BEST COLLAPSES IN SPORTS

Don’t worry Leafs’ fans, you aren’t the only ones who’ve felt the pain of a tough loss.

Ask a fan of the Oilers, Canucks or Flames about their recent heartache. The Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup final in 2011, the Oilers did the same in 2006 as did the Flames in 2004. Sure, none of them had a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes to play, but your collapse came in the first round, not the 4th so it likely evens out.

What I respect most about hockey fans, is that despite having felt your own pain at one point or another, you rarely feel much empathy for the fanbase that just experienced a devastating loss. I love that.

Sports is the one aspect in life that fans shouldn’t take too seriously, but it does require an extensive amount of passion to be a "true fan." You can’t half-ass it. You need to be invested. That doesn’t mean you need to read the Nation five times a day, or listen to every minute of a sports show like mine, although you should, but the best part of being is fan is the feeling the highs and the lows.

When the Leafs went ahead 4-1 and CBC panned to Maple Leafs Square, I loved watching the unbridled enthusiasm. There are few things where men will openly showcase their emotions. We should do it more often, but we don’t, except when it comes to sports.

I watched strangers hug one another with pure joy after an Oilers goal during the 2006 Cup run. Some of those same people would struggle to hug their aunt at a family reunion, but the euphoria of watching sports brings out real emotions in many of us.

It is awesome.

What is equally awesome is watching a team you don’t root for crash and burn. I’ll admit I jumped up off the couch and celebrated when the Bruins tied the game. I don’t even know why. I don’t cheer for the Bruins, and they’ve never been one of my favourite teams, but I was caught up in the excitement of watching an epic collapse.

My wife isn’t a huge sports fan, but she loves watching the playoffs in any sport. She told me last week that I’m not great to watch the game with because I usually don’t show any emotion. The Miami Dolphins haven’t been in the playoffs for years, neither have the Blue Jays or Bengals. Those are three teams I cheer for, and she was correct that I haven’t allowed myself to get caught up in a game in awhile.

I did, however, get amped up during the final 10 minutes of the Leafs/Bruins game and it felt great. I had no vested interest in who won, but I was cheering for the Bruins in OT. It made for a better story, sorry Toronto fans, but it’s true. Had the Leafs won, there would be no collapse or comeback story.

Sports needs good stories, and sometimes many of them contain heartache.

Sometimes the outcome will make you cry, and sometimes the euphoria of a big victory will last for months or years. Either way it awakens our senses and allows us to truly feel and capture the moment.

Maybe the Leafs will learn from their collapse and become a legitimate Cup contender in the next few years, or maybe those final 10 minutes will go down in history as the greatest collapse in franchise history. Either way, that game will be talked about for years, both positively and negatively, depending on which side you were cheering for.

In honour of the Leafs, I looked up a few other epic collapses that might make you chuckle or cry depending on your connection to them.

PREMATURE CELEBRATION 

I love how the guy who ends up winning still celebrates early, despite watching the other guy crash while doing the same thing. It’s a subtle jab, but it made me laugh.

GREG NORMAN AT 1996 MASTERS

 I didn’t use the english version, because his actions told the story. An epic meltdown.

Jean Van de Velde, 18th hole at the 1999 British Open

This video is great because Van de Velde tells you what he was thinking during this meltdown.

MIRACLE ON MANCHESTER, OILERS/KINGS 1982

 The Oilers hold the record for surrendering the largest lead in an NHL playoff game. They led 5-0 after 40 minutes, before giving up 5 goals in the third and then losing in OT. The Kings made it 5-3 with 5:22 remaining in the third, so the Oilers meltdown was much worse than the Leafs when you consider time on the clock. The video is great because it includes Mark Messier and Marcel Dionne giving their team’s perspective on what happened.

What sporting collapse (one game/event) was the most memorable for you?

FINAL DAYS

I’d be lying if part of me isn’t hoping someone has a small crash and burn on the Karaoke stage this Friday, but I don’t see it happening. The competition will be fierce, and hilarious. You only have three days left to get your tickets to the King/Queen of Karoake party at On The Rocks this Friday. I’d like to sell 50 more tickets, and raise a bit more money for MS. So if you don’t have plans, get your tickets here and come out for a great time. Strudwick is confident his performance will be talked about years. I wonder if his dance moves are as epic as this guy’s.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • vetinari

    Sadly, misery loves company… my brother-in-law is a huge Canadiens fan and always goes on about how great they are and I secretly did a happy dance when Montreal was eliminated… now I bug him that we both cheer for teams that are not going to win the Stanley Cup this year… the only difference being that my team will have a better potential selection at the draft.

  • Wax Man Riley

    anything that involves the leafs, their fans, and heartbreak/collapse is the BEST thing in the world to me.

    leafs suck. always have, always will. collapse away…

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Where’s your sense of “typo levity”?

    BTW… you’re doing it wrong.

    you are still hopping off the “coach”, which I still think sounds hilarious in a non-malicious way.

  • ubermiguel

    Oh, it’s the Miracle on Manchester, no doubt about it.

    I remember it well. I was Grade 4 and I can remember laying on the living room carpet in front of the TV at my grandparents’ house in Grande Prairie. I remember pounding the floor each time the Kings scored in the third period… and my grandmother telling me to “settle down!”

    It was a humiliating experience, even for a kid like me back then, because even I was old enough to recognize a superior team stinking things out for 20 minutes. Even I knew how bad those yellow jerseys looked that LA wore.

    Of course, the Oilers had a chance to redeem themselves on home ice later in the series. That’s actually not mentioned that much in connection with the Miracle on Manchester – the fact that it wasn’t in an elimination game. And that the Oilers folded again at home.

