50 Greatest Teams in Sports History That Never Won It All

David DanielsSenior Writer IJune 7, 2011

50 Greatest Teams in Sports History That Never Won It All

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    Put yourself in the shoes of a professional athlete for just one moment.

    The offseason begins.  You commit yourself to your training; your opponent will not train harder than you.  It's not just you though, your team buys in and they set a goal: nothing short of a championship.

    By the time the season rolls around, you look at how far you've come and realize that championship dream isn't just a dream.  Your team truly has what it takes to be the last one standing.

    The season begins and it's obvious that your squad is head and shoulders above everyone else.  Just keep giving 100 percent, and this is going to be a fun year.

    It's finally playoff time.  Your team is a high seed and a favorite to play for the title.  This is the year.

    All of a sudden, one wrong play or one bad series of events in just one game ruins an entire season along with everything you put your heart into.

    That is exactly what these 50 teams experienced in their dream turned nightmare of a season.  

    Here are the 50 greatest teams in sports history that never won it all: 

The 10 That Barely Missed the Cut

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    60. 1993 San Francisco Giants

    59. 1937 Philadelphia Athletics

    58. 1981 San Diego Chargers 

    57. 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings

    56. 1954 New York Yankees

    55. 1984-1985 Georgetown Hoyas Basketball

    54. 1993-1994 Seattle SuperSonics

    53. 1990 Italy Soccer

    52. 2000-2001 New Jersey Devils

    51. 1986 Chicago Bears

Honorable Mention

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    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    All of the Non-BCS Schools to Go Undefeated For an Entire Season Without a Shot at the Title

    2004 Utah Utes

    2006 Boise State Broncos

    2008 Utah Utes

    2009 Boise State Broncos

    2010 TCU Horned Frogs

50. 1990 Buffalo Bills

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    Why They Made The List: The Bills finished the regular season that year with a 13-3 record.  Buffalo was led by future Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith.  The team's best win of the regular season was a 49-14 beat down of the Phoenix Cardinals.

    Fatal Flaw: Ice-less veins

    Scott Norwood infamously missed a 47-yard field goal "wide right" which would've gave the Bills the win. 

    Eventual Best Team: New York Giants

    The Giants defeated the Bills in the Super Bowl 20-19 on a game-winning field goal by Matt Bahr. 

49. 1995 Cleveland Indians

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    Why They Made The List: The Indians went 100-44 in 1995.  Their 100 wins were good enough to win their division by 30 games.  Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez and Kenny Lofton were Cleveland's three best hitters.  They swept Boston in the first round and defeated the Mariners in six to move on to the World Series.

    Fatal Flaw: Run support

    Cleveland only gave up three runs in Game 1 of the World Series, but the Indians only crossed home plate twice.  In Game 6, their pitchers only gave up one run, but Cleveland was shut out.

    Eventual Best Team: Atlanta Braves  

    The Indians lost to the Braves in six games in the World Series that year.

48. 1970-1971 Boston Bruins

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    Why They Made The List: The Bruins won 71 game in 1971.  Boston led the NHL in scoring by a long shot coming up with 399 which was good for 122 more than the next best team.  The team’s leader and superstar was none other than Bobby Orr.

    Fatal Flaw: Some rookie

    Boston ran into a rookie goalie named Ken Dryden who had barely played in the regular season.  The Canadiens themselves didn't even know they had a future Hall of Famer ready to step in and lead the team to the finals. 

    Eventual Best Team: Montreal Canadiens

    Montreal not only upset Boston in the first round, they used that momentum to get all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games.

47. 2006 Brazil Soccer

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    Why They Made The List: Brazil was a heavy favorite going into the 2006 World Cup.  They were stacked with stars most namely Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Kaka.  The return of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was also a big deal.

    Fatal Flaw: Out of magic

    The "Magic Square" offense Parreira brought with him didn't work too well with this Brazil team.

    Eventual Best Team: Italy

    France defeated Brazil 1-0 in a game where Brazil only got one shot on goal.  Italy went on to take out France in the “Zinedine Zidane headbutt game.”

46. 1998 Ohio State Buckeyes Football

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    Why They Made The List: This Buckeye team dominated every single one of its opponents minus a Michigan State team which they lost to by four points.  They finished the regular season at 10-1, but being ranked No. 3 kept them out of the title game.  David Boston led the offense while Andy Katzenmoyer captained the defense.

