free throws. Effectively ending the Tigers' season.
The 2006 AFC Championship saw the Colts storm back from a 21-3 deficit to tie the game up at 28-28.
In the fourth quarter, Tom Brady was in pure form, driving his team down to the 13-yard-line, with a chance to put six up on the board.
On the first play of the drive, Brady called a trademark quick wide receiver screen where Reche Caldwell was wide open with no one standing between him and the endzone.
Instead of being the hero, Caldwell let the ball go right through his fingers. The drive stalled and Peyton Manning did the rest, sending the Patriots home.
Plaxico Burress went from winning a Super Bowl title and looking to be entering the NFL's elite class of wide receivers to being locked up in the joint in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
His life unraveled so fast that he's become almost forgotten in the minds of NFL fans and if the NFL lockout rumors come to fruition, than Plax's career may be all but over. He'll be released from prison the years it's supposed to take place, and he's not getting any younger folks.
In early 2007, David Beckham announced that he was leaving Los Galacticos of Real Madrid and coming stateside to play with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
It was the summer after the 2006 World Cup and the U.S. failed to make it out of the group stages, but entered the tournament with a top 15 ranking and the buzz around soccer in the states was still prevalent.
Beckham's transfer to the U.S. was expected to finally take the MLS and U.S. soccer over the top.
A spell of injuries and loans to AC Milan prompted fans to label him a "part-time player" and his MLS career still has yet to take off and at 35-years-old, Beckham's LA Galaxy career is in its twilight.
The World Baseball Classic was founded in 2005 and has hosted tournaments in 2006 and 2009.
Japan has won both championships, but fans have griped about the level of play and wear and tear that the games have on professional players right before spring training starts up.
I'm aware that other countries love it, but in America it just hasn't taken off, and personally, I'd rather just have all my players healthy and start the MLB season.
The 1994 Colombian national soccer team was a squad that represented a country in turmoil's shining hope.
The Colombians entered the 1994 World Cup ranked No. 4 in the world. Their signature qualifying win was a 5-0 thrashing of Argentina in Buenos Aires. The Colombians featured a creative and carefree style of play that made them a sexy pick to win the World Cup.
However a 3-1 loss to Romania in their opening match set up a pressure-cooker game against a host an unheralded U.S. squad that had already lost to the Colombians in pre-Cup friendlies.
Thanks to an own goal by Andres Escobar, the U.S. pulled of the amazing upset and sent the Colombian's packing. Tragically, the own goal cost Escobar his life back home in Colombia. Yet on a purely athletic scale, the Colombian team was a huge flop that deflated the hopes of a desperate nation.
On Thanksgiving Day 2009, the world viewed Tiger Woods as one of the best role models in the world.
He was well-spoken, well-behaved, successful, kind, a hard worker and most importantly, a great golfer.
What happened that night and in the months that followed saw Woods become the portrait of skewed morals and a troubled life.
He's back on the golf course, but what transpired these past months is a scar that will never be removed, his fall from grace let down everyone who held him on a pedestal in the game of golf, and as a person.
The 1993 NCAA basketball tournament saw UNC cut down the nets, but will be forever remembered for Chris Webber's ghost timeout.
In the closing seconds, UNC led 73-71, but Webber had just rebounded a missed free throw with 19 seconds left, giving the Wolverines one last chance.
He proceeded to dribble down the court where he stopped in front of Michigan's bench and frantically called a timeout, a timeout that Michigan didn't have.
UNC sank both free throws off of the technical issued for calling a timeout when your team has none left, and just like that, Michigan's title hopes slipped away.
Webber recounted in the locker room, "I just called the timeout and that probably cost us the game."
World class analysis by Chris Webber there.
When Ron Dayne was ripping it up for the Badgers in 1999, I was a starry-eyed 9-year-old thinking I was watching the best player in the history of the game.
