Do you know these legendary sports misses and failures?
By: Gavin Thagard
Image: Dave G Kelly/Moment/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Dropped balls, lost games, missed draft picks, failed opportunities; sports are not always filled with stories of success where dreams come true and everyone ends up at Disney Land celebrating a victory. In reality, for one group to succeed, someone else has to fail on the other side. How well do you know the most legendary misses and failures in sports? Here's a quiz where you can find out.
The tragedy of sports comes when someone is so close to success but ultimately falls flat on their face, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not. The most legendary of these moments, these misses and failures, are ingrained as vividly in our minds as if our favorite team won it all, be that the Super Bowl, the World Series or some other championship. They make us think about the story that would have been written if things ended just a little bit differently. A few of these moments describe tales about what could have been while others are inspirational stories about how to overcome and push forward.
Do you think you will be able to recall all of these sports' moments where someone came up short? Get started with this quiz and see if you can!
Which team let the Cavaliers come back after being up 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals?
From 2015 to 2018, the Warriors and the Cavaliers played in four straight NBA Finals. The Warriors walked away with three titles, but the Cavaliers won the most dramatic series.
Who won the NBA Finals MVP when the Cavaliers came back after being down 3-1 in 2016?
In all four NBA Finals' meetings against the Warriors, Lebron James proved he was the best player on the court. He could have been voted Finals MVP in every series.
In what golf tournament did Greg Norman collapse in 1996 after leading by six strokes in the final round?
Greg Norman lost the 1996 Masters Tournament to Nick Faldo. Norman would finish in second place, which was tied for his best finish at the Masters.
Who did the 1992 Houston Oilers lose to in the NFL Wildcard round?
In a game known as "The Comeback," the Houston Oilers gave up a 35-3 lead to the Bills, which started in the third quarter. The Bills scored the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter and won on a field goal in overtime.
Who recovered the Bills' onside kick against the Oilers in the 1992 Wild Card game?
Backup quarterback Frank Reich led the comeback for the Bills. Jim Kelly, the starting quarterback, strained a ligament in his knee in the final game of the regular season, forcing him to miss the Wild Card game.
Which team blew Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets, which forced a Game 7?
By 1986, the Red Sox had gone so long without a World Series title that it seemed inevitable the team would finally win one. However, Babe Ruth held strong as "The Curse of the Bambino" continued to plague the Red Sox.
Which announcer called the game-winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series?
Vin Scully spent most of his career announcing for the Dodgers. He is well-known for calling Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965 along with many other top moments in baseball history.
Which golfer lost his lead on the final hole of the 1999 Open Championship?
Jean Van de Velde's collapse at the Open Championship was highlighted by his triple-bogey on the final hole. He finished tied for second, which was still his best finish at a major championship.
Who quit in the 8th round of a boxing match against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980?
To the surprise of many, Roberto Duran II came out strong in his first match against Sugar Ray Leonard, defeating Leonard by unanimous decision. Duran disappointed fans in the second fight because he seemed out of shape and unprepared for the match. Leonard won easily.
What is the name of the Cubs fan who deflected a ball hit into the stands during the 2003 NLCS?
Steve Bartman was criticized heavily by fans after the Cubs lost the game. He had to be escorted from the stadium to ensure his safety.
When was the last time the Cubs won a World Series prior to 2003?
The Cubs suffered one of the longest championship droughts in baseball history. They didn't win a title until 2016.
Who did Jana Novotna lose the 1993 Wimbledon Championship to?
Steffi Graf dominated the singles division in women's tennis throughout her career. Her most dominant year was 1988, when she won all four Grand Slam singles along with an Olympic gold medal.
Which college football team came back to defeat Northwestern after falling behind 38-3 in 2006?
Michigan State's victory is still the largest comeback in college football history. The rest of the 2006 season did not go so well for the Spartans, however, as they finished with a 4-8 record.
Who did the Red Sox come back against in the 2004 ALCS after being down 3-0 in the series?
Throughout the history of this rivalry, the Yankees have typically come out on top. When the greatest franchise in baseball gave up the series after being up 3-0, the entire MLB community turned on their heads.
What year did the Patriots come back against the Falcons in the Super Bowl after being down 28-3?
The Patriots offense was led by Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game. The Falcons gave him just enough confidence to mount a comeback, and that was all she wrote.
Who scored the game-winning touchdown for the Patriots during their 2016-17 Super Bowl comeback?