    Their signature win was a 41-0 spanking of Illinois, but their 31-16 victory over rival Michigan had to feel the best.

    Fatal Flaw: Coasting

    If the Buckeyes wouldn't have let up against Michigan State late in the game, they wouldn't have surrendered their 15-point lead.  If they would've won that game, they would've been in the title game and most likely would've won.

    Eventual Best Team: Tennessee Volunteers

    The Vols defeated Florida State in the national title game while OSU defeated Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl 24-14.

45. 1986 France Soccer

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    Why They Made The List: The French’s 1986 team had many big name futbolers in Luis Fernandez, Alain Giresse, Michel Platini and Jean Tigana.  The four players were called the “Carr Magique” or the “Magic Square.”  They took out reigning champion Italy in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

    Fatal Flaw: Inability to get ball in net

    France had their opportunities to score against West Germany, but they just couldn't execute. 

    Eventual Best Team: Argentina

    West Germany defeated France 2-0 in the semis and went on to lose to Argentina in the finals 3-2.

44. 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Why They Made The List: The 1976 Steelers finished 10-4 in the regular season, but that’s not why they’re on the list.  Their defense put together five shutouts plus three others games where they surrendered less than seven points. 

    At this point, Pittsburgh was the reigning champion after winning the Super Bowl in back-to-back years.  They outscored their opponents by more than 14 points a game scoring a total of 342 points and surrendering 148.

    Fatal Flaw: Injuries

    Franco Harris and Rocky Blier went down with injuries making their running game nonexistent.

    Eventual Best Team: Oakland Raiders

    The Raiders smashed the Steel Curtain by the score 24-7 and went on to beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl 32-14.

43. 1993 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football

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    Why They Made The List: The team that included Bobby Taylor and Bryant Young went 11-1 in 1993.  Notre Dame’s one loss was a two loss to Boston College.  They were ranked just No. 4 going into the postseason even though they best No. 1 ranked Florida State.  The Fighting Irish took out seventh ranked Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

    Fatal Flaw: Victory hangover

    Notre Dame was upset by Boston College the week after they defeated Florida State.  They should have beaten the Golden Eagles, but they were too emotionally drained from their battle the week before.

    Eventual Best Team: Florida State

    Charlie Ward’s Seminoles defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl 18-16.

42. 1954 Cleveland Indians

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    Why They Made The List: The Indians finished the regular season with an incredible record of 111-43.  Cleveland’s team ERA was an equally impressive 2.78.  Al Rose and Larry Doby were the team’s main run producers.

    Fatal Flaw: Hitting

    The Indians only had two everyday hitters on their roster with a batting average of over .285.  That showed in the World Series as they could only produce five total runs in the first three games.

    Eventual Best Team: New York Giants

    Cleveland made it to the World Series, but they were then swept by Willie Mays’ Giants.

41. 1979-1980 Philadelphia 76ers

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    Why They Made The List: The 76ers ended the regular season with a 59-23 record that year.  The team featured superstars Julius Erving and Darryl Dawkins.  On their way to the NBA Finals, they only lost two games.

    Fatal Flaw: A 6’9” point guard

    Philadelphia caught a break as league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down with an ankle injury and was help out of Game 6 in the Finals.  A rookie point guard nicknamed Magic Johnson took over as the starting center and scored 42 points along with 15 boards and seven assists.

    Eventual Best Team: Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers defeated the 76ers in six games in the NBA Finals as rookie Magic Johnson’s legend began.

40. 1997 Atlanta Braves

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    Why They Made The List: Chipper Jones’ Atlanta Braves went 101-61 in 1997.  Their starting pitching was insane as their rotation included John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Denny Neagle and Greg Maddux.  They went onto sweep the Houston Astros in the divisional round of the playoffs.

    Fatal Flaw: Pitching?

    I know, it sounds moronic to blame pitching by just looking at those names and at the Marlins wins in the NLCS, they scored totals of five, five and seven runs.  Not horrible, but that's not getting the job done in the postseason either.

    Eventual Best Team: Florida Marlins

    The Braves lost to the Marlins in six games who beat the Cleveland Indians in seven.