If I were to list all of The Great Dayne's major awards, the text would run far down below the picture and you wouldn't feel like reading anymore. In short, Dayne was a freight train that garnered the 1999 Heisman and still holds the NCAA record for career rushing yards.
Drafted No. 11 overall by the NY Giants in the 2000 draft, Dayne's career only went downhill from there.
He was largely ineffective and never panned out for anybody, making him a huge letdown for all of his admirers while he was a Badger.
The highlight of his career was when he started on my fantasy team for one week when he was somewhat relevant with the Texans as a goal line option.
He had five carries for 3 yards and no touchdowns.
The 2009-2010 Bruins were a study in how not to manage a 3-0 lead in a seven-game series.
The roller-coaster of a series had everything you wanted in a major letdown: a huge lead in games, blown opportunities to close out the series, an apparent lack of effort down the stretch and a blown lead in Game Seven.
If you missed the first six games, you could've just watched Game Seven and gotten the gist of the series. The Bruins went up 3-0, then slowly the Flyers creeped back until it looked like there was no denying them.
The loss was a monumental choke job, but a bigger let down for the city of Boston, a city that comes to life when the B's are deep in the playoffs.
Talk about a kid who had it all.
As a freshman in 2002, Clarett scampered for over 1,200 yards and was an integral part of an Ohio State team that captured the national championship.
The following year, Clarett filed a false police report saying that over $10,000 worth of valuables were stolen from him. Upon further investigation, OSU found that Clarett has been accepting special benefits and he was discharged from the team.
Long story short, Clarett ballooned to 256 lbs, tried to enter the draft a year early, a battle which he lost. He ran an embarrassing 4.72 40-yard dash in an attempt to "impress" scouts even though he wasn't eligible. The Broncos took a shot in the dark and drafted him in 2005, but he's never had an NFL carry.
Recently, Clarett was charged with robbery in January and arrested in August 2006 when his vehicle was discovered to contain guns and an open bottle of vodka.
Clarett was indicted and is now serving jail time.
After being selected in 2001 as the first overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, Mike Vick was supposed to revolutionize the quarterback position. Making a dual-threat signal caller all the rage.
Granted these were astronomical expectations, but for the most part, Vick hasn't delivered.
The three time Pro Bowler was voted in by fans because of the exciting plays he made with his feet, but it took him about five years to develop a decent passing game, and honestly, he's still not there yet.
By the time Vick built up a head of steam statistically, he was sentenced to prison on dog fighting charges.
Vick is a let down not only because he didn't make the immediate impact expected, but because he was out of the league just as he was starting to come into his own.
The 1999 playoffs were good to Kevin Dyson as the wide receiver was involved in two of the NFL's greatest plays in the same post season.
After beating the Bills on the "Music City Miracle", Dyson had yet another chance to make history in the Superbowl.
With the Rams leading by seven points, the Titans had one final play to tie the game and send the Super Bowl in overtime for the first time ever.
Dyson ran a quick screen over the middle and caught a pass from Steve McNair. Dyson looked to be clear until linebacker Mike Jones converged and dragged Dyson down just yards from the goal line.
With one last final thrust, Dyson stretched his arm out, only to be pulled back by Jones, leaving Dyson and the Titans one yard short of Super Bowl glory.
They say suppressing a sneeze kills brain cells.
Well, if that's true than watching the XFL was like having the world's worst cold whilst having wine corks shoved up my nostrils.
Created in 2001, the football league that was an offshoot of pro wrestling tried to infuse the regular football rules with more "X-TREME" subtleties.
Players rushed for the ball in the middle instead of kicking off to start the game. Full bump and run coverage was allowed and there was no fair catch rule.
For all of us that thought we'd see a full out melee in pads with bodies flying everywhere were enormously disappointed. The lack of familiarity with the rules caused numerous delay of game penalties, and the quality of play just wasn't up to snuff.
The XFL was done after only one year. I, on the other hand, shut the TV off and went back to good old NFL Blitz after only 10 minutes.
