Biggest End-of-Game Chokers in Sports
While certain athletes can dominate consistently and close the game out during clutch time, there are others who lack the keen instinct to make the right decision when it matters most.
From last-second fumbles and interceptions to blown saves in the ninth, these players can't seem to contain their eccentric inability to win the game.
Stats are irrelevant when the game doesn't end in a victory.
Performing for three quarters, eight innings or just two periods doesn't get the job done in professional sports, and these athletes are learning that the hard way.
While Roger Federer has choked lately against Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams blames everyone else for her losses, they just missed the cut for having consistent success in clutch moments throughout the rest of their careers.
Here are the biggest end-of-game chokers in sports.
10. Norv Turner
When you're the head coach of a team that has the No. 1 offense and defense, and they miss the playoffs, you're going to be labeled a choke-artist.
100-105 in his career (42-23 with the Chargers), Turner has never been able to win in crucial moments, going 4-4 in the playoffs.
After an 11-5 season in 2007, the Chargers lost the AFC Championship in mediocre fashion. While they won the division in 2008 with an 8-8 record, they lost the Divisional game against the Steelers.
In 2009, perhaps their most promising year considering they finished 13-3, they lost to the Jets in the Divisional game, including three missed field goals by fellow choke-artist Nate Kaeding.
Fans may actually miss Marty Schottenheimer's style of losing the big game.
9. Eli Manning
While he is a prolific passer with an affinity for the hard count (and won a Super Bowl against the 18-0 Patriots), the younger Manning has a tendency to blow games.
He can appear unstoppable for numerous possessions, only to pull a Houdini and change form, often transforming into a poor man's Kyle Boller with his decision making.
Aside from the inspirational Super Bowl win, Manning has consistently blown crucial games at the worst of times.
At least he waits for the best moment to make a mistake.
8. Phil Mickelson
Mickelson has come in second place at the US Open Championship a record five times, but has never won.
Leading on the 71st hole at the 2006 Open, Mickelson blew his lead with a drive left of the fairway, losing the first spot.
His performance on this 13th hole seemingly displays his lack of clutch play.
Golf is a mental game, and these clutch moments are all in his head.
He's still chasing Greg Norman for biggest choke-artist in golf.
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Being the son of a legend is sure to bring high expectations, but after early success, the younger Earnhardt has struggled to close out races.
After getting established in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, Earnhardt was expected to bring numerous championships and more prosperity to an already-stellar family name.
However, numerous mishaps have headlined Earnhardt Jr.'s career.
In 2009, he missed a pit stop and pitted outside of his box, and was then involved in a controversial 10-car pileup that he received all the blame for.
In 2010, he was involved in yet another crash at a crucial moment.
Those last five laps continue to haunt the popular driver.
6. Donovan McNabb
With Philadelphia's 14–3 home loss to the Carolina Panthers in the 2003 NFC Championship game, the Eagle's signal caller became the first NFL quarterback since Danny White of the Dallas Cowboys to lead his team to three consecutive losses in conference title games.
His passer rating in the three conference championship games was a cumulative 50.5, leading many to believe he was a choke artist.
While he made the Super Bowl the following year, the Eagles lost and never fully recovered following the Super Bowl and the Terrell Owens hangover.
Despite stellar numbers over his career, McNabb has never lived up to winning expectations.
5. England National Soccer Team
This team is still trying to rid itself of the choking reputation it has garnered over the years.
Choking during crucial penalty shootouts in major tournaments is sure to get you high up on this list.
England has only won 17-percent of the shootouts they have been involved in, highlighted by three iconic moments.
Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed kicks in the semi-final against Germany in the 1990 World Cup, Gareth Southgate missed against Germany in Euro 1996, and David Beckham and Darius Vassell single-handedly lost the quarter-finals for the England team against Portugal.
It's becoming a tradition.
4. New York Mets
There's a reason this team has been called the New York Mess, but recent times have brought about the most anger from fans.
In 2007, the Mets had a 7.5-game lead in the division with 17 games to go. Considered one of the worst collapses in baseball history, the Mets went 5-12 to lose the lead and miss the playoffs.
2008 brought about a parallel result. With a 3.5-game lead after 145 games, the team went 7-10 down the stretch, allowing the Phillies to pass them again.
They've snowballed ever since.
3. Nate Kaeding
While he was named "Big Game Nate" in college, Kaeding has yet to bring that reputation to the pros.
It all started during his rookie year when he missed a 40-yard kick against the Jets in the Wild Card round.
In the 2007 AFC Divisional Game against the New England Patriots, Kaeding missed a 54-yard kick that would've sent the game to overtime.
Then, in 2008, he went four straight games with a missed field goal, with two being in the playoffs against Tennessee and Indianapolis.
Perhaps he should be renamed "Big Game Innate."
2. LeBron James
You knew this one was coming.
From being called the next Michael Jordan to becoming Dwayne Wade's sidekick, the man referred to as "The King" has yet to make an appearance in any fourth quarter.
Blamed for quitting in the playoffs with the best team in the East at the time, the Cavaliers, he bolted for South Beach. But his fortunes didn't change.
He disappeared numerous times during fourth quarters throughout the playoffs and kept fans scratching their heads.
Will he ever win the big game?
1. Tony Romo
Dallas Cowboys fans were thrilled with the return of their pretty-boy quarterback this offseason.
However, Sunday night's game against the New York Jets shot down all hopes of an exciting season.
His two fourth quarter mishaps, an unforced fumble while taking a sack and a gift interception for Darelle Revis, reminded fans of the memorable 2006 NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Trailing 21-20 with 1:19 on the clock, Dallas attempted a 19-yard field goal.
Romo, the holder, dropped the snap after catching it and then tried to run into the end zone, only to get tackled at the 1-yard line.
The future is here.