39. 2004 Auburn Tigers Fooball

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    Why They Made The List: The 2004 Tigers went an undefeated 12-0 during the regular season.  They were stacked with future NFL players including their two-headed rushing attack of Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams.  More of Auburn’s stars include Jason Campbell, Jay Ratliff, Charles Rogers, Ben Grubbs and Marcus McNeil.

    Fatal Flaw: BCS

    The Auburn Tigers went undefeated and took out four top-15 teams, and they still didn’t get into the national title game.  And they’re from the SEC!

    Eventual Best Team: No one

    USC won the title 55-19 against Oklahoma, but the BCS erased their win because Reggie Bush received “impermissible benefits.”  Auburn defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

38. 1990 Oakland Athletics

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    Why They Made The List: The A's finished with a league best 103-59 record in 1990.  Not many teams could match their offense with the “Bash Brothers” or “Testosterone Twins” of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco along with Rickey Henderson.  Ace Bob Welch also recorded a 25-win season, the last of the 20th century to do so.

    Fatal Flaw: Not enough juice

    The A's scored just a total of eight runs in the four games they played in the World Series.  

    Eventual Best Team: Cincinnati Reds

    The Reds swept Oakland in the World Series which included dominant victories of 7-0 and 8-3.

37. 1971 Baltimore Orioles

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    Why They Made The List: You could definitely call pitching a strength for the Baltimore Orioles.  They are the only team in MLB history to have four starters with over 20 wins.  The highest ERA out of their starters was 3.08 while the rest were 2.90 or lower.

    They went 101-57 during the regular season.

    Fatal Flaw: Hitting

    Baltimore only had one player who got good playing time hit over .300 for the season.  They had a had big names hitters: Frank and Brooks Robinson for example but just not enough of them.

    Eventual Best Team: Pittsburgh Pirates

    The Orioles lost to Roberto Clemente’s Pirates in seven games losing by one run in the final contest.

36. 2007-2008 Memphis Tigers Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: Memphis dominated Conference USA going undefeated in the league in 2006-2007.  That year they made it to the Elite Eight as a 2-seed.

    In 2007-08, the Tigers were led by future No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose and All-American Chris Douglas-Roberts. Memphis received a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.  They fought their way to the national title game setting a record in the process by winning 38 games in one season. 

    Fatal Flaw: Free-throw shooting

    The Tigers held a nine-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.  They missed four of five free throws allowing their opponents to storm back to tie the game and win in overtime. 

    Eventual Best Team: Kansas Jayhawks

    Mario Chalmers' three with 2.1 seconds left tied the game for Kansas, and with all the momentum, they ran away with the win in overtime.

35. 1968 Baltimore Colts

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    Why They Made The List: The Colts were dominant in 1968 finishing the regular season with a 13-1 record.  Their biggest win was a 44-0 thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons.  Quarterback Earl Morrall and linebacker Mike Curtis led their star studded offensive and defensive squads to war each week. 

    In the NFL Championship game, the Colts slaughtered the Cleveland Browns 34-0.

    Fatal Flaw: The Guarantee

    Some overconfident, flashy quarterback named Joe Namath guaranteed victory against the powerful Colts of the NFL.  Baltimore probably got a kick out of it.

    Eventual Best Team: New York Jets

    Namath came through with his promise as the Jets shocked the Colts and the football world winning 16-7 in one of the greatest upsets in American sports history.

34. 1996-1998 Kansas Jayhawks Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: Roy Williams and Kansas had a combined record of 66-4 in the regular season in those two years.  In back-to-back seasons, they earned a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.  Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz and Jacques Vaugh formed one of the best trios in the nation.

    Fatal Flaw: Kansas Curse?

    It seems like the Jayhawks are power houses every single year, and they always lose as a high seed. Kansas basketball as a program is second in all-time wins, but they've only won three titles. Thirteen Final Four's, three titles.

    Eventual Best Team: Arizona and Kentucky

    Kansas lost to eventual champion Arizona in the Sweet 16 and Rhode Island in the second round.  Kentucky won 78-69 over Utah in 1998.

33. 1969 Minnesota Vikings

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    Why They Made The List: The “Purple People Eaters” defense was led by defensive line that included Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Carl Eller and Gary Larsen.  Minnesota finished the regular season with a 12-2 record losing their two games by a combined total of eight points.  Their best win of the season was a 51-3 trouncing of the Cleveland Browns.

