One of the wonderful things about YouTube is the ability to pull up clips of some of your favorite sports moments with the click of a button. On
the other hand, if you’re having a shitty day and are filled with self-loathing (as Sgt. Zim typically is), you can pull up some pretty dark memories. Thus, for this post I channeled my “Inner Zim” to come up with my personal Top 5 Stomach Punch Games of All-Time. The conditions were simple:
(1) I had to have remembered watching it (sorry ’76 NBA Finals, or 1948 NFL Championship Game)
(2) I had to be able to find it on YouTube
With those conditions in mind, enjoy:
Honorable Mention: (only the links)
1999 National League Championship Series: Mets v. Braves, Game 6. (Yes, I used to be a Mets fan.) The Mets trailed 3 games to none in the NLCS, only to fight back to win the next two. In Game 6, the Mets overcame a 5 run Braves lead, moving ahead 8-7 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Atlanta rallied to tie the game and eventually won in extra innings when Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones home to clinch the series. I recall watching this on mute, turning the TV off and yelling. Loudly.
#5 – Suns – Spurs Game 1, 2008 Western Conference 1st Round. Yes it was a 1st round game, and yes it was Game 1, and yes I realize that the Suns “Seven Seconds or Less” era was already over, but that didn’t stop me from hoping. The Suns raced out to an 8 point half time lead and were seemingly in control, leading me to believe that maybe, just maybe, the Suns had one more run left in them. They didn’t. San Antonio rallied to take the game into overtime where the Suns fought back themselves to take a 3 point lead with seconds left – cue Tim Duncan:
That three, Duncan’s FIRST of the season, took the game to Double Overtime, where the Spurs eventually won. The will of the Suns was broken and they never recovered, losing the series 4 games to 1. Oh AND I lost 80 bucks on the over/under in Vegas. That’s what we call a lose-lose.
#4 – Kansas State v. Texas A&M, 1998 Big XII Championship Game. The game was turning into a coronation. Kansas State (my alma mater), called “Futility U” by Sports Illustrated just nine short years earlier, was sitting at 11-0, one game away from a crack at a pedestrian, Tee Martin-led Tennesee team for the first BCS Championship. The ‘Cats were even ahead 27-12 with 9:20 remaining in the 4th quarter – then it all blew up.
Sirr Parker is still a curse word in Manhattan, KS and K-State hasn’t been that close to a national title since.
#3 – Rockets @ Suns, 1995 Western Conference Semifinals, Game 7. I’d argue that the ’94-’95 Phoenix Suns were the most talented Suns team of all time. After blowing a 2-0 series lead against the soon-to-be NBA Champion Rockets in the 1994 playoffs, the Suns reloaded, adding several gifted veterans to a team coming off of 56 wins. They had remarkable depth: Barkley, Majerle, KJ, Danny Manning, Wayman Tisdale, AC Green, Danny Ainge, Wesley Person, and fan favorite Elliot Perry. After taking 3 of the first 4 game in the series, with Games 5 and 7 at home they couldn’t possibly lose. Right? Then Mario Elie showed up to haunt my dreams.
That’s still hard to watch and the black & white makes it worse. He had to blow that kiss didn’t he? Pay close attention to Danny Schayes (#24) attempting to play help defense, great hesitation there. Go ahead and make sure it was as wide open as possible. On a side note I still blame my parents for the series loss as the Suns lost Games 5, 6, and 7 while I was forced to go on vacation to California. Thus if any Suns fans are still as hurt by this as I am- go ahead and blame my parents.
#2 – Bulls @ Suns, 1993 NBA Finals, Game 6. This wasn’t an entire game as much as it was one moment. The 62-win Suns made their 2nd NBA Finals in franchise history, only to be met by some Jordan fellow. After falling into an 0-2 series hole, the Suns battled back to make the series 3-2 with Game 6 and Game 7 in Phoenix. With 8 seconds remaining Phoenix owned a 98-96 lead….
Ouch. I think this was the last time I cried after a team lost. And I cried. I cried like a big dumb homo (it’s a 30 Rock reference you bastages). Upon re-watching this play I have a question – What the fuck was Danny Ainge thinking? Yes I recognize that Scottie Pippen was driving the lane unmolested and that Horace Grant was open on the block. BUT, the Suns were up 2! If Pippen or Grant dunks the damn thing you’re still tied with 4 or 5 seconds left. Instead you leave the guy who shot 46.3% from 3 point range in 1992-1993 wide open? Hey, Paul Westphal, you probably should have told Ainge to stay at home on defense.
#1 – Steelers v. Cardinals, Super Bowl XLIII. Maybe it’s on this list because I haven’t been far enough removed from it yet, but I don’t think that’s true. I said it the day after the game and I maintain it today – this was the worst sports fan moment of my life. In all of the previous moments on the list a couple of other variables would have had to swung my way for my team to win it all. Not here. In the middle of the 3rd quarter I had come to grips with the fact that the Cards would lose. Hell I had already agreed to go dancing and shave my head into a red mohawk if the Cards pulled it off. Then the Cardinals remembered they had Larry Fitzgerald, following a furious rally the Cards grabbed a lead with 2:37 left…and well…you know the rest –
Fuck. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch that. I assume he still caught it right? All I know is that I hate Aaron Francisco.
Well that was depressing. I’ll have to put up something jolly soon.