    But, in a way, the Miracle on Manchester cemented my loyalty to the Oilers forever. They were (and still are, I would argue) a team that does not do ANYTHING small.

    When they win, they win big. When they lose, they lose big.

    When they make a big trade, it’s trading away the Greatest Player Who Ever Lived.

    When they’re great, they win five Cups, make it to seven finals and fill out the nucleus of two Canada Cup-winning teams. When they’re bad, they miss the playoffs for seven straight seasons (and counting) and can’t attract the attention of enough media guys to get the league’s leading rookie scorer a nomination for the Calder trophy.

    When they draft badly, they do it with guys who quit hockey to become firefighters and owners of dirt-bike tracks. When they draft well, they grab guys like Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Andy Moog, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr, in three straight drafts.

    When they come back from leads, they do it when they’re down three goals to Dallas with a few minutes left in 1997. When they blow leads, it’s five goals in 20 minutes against Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer and a bunch AHLers in yellow jerseys.

    The Miracle on Manchester came at the perfect time for the young Oilers – it taught them a valuable lesson in losing. But I’d also argue that it set the tone for a franchise that’s forever been a wonderful and awful and fun and dreadful and entertaining and frustrating roller-coaster ride.

    • DSF

      This is very true and it continues in micro scale this season. Last season they lost an excruciatingly large number of one goal games. This year they won 6-1 or lost 6-1. Go big or go home!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Great entertainment and underrated Leafs almost completed an epic choke of the Bruins . If Leafs were expected to win series then you could call it a choke of grandiose proportions – but it wasn’t even expected they would get as far as they did . Our own Oilers were expected to win and got surprised by L.A. – now that’s a choke ! That’s what makes the sport worth more watching . Cudos to the Leafs for getting that close .

  • vetinari

    Miracle on Manchester hurt, but, for me, the series loss to the Flames in 1986 hurt even more. We were on the edge of our seats during those 15 minutes of hockey after the Oilers’ own goal in the 3rd period of game 7. Then, when the game ended, it was hard to fathom as an Oilers’ fan what had happened. Took until winning the 3rd Cup to get that monkey off our backs.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Everyday Kevin Lowe shows up for work.

    It’s a recurring nightmare that still occurs to this day. His teammates made him a 6 time Stanley Cup Champion. Without all his teammates to help make him look good, well, we see the results. Toronto Maple Leaf fans now laugh at Edmonton, as well as the rest of the NHL.

  • Word to the Bird

    It must be quite the adjustment for our players coming up from obscurity in OKC to the pressures of packed houses and scrutiny that is the NHL ! So far they are not making that adjustment well .

  • Rocket

    Yeah that miracle on manchester game really hurt.

    Glad Toronto lost. I hate cheering for a Canadian team to lose but love to see all the sad sports media analyse it to death. ~Compelling television~

  • Word to the Bird

    Monumental collapse of Philly is probably biggest collapse this year . did they make the Weber offer by the way . Look at their over budget problems . Only good contracts are Giroux and Couturier and they will not be letting either go . Going to be some real bargains coming out of that club probably this season . Bryzgalov-5.66M-6years , Pronger 4.91M -4 years , Brier 6.5M-2 years , Timmonem 6.0M-1 year . Now the overpay middle group : Hartnell 4.75M -6 years , Voacek ? 4.250M-3 years , Simmonds? 3.95M-6 years, Coburn 4.5M 3years . That a lot of overpaying for a non playoff team ! Other teams have the odd one or two , but nothing near as bad as Flyers .

    Heres another list of overpays that clubs might want to move cheaply : B.Richards 6.667 M-6years ,Myers 5.5M-6 years , Leino 4.5M-4 years ,J.Stall 6.0M-6years , T.Ruutu 4.75M-3 years , A.Semin 7.0M-5years , Zajac 5.75M-6 years , Lecavalier 7.27M -7 years , Perry 8.65M-6 years , M.Koivu 6.75M-6 years ,B.Burns 5.76M-4 years , P.Hornqvist 4.250M-5 years Luongo 5.333 M-9 years .

  • Rocknrolla

    The epic comeback against the Dallas stars I think it was 1998.

    People left the building and were coming back in. I was in Ottawa and had turned it off.

    My brother phoned me to turn the gane back on. We won. Epic!

  • Wax Man Riley

    Just looked it up. Such a great series!

    It was game 3 in Edmonton. Weight, Kovalenko, Greir and yes, Bucky.

    The link is a TSN feature on the series. Joseph was amazing in that game 3 and the whole series. After that game, I didn’t miss a playoff game at Skyreach until they didn’t make the playoffs in ’02.

  • lucky

    Classic collapses are almost a daily thing in NHL , that’s a great thing about hockey enjoyment .Thanks for upsets as one gets bored if results are as they should be .

  • Reg Dunlop

    With nothing concrete coming to our Oilers as yet , hard to fathom we will be any better next year in a harder division than this year . Most , truly did not envision our team to show such little progress with additions of Schultz and Yakupov .

    Is it work to be done by MacT. , or is it an impossible dream ? Wouldn’t it be neat to hear all the conversations on possible trades , etc. , and deals missed ?

    I don’t think Oiler fans can be duped into thinking we are really improving bringing up prospects (suspects ) in our system , and this years draft that will not be a NBR.1 . We have been there , done that , far to many times only to be disappointed once again .

  • Aitch

    If Im making an educated guess these are the players Oilers are looking at draft 2013

    Nichushkin

    Monahan

    Lindholm

    Zadorov

    And possible trade down

    Horvat

    Lazar

    • Aitch

      They matter as much as every other puck battle that happens during the game. The team that wins more overall battles will probably create more chances. More chances lead to more goals, more often than not.