    Fatal Flaw: Bend too much

    In the Super Bowl, the Vikings were keeping the Chiefs out of the end zone for a while, but they already kicked three field goals by midway through the second quarter.  From there, the Chiefs offense just had momentum and they rolled.

    Eventual Best Team: Kansas City Chiefs

    The Vikings were blasted by the Chiefs in the Super Bowl 23-7.

32. 1985-1986 Edmonton Oilers

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    Why They Made The List: Wayne Gretzky led the Oilers to a record of 56-17-7 during the regular season in which they scored 119 points.  Throughout the year, Edmonton put up 12 goals or more on teams three separate occasions.  This Oilers team was coming off back-to-back Stanley Cup victories and was looking to three peat.

    Fatal Flaw: Soccer urge

    In Game 7, Edmonton rookie Steve Smith kicked the puck into his own goal by accident when the game was tied 2-2.  The mistake would go on to be the game winning goal for their opponents.

    Eventual Best Team: Montreal Canadians

    The Calgary Flames upset the Oilers in the second round and carried that momentum all the way to the Finals only to lose in five games to Montreal.

31. 1954 Uruguay Soccer

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    Why They Made The List: Uruguay’s soccer team that year had an incredible amount of talent.  Captain Obdulio Varela led troops Carlos Borges, Julio Cesar Abbadie, Juan Schiaffino, Jose Santamaria and Vitor Rogrigues Andrade into battle.  The team ran circles around Scotland in the tournament beating them 7-0.

    Fatal Flaw: Fatigue

    Uruguay won in the quarterfinals with only eight healthy players, but their efforts caught up to them in the semis.

    Eventual Best Team: West Germany

    Uruguay lost to a dominant Hungary in the semifinals 4-2.  West Germany then upset Hungary in the World Cup Finals.

30. 1990-1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: UNLV didn’t lose a game in the regular season going 26-0.  They trampled their competition all the way to the Final Four.  The Runnin’ Rebels featured future NBA players Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon.

    Fatal Flaw: Looking ahead?

    It would be easy for an undefeated heavy favorite UNLV team to look past Duke with the championship so close.  Coach K hadn't won a title before this season. 

    Eventual Best Team: Duke

    Coach K and the Blue Devils upset UNLV in the Final Four and went on to defeat Kansas in the national title game.

29. 1967-1968 Houston Cougars Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: Houston finished the regular season with an outstanding 28-0 record.  The Cougars are the team that ended UCLA’s 47-game winning streak in a contest considered the “Game of the Century.”  They were led by future NBA Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney.

    Fatal Flaw: Payback

    If there's one team you didn't want to make angry it was the UCLA powerhouse.  Ending their streak like that wasn't going to help their chances when they met again. 

    Eventual Best Team: UCLA Bruins

    Yeah, they got revenge.  UCLA killed Houston in the Final Four 101-69 and went on to defeat North Carolina in the title game.

28. 1990 San Francisco 49ers

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    Why They Made The List: The 49ers were coming off back-to-back Super Bowl wins and were looking to take home their fifth Lombardi Trophy of the decade.  With Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott all returning, who was going to stop them?  They went 14-2 in the regular season and looked primed for another title.

    Fatal Flaw: Butter fingers

    49ers running back Roger Craig fumbled the ball with a one-point lead, and New York kicked a field goal to pull off the upset in the NFC Championship.  

    Eventual Best Team: New York Giants

    The Giants won the Super Bowl on Scott Norwood’s missed field goal as the Bills lost their first of four.

27. 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers

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    Why They Made The List: This Dodgers team had a lot of hitting: Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Carl Furillo and Gil Hodges all hit over 300.  Ace Carl Erskine put together a 20-win season, of course, it’s probably not hard to do with that hitting helping you out.  The Dodgers went 105-49 in the regular season.

    Fatal Flaw: Defense

    The series was tied at two games apiece.  The Dodgers scored seven runs in Game 5.  That should have been enough to win, but it wasn't as the Yankees put up 11. 

    Eventual Best Team: New York Yankees

    The Bronx beat Brooklyn as the Yankees won the series in six games.

26. 1972-1973 NC State Wolfpack

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    Why They Made The List: The Wolfpack went undefeated during the regular season going 27-0.  David Thompson averaged almost 25 points a game and over eight boards for NC State.  The team’s largest win was a 130-53 massacre of Appalachian State.