Super Bowl LI was the first championship game to go into overtime in the NFL. Not surprisingly, it featured one of the greatest franchises in the history of the NFL, the Patriots.
Which team lost in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 to the Chicago Bulls?
Throughout the '90s, the Utah Jazz were led by John Stockton and Karl Malone. The two ran an exceptional pick-and-roll offense, but it wasn't good enough to get past Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
How many Super Bowls did the Bills lose in a row in the early '90s?
The Bills dominated the league in the regular season with their no-huddle, hurry-up offense. However, that offense didn't translate well in the Super Bowls where defenses were tougher and harder to fool.
Which Bills kicker is known for the "wide right" kick that would have won the team Super Bowl XXV?
The 1990-91 Super Bowl was the closest the Bills came to winning the big game. They were one field goal away from being champions.
Which player was drafted ahead of Michael Jordan in 1984?
Michael Jordan proved why team fits aren't always important when drafting a player. The Portland Trailblazers learned that lesson the hard way when their first round pick, Sam Bowie, failed to live up to expectations.
In 2011, what did Kevin Na shoot on the 9th hole of the Texas Valero Open?
Kevin Na hasn't had the most successful golf career, with his best finish being 7th at the U.S. Open. However, his 16 on a par 4 will forever be remembered by golf fans as one of the greatest fails of all time.
Who was the first quarterback taken in the 2000 NFL draft, the same draft Tom Brady was in?
Tom Brady wasn't taken off the boards in the 2000 NFL draft until the 6th round. Since then, he has made every team across the NFL question themselves for passing on him.
How many games did the 76ers win during the 1972-73 season?
The 76ers have had some ups and downs throughout the history of their franchise. However, the team hasn't been any lower than when they went 9-73 during the 1972-73 season.
Which team came up one yard short of defeating the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV?
The Titans had an incredible playoff run to get to Super Bowl XXXIV. The run included the "Music City Miracle," where the Titans won in the final seconds of the AFC Wildcard game.
Which Titans' receiver was tackled one yard short of the goal line in Super Bowl XXXIV?
Coming into Super Bowl XXXIV, the Rams had one of the most dominant offenses to ever touch the field. The offense was honored with the nickname "The Greatest Show on Turf."
Who was drafted ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA draft?
Injuries hampered the career of Greg Oden. With his hopes of stardom crumbled, Oden was out of the NBA by 2014.
After Lebron James left the Cavaliers in 2010, who promised the Cavaliers would win an NBA title before Lebron?
Dan Gilbert made sure to humiliate Lebron James after The King decided to take his talents elsewhere. Luckily for Cleveland, Lebron decided to come back and delivered a championship to the franchise.
Who did Michael Jordan come back to play for after leaving the Chicago Bulls?
Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls was a legend, an almost godlike figure. Michael Jordan on the Washington Wizards should have never happened.
Which golfer hit 18 over par on the 16th hole of the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational?
John Daly's golf talent relied on his ability to drive the ball down the course, which he was exceptional at. He even coined the phrase "grip it and rip it."
What sport did Michael Jordan leave the NBA to play during the prime of his career?
Michael Jordan might have had eight NBA titles had he not left the league to play baseball. Instead, his absence allowed the Rockets to squeeze in two titles between Jordan's six.
Which player died the night after being drafted by the Boston Celtics?
Len Bias was supposed to be the next great NBA player, someone who could rival Michael Jordan. However, his life was tragically cut short when he overdosed on cocaine, and the NBA missed out on a future star.
Who was drafted ahead of Robin Yount in the 1973 MLB draft?
Robin Yount had a 20-year career in Major League Baseball, which included two AL MVP awards. David Clyde, on the other hand, only played five injury-hampered seasons.
Which NBA team had Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden all on the same team?
The Thunder reached the NBA Finals once with three future NBA MVPs on their team. The franchise would later trade James Harden, and Kevin Durant would leave the team to join the Golden State Warriors.
Which team failed to surround Barry Sanders with enough talent to keep him playing in the NFL?
Barry Sanders spent his entire career with the Lions, which included some great individual performances. However, Sanders never got to show off his talent in the Super Bowl, the biggest game of them all.
Which team drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007 with the first overall pick?
JaMarcus Russell was a sure thing coming out of college. He had a big arm, athleticism, and poise. But to this dismay of Raiders' fans, he failed to take care of himself, forcing the team to release him in 2010.
You Might Also Like
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!