Where do the 2007 Patriots Rank?
In sports, the best team does not always win. If we knew the outcome before the game, there would be little reason to watch.
Champions will be remembered, as they should be. Sometimes, however, there are unforgettable teams who came up short.
Here I give to you the 15 best teams (no hockey or soccer, sorry) to fall short of their championship dreams since 1990.
Tank Carder and the TCU defense gave up only 11 points per game
The undefeated 2010 TCU Horned Frogs outscored their opponents by an average score of 43-11. How does a 13-0 team who destroys its opponents in a fashion this dominant not even get to compete for the national championship?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the BCS!
TCU's 2010 highlights include a 47-7 road victory in Week 10 over an undefeated No. 6-ranked Utah team. In the Rose Bowl, TCU took down what many considered the hottest team in the country, the No. 4 ranked, Big-10 Champion Wisconsin Badgers 21-19.
TCU was in control for most of the game, and the great Horned Frog defense stopped the Badgers short on a potential game-tying two-point conversion very late in the fourth quarter.
The 2005 Fighting Illini won 37 games, but lost in the title game
The Deron Williams-led 2004-05 Fighting Illini started the season 29-0. They finished the season 37-2, tying an NCAA record for wins in a season.
The reason they appear on this list is because they came up just short in the NCAA championship game, falling to a great North Carolina team 75-70.
Their only other loss was at Ohio State on a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Chris Webber and the Kings came up just short in 2002
The 2001-2002 Kings were 61-21 and had the best record in the NBA. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals where they were defeated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in a thrilling seven-game series.
Many people considered the Kings the better team despite the loss, thanks to a very controversially officiated Game 6 in Los Angeles.
Regardless, the Kings had a chance to close the series out at home in Game 7, and they came up short. Hence, they appear on this list and not on a list of championship teams.
The "Greatest Show on Turf" couldn't finish off the feisty Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI
The 2001 Rams went 14-2 in the regular season. Led by NFL MVP Kurt Warner and the great Marshall Faulk, St. Louis was the hands-down favorite to win Super Bowl XXXVI.
Despite being a whopping 14-point favorite, the Rams were upset by the New England Patriots in the title game 20-17 on a last-second field goal.
Shawn Kemp posterizing Dennis Rodman in the 1996 NBA Finals
The 1995-96 Seattle Supersonics were a great team. The Western Conference Champion Sonics went 64-18 in the regular season and swept the two-time defending champion Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals.
They would have won the championship in most other seasons, but they ran into perhaps the best team of all time in the 1996 NBA finals, the 72-10 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. They put up a valiant effort, but eventually fell in six games.
The 2001 Mariners tied the MLB record for wins in a season
Led by AL MVP and Rookie of the Year Ichiro Suzuki, the 2001 Seattle Mariners tied the major league record for wins, going 116-46. How does a team that set all time records like this only rank 10th on this list, you ask?
It was the way they went out, very meekly in five games to the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Nevertheless, the Mariners had a historic season.
Paul Pierce and the 1997 Jayhawks were dominant, but came up short in the Sweet 16
Many people forget just how dominant the 1996-97 Kansas Jayhawks were.
They went 34-1 in the regular season, their only loss being a 96-94 setback at Missouri. They would later beat Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game by 27 points.
Paul Pierce, Raef Lafrentz and Co. were shocked in the Sweet 16 by eventual champion Arizona, 85-82. The Jayhawks finished the season 36-2.
Undefeated SEC Champions left out of the National Championship Game? Only in College Football
Another BCS Tragedy, the 2004 Auburn Tigers went undefeated and won the SEC Championship. They had two of the top five picks in the 2005 NFL draft, running backs Ronnie Brown and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.
Tiger quarterback Jason Campbell also went in the first round. Somehow, despite a road win (34-10) over No. 10 Tennessee and a 24-6 beatdown of No. 8 Georgia on their resume, Auburn had to watch the BCS Championship game from home.
Roger Craig and the 1990 49ers fell just short of a third straight title
No team in NFL history has ever won three consecutive Super Bowls. The 1990 49ers looked primed to do just that after starting the season 10-0. They would finish the season with the NFL's best record, 14-2.
Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Co. would eventually fall at home to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game 15-13 on a last second field goal by Matt Bahr, his fifth of the game.