    Fatal Flaw: Caught red-handed

    Due to recruiting violations, NC State was prohibited in participating in postseason competition that season.

    Eventual Best Team: UCLA Bruins

    UCLA took advantage of the violation winning their seventh straight national title, this time over Memphis State.

25. 2005-2006 Detroit Red Wings

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    Why They Made The List: The Red Wings finished the season with a record of 58-16-8.  With their record, they locked up the first seed in the playoffs.  Led by captain Steve Yzerman, Detroit scored 126 points that year.

    Fatal Flaw: Underestimate  

    Detroit won the President's Cup.  They probably weren't too worried about the Edmonton Oilers.

    Eventual Best Team: Carolina Hurricanes

    The Red Wings were upset in the first round by the Edmonton Oilers who actually went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to Carolina in seven games.

24. 1996-1998 Utah Jazz

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    Why They Made The List: The Utah Jazz had two of the greatest players and one of the greatest coaches of all time to never win a title.  Karl Malone and John Stockton were the best pick and roll duo the league has ever seen.  Jerry Sloan led the Jazz to records of 64-18 and 62-20 along with two NBA Finals berths in those two years. 

    Fatal Flaw: Wrong place, wrong time

    The Jazz got good in the wrong era, Michael Jordan’s era.

    Eventual Best Team: Chicago Bulls

    The Bulls beat Utah in six games in the NBA Finals two years in a row.

23. 2005 St. Louis Cardinals

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    Why They Made The List: St. Louis finished with a record of 100-62 in 2005.  Their star-studded roster included the MVP Albert Pujols and Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter.  Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen were also major parts of the team that finished 10 games ahead of the second place team in the National League.

    Fatal Flaw: Scoring

    The Cardinals scored a total of six runs in their four losses in the NLCS. 

    Eventual Best Team: Chicago White Sox

    The Cardinals lost in six games to the Houston Astros who lost in just four to the White Sox.

22. 1984-1985 Boston Celtics

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    Why They Made The List: Boston went 63-19 in the regular season that year.  The Celtics were headlined by their trio of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish.  Bird averaged 28.7 points, 10.5 boards and 6.6 assists a game that season.

    They only lost four games total in the three playoff series leading up to the NBA Finals.

    Fatal Flaw: Couldn't defend home court

    The Celtics returned to Boston down 2-3 in the NBA Finals.  All they needed were two wins at home, but they couldn't get the job done.

    Eventual Best Team: Los Angeles Lakers

    Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar proved to be too much as the Lakers beat the Celtics in six games.

21. 1998-1999 Duke Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: Duke’s roster always seems stacked, but in 1999, it was the definition.  They had four players drafted in the lottery in Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette and William Avery.  Brand was the first overall pick and the Naismith College Player of the Year. 

    The Blue Devils went 37-2 during the regular season and undefeated in ACC play.  Their dominance didn’t stop there.  The first four rounds of the NCAA tournament they beat teams by scores of 99-55, 97-56, 78-61 and 85-64.

    Fatal Flaw: Right to the trophy?

    They're Duke, they were favored by 9.5 points.  There's no way they could possibly lose. 

    Eventual Best Team: Connecticut Huskies

    UConn shocked Duke in the national title game winning by three points in the biggest upset ever in an NCAA basketball national title game. 

20. 1982 Brazil Soccer

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    Why They Made The List: Brazil scored 15 goals in just five games during the World Cup.  Socrates, Toninho Cerezo and Serginho made up some of Brazil’s big names.  The team would go down in soccer history more famous than teams that placed better because of their style.

    Fatal Flaw: Too much style

    Each of their goals may have been considered a work of art, but a goal means nothing if it wasn’t scored in a victory.

    Eventual Best Team: Italy

    Brazil lost to the eventually champions in the Italians 3-2 and didn't make the knockout rounds.

19. 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers

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    Why They Made The List: The Lakers put together one of the most impressive starting lineups on paper ever seen after they added Karl Malone and Gary Payton in the offseason to a team that already had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.  Four future Hall of Famers on one team and Los Angeles was a favorite to win it all.  They finished the season with a record of 56-26.

    Fatal Flaw: Karl Malone’s right knee

    Malone sprained his right knee and played the first four games of the Finals that year hurt and ineffective and didn’t play Game 5 because of the injury.