After Landon Donovan's improbable goal in stoppage time against Algeria in the final Group Stage game of the 2010 World Cup propelled the U.S. into the Round of 16, it seemed that U.S. soccer had reached new heights.
A favorable draw against Ghana lied ahead for the Yanks and the U.S. was abuzz, eager to see if their team could break through into the quarterfinals.
Ghana promptly dispatched the U.S. in extra time, leaving the Americans four years to ponder their soccer future and ultimately, what could have been.
As a Red Sox fan, I've always viewed this series as more of a triumph for the Sox, than a let down for the Yankees, but all the same, it was a world class choke by the Bronx Bombers.
The story is legend, the Yankees had the Red Sox at their mercy again, up 3-0 and with a lead in Game 4, the Yanks sent out Mo Rivera to shut the door on the BoSox.
Millar's walked, Roberts pinch runs, he steals second, Mueller drives him in, Ortiz plays hero. Ortiz again in Game 5, the bloody sock in Game Six, and Damon's grand salami caps off the best comeback in sports history.
Boston will contest that there was magic in the air as the Red Sox vanquished the ghosts of the Bambino, but all the same, the 2004 ALCS was a huge let down for the New York Yankees.
The 2008 Super Bowl saw the New England Patriots go from the verge of perfection, to just another season.
The Patriots and their high-powered offense looked unstoppable during the campaign. Thrashing opponents with a merciless attack and promptly reaching the Super Bowl game unscathed.
Standing at 18-0, the Patriots franchise made a controversial decision to trademark the phrase "19-0" before the game was played. This would ensure that only the Pats would reap the profits of the millions of dollars in merchandise that would be sold if the Patriots completed their undefeated season.
Amazingly, the New York Giants upset the Patriots and dashed their hopes of perfection. The loss of another championship was brutal for New England fans, but the let down of seeing a perfect season slip away was equal to torture.
When Ricky Williams arrived in Miami for his first season with the Dolphins in 2002, he had no trouble making new friends.
During the 2002 season, Williams led the NFL in rushing and was named to the all-pro team.
Williams tested positive for marijuana in December 2003, he faced a $650,000 fine and a four game suspension. Shortly before training camp that summer, he announced his indefinite retirement from football.
The retirement was made official on August 2, 2004. Making Williams officially a retired athlete.
The abrupt exit blew up the Dolphins from the inside, Dave Wannstedt bolted for the NCAA and Miami went 4-12 that year. Williams was rued by his fans and jerseys with the name "Williams" printed on the back were often seen with duct tape over the name.
After what is widely considered the best playoff series in NBA history, the Boston Celtics never got out of the driver's seat in a Game Seven that didn't match the buildup that the series created.
Four of the six previous games had gone into at least one overtime, the series saw 106 lead changes as the Bulls looked scrappy and determined to knock off the defending champs. The game seven stage looked to be set for a dramatic finish.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Game Seven only had two lead changes and the Celtics were up by a comfortable 14 points at the break.
The Celts never looked back as they cruised to a 10-point victory and left the Chicago, and possibly some Boston fans, disappointed after such a great series.
In November 2008, it was reported that the boisterous Lane Kiffin would be leaving his post at the Oakland Raiders to take over the Tennessee Volunteers.
Kiffin's offseason was defined by controversy. He took jabs at other SEC coaches, hyped up the student body, spoke freely to the media and was accused of violating recruiting guidelines.
Kiffin, reunited with defensive guru and father Monte Kiffin, was believed to be the missing puzzle piece that could take this historically good and generally talented Volunteers team over the top. He was certainly acting like he could anyway.
Kiffin did not impress in his first season. The Vols went a vanilla 7-6, ending with a 23 point blowout loss at the hands of the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Kiffin then jetted to USC after the season was over. Bringing the "Kiffin Era" to an abrupt end in Knoxville.
