2004 New York YankeesThe scene was game four of the 2004 American League Championship Series and the New York Yankees led the series three games to none against fierce rivals Boston Red Sox. It was the bottom of the ninth and the Yankees, up 4-3 in Boston, needed just three outs to advance to the World Series.
Three outs they got, but not before Boston added a run to tie the game at four. Another three innings followed with the Red Sox stealing two more runs in the 12th to take the game. So the Sox take one game, leaving the Yankees with a 3-1 lead. No big deal, right? Wrong. The Red Sox did the unthinkable and swept the next three games to take the series, including one game in 14 innings. As New York sat back stunned of the massive lead they'd blown, Boston went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series for the championship.
2011 U.S. Open (Tennis)Far from the first professional tennis collapse, the choke job put up by Roger Federer at the 2011 U.S. Open is certainly one of the most recent. Federer had a solid performance in the opening rounds to reach the final bracket as a third seed. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was no challenge in the quarterfinals as Federer swept the round, but the semifinals and Novak Djokovic were a completely different story.
Federer went up 2-0 on the top-seeded Djokovic in the semifinals, needing just one more win to advance to the finals. He never got that win however as the collapse occurred as Djokovic took the next three to eliminate Federer completely. To rub it in a little bit more, Djokovic went on to win the championship over Rafael Nadal.
2006 Insight BowlSetting a record for the biggest comeback in NCAA Football Division I FBS bowl history, the 2006 Insight Bowl also featured the biggest collapse in college football in a single game. Coming in at 7-5, the Texas Tech Red Raiders were slightly favored over the 6-6 Minnesota Golden Gophers but fell way behind through the first three quarters in a 38-7 deficit with only eight minutes to play. The Gophers nearly had the bowl game won when the Red Raiders came back to add 31-unanswered points to tie the game at 38-all.
Texas Tech forced overtime but Minnesota got the ball first in the extra session. The Gophers drive down the field in six plays to score a field goal, but the Red Raiders answered right back with a five-play touchdown run to win the game. Unsurprisingly just days after the collapse, Minnesota head coach Glen Mason was fired.
2007 New England PatriotsLed by studly quarterback Tom Brady, the 2007 New England Patriots became the first team in National Football League history to complete a 16-game season with a perfect, undefeated record. Along with top receivers like Wes Wekler and Randy Moss, the perfect Patriots were heavily favored to win the Super Bowl, similar to the 1972 Miami Dolphins who won each of their regular season games before winning the championship as well.
New England easily reached Super Bowl XLII, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers along the way, but suffered an embarrassing collapse in the big game. Brady and company finished with an 18-1 overall record after dropping the championship game 17-14 to the New York Giants.
1999 British OpenUnlike many of the other notable sports collapses on this list, the disaster at the 1999 British Open was not created by a poor team effort, rather unfortunate play by a single athlete, golfer Jean Van de Velde. In an attempt to become the first Frenchman to win the tournament, Van de Velde built a substantial lead going into the 18th hole and had nearly already won the title.
That lead however was squandered in the final strokes. Van de Velde could finish with a double bogey, or six strokes on the par four, and still win the event. Unfortunately for him, Van de Velde ran into a water hazard and needed seven strokes to finish the hole. One too many that was and it allowed Paul Lawrie to take the championship.
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