    Eventual Best Team: Detroit Pistons

    The Pistons stifling defense held the Lakers to totals of 75, 68, 80 and 87 points during the Finals.  The Lakers only win came in Game 2 when Kobe Bryant put up 33 points including a three with 2.1 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

18. 1991-1993 Michigan Wolverines

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    Why They Made The List: That’s right, the Fab Five: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.  All five players were top-100 recruits and four out of the five were in the top 10.  As just freshman and sophomores, they managed to reach the national championship twice despite all the pressure around them.

    Fatal Flaw: Inexperience

    They had all the talent in the world, but silly mistake like Webber’s timeout for example probably wouldn’t have happened if the Fab Five had been seniors who had been starting for four years. 

    Eventual Best Team: Duke and North Carolina

    Grant Hill’s Duke team won in 1992 in the year of Christian Laettner’s miracle turnaround jumper and UNC won in 1993.

17. 1994 Penn State Football

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    Why They Made The List: Penn State killed teams all season long on the way to an undefeated season.  They beat No. 14 USC 31-14 and No. 21 Ohio State 63-14.  Heisman finalists Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter highlight their roster along with Kyle Brady, Jeff Hartings, Bobby Engram and Joe Jurevicius.

    Fatal Flaw: Bowl Coalition

    The Big Ten was not included in the Bowl Coalition, so even though Penn State was ranked No. 2 in the country, they were sent to play No. 12 Oregon in the Rose Bowl instead of No. 1 Nebraska in the Orange.

    Eventual Best Team: Nebraska Cornhuskers

    Nebraska defeated Miami 24-17 while Penn State clobbered Oregon 38-20, but that didn’t mean anything to AP voters.

16. 2001 St. Louis Rams

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    Why They Made The List: From 1999 to 2001, the Rams may have put up the best three years of offense in league history as a whole.  Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk were former MVPs and wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt were each named to the Pro Bowl multiple times at that point.  That St. Louis team scored an average of over 31 points per game.

    Fatal Flaw: Video cameras? 

    The NFL destroyed the tapes, so I guess we’ll never really know.  So, why did the NFL destroy the tapes again?

    Eventual Best Team: New England Patriots  

    The Patriots led by some guy named Tom Brady defeated the Rams 20-17 on an Adam Vinatieri game winning field goal with no time left on the clock.  It was fitting for the New England Patriots decked out in their red, white and blue to win the Lombardi Trophy months after 9/11.

15. 2001 Seattle Mariners

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    Why They Made The List: The Mariners recorded the most wins in MLB history for someone who didn’t win the World Series with a record of 116.  Led by Ichiro Suzuki and Bret Boone, Seattle had its best year in franchise history.  They had four players named starters to the All-Star Game and four who were reserves.

    Fatal Flaw: Offense

    Seattle didn't score more than three runs in their four losses against the Yankees in the ALCS.  They had one 14-run outing, but the rest of the series, they only combined for eight.

    Eventual Best Team: Arizona Diamondbacks.  

    The New York Yankees upset the Mariners in five games who were then upset by the Diamondbacks in seven.

14. 1969-1970 Los Angeles Lakers

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    Why They Made The List: The Lakers featured three of the greatest scorers in NBA history all on one roster in Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.  This LA team didn’t even win their division in the regular season because Chamberlain only played 12 game due to injury.  The playoffs were a different story with the big man in the middle back as the battled their way to the NBA Finals.

    Fatal Flaw: Age 

    Miami and Boston’s Big Three of this past decade are laughable compared to the Lakers three of Chamberlain, West and Baylor.  They were still great players, but West was 31 years old, Chamberlain 33 and Baylor 35.  In their primes, they would’ve steamrolled anyone, but they were just a bit past.

    Eventual Best Team: New York Knickerbockers  

    The Lakers lost to Willis Reed’s Knickerbockers in seven games in the Finals.

13. 1999 Minnesota Vikings

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    Why They Made The List: The Randall Cunningham to Randy Moss and Cris Carter connection put up the second most points in NFL history at a pace of almost 35 a game. 

    They only had one blemish on their 15-1 regular season record, a three-point loss.  Their best win was a 50-10 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They best the Arizona Cardinals in their first playoff game by 20.

    Fatal Flaw: Too perfect 

    Gary Anderson recorded the first perfect regular season for a kicker going 35 for 35 on field goals and 59 for 59 on extra points.  Anderson missed a 38-yard field goal in the NFC Championship game which would’ve all but locked up a Vikings trip to the Super Bowl.