The 1986 Red Sox were "the team" for Boston.
They won 95 games, clearing the rival Yankees by 5.5 games. They featured a potent lineup, clutch hitting and good starting pitching in Roger Clemens (who won the Cy Young) to go along with solid relief pitching led by Oil Can Boyd.
The Red Sox had just beaten the Angels in a thrilling seven games and Red Sox Nation was beginning to suspect that their luck was finally turning.
Oh, how wrong they were.
The World Series against the Mets was a grind of a series, but the Sox never wavered, taking a 3-2 series lead and leaving the Mets chasing them in the clinching game.
The Mets gritted their teeth and tied the game at 3-3 in the 8th inning, before the Sox put up a quick two runs in the top of the 10th to make it 5-3.
Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez were quickly retired in the bottom of the 10th, leaving the Red Sox one out away from their first world series title since 1918. The scoreboard at Shea Stadium even flashed "Congratulations Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions" for a moment.
You know the rest, Mets stage a furious two run comeback. Mookie Wilson hit a soft grounder, "Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner!" and Ray Knight comes around to cap the three run comeback. Mets win in Game Seven and the Curse of the Bambino lives on.
Not necessarily a let down in terms of seeing who was on the list and who wasn't, but when names were released off the Mitchell Report and more names starting leaking out, it was one big case of "Say it ain't so".
It was just letdown after letdown of admired and respected players that you thought would never ever do something like that. Roger Clemens, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, the list goes on and on.
I'm not saying that the MLB should keep these names quiet to avoid disappointment, but with each name that is released it's just another letdown for all of baseball and its fans.
Superbowl XXV saw the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants play the closest game in Super Bowl history.
With just eight seconds on the clock and the G-Men up 20-19, Bills placekicker Scott Norwood lined up a 47 yard field goal attempt. The distance was just on the edge of Norwood's range, but the stage was set for Norwood to propell the Bills into the record books and finally give the people of Buffalo something to cheer about.
Norwood's attempt got up but sailed to the right of the field goal posts, breaking the hearts of the Bills faithful and forever living in infamy as one of the biggest letdowns in NFL history.
Carlos Arroyo dropped a game high 24 points as little brother Puerto Rico beat up on big brother U.S.A. 92-73 in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
It was the worst loss for the U.S. team and the first defeat for the national team since they started creating "Dream Teams."
The U.S. had captured the previous three gold medals and always seemed to put the best players out on the floor, so it was inexplicable when the Yanks went 3-24 from the international three point line.
The U.S. had previously been going through a rough time in the World Championships and the 2004 Olympics were their ticket back to the top. The fact that the Puerto Rico game was the first of the tournament made the loss doubly painful as expectations were at an all-time high.
The BCS is the ultimate letdown in sports for three reasons.
1) In-Season Letdowns: Considering the nature of the BCS selection process, the "every game is a playoff" mentality is a major marketing tool for the BCS. However, it's a huge letdown and disappointment for fans when they lose a huge regular season game or get upset on a fluke and you know your team has no shot an the national title game anymore.
2) Selection Letdowns: Every BCS selection show triggers an onslaught of debate about who should have been playing who and who got left out.
Not a year goes by where a third elite team is left on the outside looking in on the national title game, or a small conference team gets a poor matchup or is deemed undeserving of a major game despite a gleaming record.
3) Postgame Letdowns: When the games are all played out and the scores are settled, there are major letdowns, mostly for the teams that won, ironically.
Just recently, Boise St. beat up on another mid major in TCU and their fans were happy, but disappointed that they didn't get the real shot they deserved. Likewise with Utah, who was given a chance to upset a major powerhouse and did so in style, which brought about questions as to if they should have been playing for more.
The BCS is all about perception, with what teams the computers perceive to be the best teams on paper. We all know perception isn't reality, especially in sports and as a result, the BCS continues to be a huge letdown every single year.