The NFL's Five Greatest Choke Artists of the Last 25 Years

Randall McKinneyContributor IAugust 19, 2010

The NFL's Five Greatest Choke Artists of the Last 25 Years

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    At the end of the day, the name of the game is winning.  It doesn't matter if you're the runner-up or don't even come close, because if you're not holding the trophy you're a loser. 

    But there's another category for the guys who are supposed to win and don't.  It's called the "choke artist" category. 

    The only two things in sports worse than being a loser are being a quitter and a choke artist.  Being a choke artist isn't as bad as being a quitter, but it's certainly worse than being a loser.

    With that being said here are five choke artists for the ages!

5. Randall Cunningham

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    On Monday, Oct. 5, 1992 the Philadelphia Eagles beat the previously undefeated Dallas Cowboys 31-7.  The Eagles looked like the team to beat in the NFC.  Jerome Brown's memory was going to be celebrated with the Lombardi trophy. 

    Then the bottom fell out. 

    The Eagles went 7-5 the rest of the way, and Cunningham was on the sidelines for a huge game in Dallas on Nov. 1. 

    The Eagles played at Dallas in the NFC Divisional playoff game in Dallas and things got worse.  If Cunningham didn't throw the ball in the dirt, he sailed the ball out of bounds.  Even though Cunningham didn't turn the ball over, he looked horrible and failed on key plays all day. 

    The Eagles' days of contention in the 90s were officially over. 

    On to Minnesota. The Vikings had a 15-1 regular season.  How could Cunningham, Moss, Carter, and Co. be stopped? 

    Here's how.  19 incompletions.  Moss longest reception was 31 yards.  Cunningham again missed key passes on critical third down plays.  How bad can a player be on third down?  Ask Rich Kotite and Dennis Green.

4. Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb

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    There's a theme with the Eagles here seeing how they've never held up the trophy!  If it were up to me, and it is, I would and will put more blame on Reid than McNabb. 

    McNabb gets somewhat of a pass because he's shown that when he has the weapons he's one of the best.  He doesn't get a complete pass because of his lackluster Super Bowl performance. 

    Reid, on the other hand, is another story.  Time and time again it seems the Eagles have turned to the pass when they obviously should have been running.  When Garcia took over it seemed he was just as successful as Donovan but the Eagles clearly turned to their ground attack more with Donovan injured. 

    Oh, if only they used that logic when he was in his prime.  What could have been.  The Eagles definitely should have been the team of the 90s.

3. Cleveland Browns

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    Whether it's Earnest Byner's fumble or "The Drive," the Browns have had their shots.  It seems that if you're in a Cleveland uniform you're destined to lose, no matter the sport. 

    Even recently with the release of Derek Anderson, the Browns continue to choke.  The pick of Brady Quinn had to have some Notre Dame influence.  Anderson was one of league's best when his weapons were healthy.  Anderson's doubters forgot quickly that Joe Jurevicius, Donte' Stallworth, and Kellen Winslow Jr. were injured.  Braylon Edwards also dropped everything. 

    When Anderson is Arizona's starter he'll probably be associated with the Browns more.  And the franchise's recent lackluster history will have another chapter.

2. Brett Favre

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    There is no doubt Brett Favre is one of the top 10 QB's to play the game.  Top 10.  You can't be the best if you constantly crack at the end of the season. 

    2010 interception versus Saints, 2008 collapse with Jets, 2008 interception versus Giants. Remember the overtime interception in the 2004 playoffs vs. the Eagles?  I do.  Everyone else seems to have forgotten.  I could keep going but I'll stop there. 

    Seems the Vikings have forgotten.  They'll remember in January.  Seems like we're in for another classic Brett Favre ending.  How can a man with the most consecutive starts continue to look like an untested rookie with the game on the line?  Good luck Brad Childress.  You'll need it.

1. Buffalo Bills/Thurman Thomas/Scott Norwood

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    I wanted to leave Scott Norwood off the list but he could have kept everyone off. The truth is Super Bowl XXV should have never come down to Norwood's foot.  With the Bills holding a 12-3 lead Thurman Thomas took a screen pass deep into Giants territory but fumbled and choked.

    GIants head coach Bill Parcells' ball control gameplan found new life, but the game came down to Norwood's foot.  Then he choked.  In later Super Bowls Thomas and the Bills continued to choke.  Thomas didn't stop fumbling.  The Bills didn't stop losing.  Thomas and the Bills could have beaten the Giants as badly as they beat the Raiders the previous week.  Who knows how much pressure that loss contributed to them losing later Super Bowls?

    If they won that game the Bills may have gone on to be known as what they arguably were, the best team ever. 

    Instead they will be known as the Greatest Choke Artists Ever!