    Eventual Best Team: Denver Broncos 

    John Elway and the Broncos were lucky to draw the Atlanta Falcons instead of the Vikings, and they rolled 34-19.

12. 1974 Holland Soccer

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    Why They Made The List: Led by Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, Holland’s skilled team was nicknamed the, “Total Footballers.”  The dominated their opponents on their way to the finals.  Their path included a 4-0 shutout of Argentina and a 2-0 dethroning of the reigning champions Brazil.

    Fatal Flaw: Lust for revenge 

    Many believe Holland had a post-War desire to humiliate Germany which led to their downfall.

    Eventual Best Team: West Germany 

    Holland scored quickly to take a 1-0 lead, but the Germans took the lead 2-1 by halftime and never gave it up.

11. 2005 USC Football

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    Why They Made The List: The 12-0 USC Trojans were being called by many to be the greatest college football team ever assembled.  Going into the national championship, the team was on a 34-game winning streak. 

    Having two Heisman winners on one offense in Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush just wasn’t fair.  Their biggest win of the season was against none other than arch rival UCLA where they embarrassed their neighbor 66-19.

    Fatal Flaw: They didn’t have Vince Young 

    USC’s offense was flawless: a Heisman quarterback, a Heisman running back, another running back in Lendale White who was on the preseason Maxwell watch list along with two receivers on the list in Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith.  All that talent, they just didn’t have the talent.

    Eventual Best Team: Texas Longhorns 

    Vince Young put the Longhorns on his back to lead Texas to a miraculous come from behind 41-38 victory in one of the greatest upsets and overall games in college football history.

10. 1982-1984 Houston Cougars Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler’s Phi Slama Jama was one of the most talented and fun to watch college basketball teams ever.  Known for their highflying ability, dunks were actually encouraged by their coach Guy Lewis.  They made the Final Four three years straight and played their way into the national championship game in back-to-back years.

    Fatal Flaw: Free-throw shooting 

    In the 1983 National Championship especially, they let their opponent fight their way back into the game after missing free throw after free throw.

    Eventual Best Team: North Carolina, North Carolina State and Georgetown 

    Each of those three teams won national titles during the three year span of the Phi Slama Jama.  Houston lost to UNC in the Final four and lost in the national championship to the two others.

9. 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings

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    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    Why They Made The List: The Red Wings went 62-13-7 during the regular season that year.  Their win total of 62 is an NHL record for most in a season.  They also scored 131 points during the year which is second all-time to the 1977 Montreal Canadiens who scored 132.

    They were led by their team captain Steve Yzerman along with scoring machine Sergei Fedorov.  Their biggest win of the season was an 11-1 victory over Montreal.

    Fatal Flaw: Chemistry?

    Key players Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov and Mike Vernon were all new to Detroit in 2005.  

    Eventual Best Team: Colorado Avalanche 

    The Redwings lost to the Avalanche before the Stanley Cup Finals as Colorado defeated the Florida Panthers in just four games.

8. 2000 Miami Hurricanes Football

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Why They Made The List: Miami went 11-1 during the 2000 regular season with their only loss being a 34-29 defeat to the Washington Huskies who went onto win the Rose Bowl.  Names like Ken Dorsey, Ed Reed, Reggie Wayne, Bryant McKinnie, Dan Morgan, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and Jeremy Shockey headlined the Canes star-studded roster. 

    Despite beating Florida State during the season and being higher in both human polls, the Seminoles received a national championship bid instead of Miami.

    Fatal Flaw: BCS 

    It happens every single year.  Someone gets left out of the national title game or a major bowl because of the BCS.  Until a playoff is put in place, which never will happen, deserving teams will continue to get cheated.

    Eventual Best Team: Oklahoma 

    The Sooners beat Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl to finish ranked No. 1.

7. 1973 Cincinnati Reds

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    Why They Made The List: The Reds weren’t called the “Big Red Machine” just for kicks.  Their batting lineup boasted Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan; they were stacked.  They went 99-63 during the regular season and could’ve been one of the best teams in MLB history had they just finished business.

    Fatal Flaw: Starting pitching

    Not one of their four starters recorded over 20 wins during the season and only two out of the four had over 13 wins.