Perhaps things would have been different if Joe Montana didn't have to leave the game due to an injury, but we will never know.
Elton Brand and the 1998-99 Duke Blue Devis went 37-2, but didn't win the big one
The 1998-99 Duke Blue Devils had four of the top 14 players selected in the 1999 NBA Draft. That did not even include future national player of the year Shane Battier. Elton Brand and Co. steamrolled through the regular season, going undefeated in the ACC.
Their only loss was at the buzzer to Cincinnati early in the season. They would make it all the way to the NCAA championship game, where they lost a heartbreaking 77-74 contest to a terrific Connecticut team, finishing their season 37-2.
The Minnesota Vikings scored a then-record 556 points in the 1998 regular season, never scoring fewer than 24 points in a game.
Led by Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss, Chris Carter, and Robert Smith, Minnesota went 15-1 in the regular season. Their only setback was a 27-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They eventually bowed out in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game, 30-27.
A missed field goal in the fourth quarter by Gary Anderson would have put the game away and sent the Vikings to the Super Bowl. It was Anderson's only miss of the season.
Albert Belle and the Cleveland Indians had one of the most feared lineups in history
Winning 100 games in a baseball season is extremely impressive. Winning 100 games in a season shortened by 18 games due to a strike is legendary. The 1995 Cleveland Indians did just that, going 100-44.
They led the American League in both batting average and ERA. Jose Mesa had 46 saves and a microscopic 1.13 ERA to anchor the bullpen. The Indian offense was so good, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome both hit in the bottom half of the lineup.
They had one of the most powerful sluggers of all-time in Albert Belle (he became the first player in history to hit 50 HRs and 50 doubles in a season in 1995). They had speed in Kenny Lofton, who led the league in triples and steals despite missing 26 games.
Despite all of this, the loaded 1995 Cleveland Indians lost the World Series in six games to the Atlanta Braves.
Ki-Jana Carter led the 1994 Nittany Lions to an undefeated season, but not a national championship
The 1994 Penn State Nittany Lions were yet another undefeated college football team that was denied a shot at the national title. The 1994 Nittany Lions lost their No. 1 ranking after beating the No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes 63-14 in Week 7. They never scored less than 35 points in any game.
Their offense featured three of the top nine picks in the NFL draft. Running back Ki-Jana Carter went first, quarterback Kerry Collins went fifth, and tight end Kyle Brady went ninth.
Penn State trounced the Pac-10 Champion Oregon Ducks by 18 points in the Rose Bowl, but it was not good enough to secure the No. 1 ranking, as an equally undefeated Nebraska team was ranked first in both polls at the seasons' end.
Had they won the Super Bowl, the 2007 Patriots would have gone down as the best NFL team ever
The 2007 New England Patriots scored more points than any team in NFL history. They had an undefeated regular season, only the second team in history to do so in the Super Bowl era. Tom Brady and Randy Moss had record setting seasons at their respective positions.
Had the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they likely would be regarded as the best football team ever. At 18-0, they were 12-point favorites to win Super Bowl XLII. However, the New York Giants stifled the legendary Patriot offense in their shocking 17-14 victory, denying New England eternal bragging rights.
Larry Johnson and the 1990-91 UNLV Rebels top this list
In 1990, UNLV steamrolled their way to the national title, beating Duke in the championship game by a record 30 points. They returned nearly their entire team the following year, including the 1991 National Player of the Year Larry Johnson.
The 1990-91 Rebels went undefeated in the regular season, annihilating everyone in their path. Their average margin of victory was 27 points. Late in the season, they blew out #2 ranked Arkansas on the road.
The Rebels started the season 34-0, and in the Final Four had a rematch of the previous years' national championship game vs. the Duke Blue Devils. Late in the game, point guard Greg Anthony fouled out while scoring a basket that for all intents and purposes would have put the game away for UNLV. The whistle didn't go the Rebels' way as Anthony was called for a charge, and Vegas was left without a point guard to finish the game.
Needless to say, it did not end well for the No. 1 team on this list. The understandably overconfident Rebels dropped a heartbreaker, 79-77. However, they can take solace in the fact that they won the championship the previous year and still have an unmatched mystique.