    Eventual Best Team: Oakland Athletics

    The A's beat the New York Mets in seven games to win the 1973 World Series.  The Mets defeated the Reds in five to move onto the championship.

6. 2004 Men's USA Basketball

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    Why They Made The List: This basketball team had stars as backups.  The team was led by former MVPs Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson.  A young LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony joined the vets.  The rest of the roster included Amar'e Stoudamire, Carlos Boozer, Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, Richard Jefferson and Emeka Okafor.

    Fatal Flaw: Chemistry  

    It definitley wasn’t a lack of talent, that’s for sure. 

    Eventual Best Team: Argentina 

    Manu Ginobli’s Argentina took out the U.S. in the semis handing the Americans their third loss of the tournament.  It was the first time the United States hadn’t won gold with a team made up of professionals. 

5. 1979 USC Trojans Football

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    Why They Made The List: The USC 1979 roster featured future NFL Hall of Famers including Anthony Munoz, Bruce Matthews, Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen and other future Pro Bowlers.  They are arguably the most talented team in college football history.  They went 11-0-1 during the season with their tie coming to Stanford.

    Fatal Flaw: The tie

    Allowing a tie against the far inferior Stanford cost USC a chance at a national title. 

    Eventual Best Team: Alabama Crimson Tide

    Bear Bryant’s Alabama went undefeated at 12-0 and taking the No. 1 ranking in the AP polls.

4. 1980 Russian Hockey

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    Why They Made The List: The Russians, or Soviets at the time, had won Gold in hockey in every single Winter Olympic tournament since 1960.  Led by Boris Mikhailov, Valeri Vasiliev, Sergei Makarov, Aleksandr Maltsev, the Soviets blasted their opponents into the final round scoring 51 goals while only surrendering 11.  They beat a Japan team 16-0.

    Fatal Flaw: American pride

    The Soviets probably would’ve beat the United States nine out of 10 times if not 99 out of 100, but deep into the Cold War, American would overcome the odds.

    Eventual Best Team: United States 

    The U.S. defeated the Soviets 4-3 in arguably the greatest upset in the history of sports.

3. 1954 Hungary Soccer

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    Why They Made The List: The mighty Hungarian soccer team had won 27 straight matches heading into the World Cup.  Their trio of Nandor Hidegkuti, Sandor Kocsis and Perenc Puskas was unmatched.  Hungary put on a show the first two matches scoring an incredible 17 goals.

    Fatal Flaw: Referees? 

    Some choose to believe the game was fixed by the officials, more ferociously after a questionable offsides call.

    Eventual Best Team: West Germany 

    Hungary led 2-0 in the World Cup Final just eight minutes into the game, but West Germany stormed back to win 3-2.

2. 1906 Chicago Cubs

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    Why They Made The List: Chicago went 116-36 in 1906.  Their 116 victories is still a record today even though they only played a total of 152 games compared to 162 now.  Harry Steinfeldt led the way for the Cubs hitters, but their starting rotation which featured Mordecai Brown and Jack Pfiester stole the show. 

    Even though they didn’t win the World Series, they are still considered one of the greatest baseball teams of all time.

    Fatal Flaw: Sick of home

    In the World Series, the Cubs lost all three of their home games.  They managed to steal two at the White Sox house, but they couldn't steal Game 6. 

    Eventual Best Team: Chicago White Sox

    Their neighbor across town ruined their historic season in six games in the World Series.

1. 2007 New England Patriots

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Why They Made The List: The addition of Randy Moss again turns an offense into a scoring machine as the Patriots broke the NFL record with 589 points that season scoring at a rate of almost 37 points per game.  Thanks to Moss and the newly acquired Wes Welker, Tom Brady went on to win the MVP award. 

    New England cruised through the regular season going 16-0.  Their largest margin of victory during the year was when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 56-10.  They won their two conference playoff games by multiple scorers taking their record to 18-0.

    Fatal Flaw: Overconfidence 

    The Patriots dominated teams all season long.  Not one New England player, coach or fan believed their machine could be destroyed.  The Boston Globe even wrote a book about the year before the season even ended, titling it 19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots.

    Eventual Best Team: New York Giants 

    The New England offensive line could not slow down the Giants relentless pass rush giving up five sacks in a 17-14 loss.


    David Daniels is an NFL Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a Syndicated Writer. Follow him and Bleacher Report Swagger on Twitter.