15 Biggest Choke Artists in Sports
15 Biggest Choke Artists in Sports
The term choke artist can have a very interesting meaning. Players can be on top of the world during the regular season but choke when it matters most in the playoffs. Meanwhile, other players, who have plenty of talent, simply choke when the moment appears to be too big for them.
I don’t believe there is a single person who is a fan of sports that doesn’t appreciate an epic win when a person or team appears to be down for the count. However, one man’s unbelievable come-from-behind victory is another man’s mighty collapse. There will always be the two ends of the stick.
Some say the 2004 Boston Red Sox have one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history when they defeated the New York Yankees in that year’s American League Championship Series. On the other hand, one of the most famous chokes in sports history might be a better way of describing that unforgettable event.
What makes this slideshow so great is that it is the biggest choke artists in sports today. Sure, it would be easy to make a list that consists of Bill Buckner, the 2003 Chicago Cubs, the Buffalo Bills and all of the other major choke artists we have witnessed over the years. However, listing the biggest chokes that currently play the game gives fans a chance to relive recent collapses and prepare for the next big letdown.
Make sure to click through the slideshow to see the 15 biggest choke artists in sports.
15. Tiger Woods
There is no question Tiger Woods is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, golfers of all-time. With that being said, there is no denying the fact that he has been a choke artist since his private life was thrust into the public spotlight. The 2009 PGA Championship and the 2011 PGA Championship are just two examples in recent years. However, 2013 is a year to forget for Woods. The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and FedEx Cup are four tournaments that saw his demise.
14. Peyton Manning
Like Woods, Peyton Manning will go down as one of the greatest players in his sport. And also like Woods, Manning can be labeled as a choke artist. He is dominant in the regular season, and there is a good chance he will end the 2013 season with another MVP Award on his shelf. With that being said, Manning drops the ball in the postseason.
The veteran signal caller has led his team to the playoffs in 12 of the 15 years he has suited up in the league, which includes nine consecutive appearances. How many rings does he have to show for it? Just one. A 9-11 record and an incredible eight times his team has been forced to exit in the first round puts the argument to rest.
13. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard simply cannot handle the spotlight, as he seems to play his worst basketball when it matters most. Don’t get me wrong, he was a dominant force in the NBA for a long time. One could make the case that he still is the best center in the game. However, there is no denying that his numbers have faltered since the 2010-’11 season. The fact that he has a career 57.6 free throw percentage just amplifies the word choke in his book.
12. New York Mets
I’m going to take it back a few years to 2007, when the New York Mets had a collapse of epic proportions. Apparently, a seven-game lead with 17 to play wasn’t big enough as the Mets failed to make the playoffs. New York actually improved their record by one game in 2008, but unfortunately, the team blew a three and a half game lead in September to miss out on the postseason again. The Mets have struggled ever since then with no end in sight as they finished fourth in the NL Easy division in four of the past five years.
11. Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson’s golf career has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. His career started on a 0-for-46 slump in majors. He then found his winning ways only to have an unbearable collapse at Winged Foot in the 2006 U.S. Open. In fact, the U.S. Open hasn’t been kind to Mickelson in general over the years, as he has finished second an incredible six times without a win. It has become one of those things where fans get really excited when Mickelson wins and aren’t really surprise when he slows down at the finish line.
10. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez’s outstanding postseason performance in 2009 is a big reason why the Yankees were able to win the World Series that year. However, for a guy that is making enough money to last 10 lifetimes he has put forth some dismal performances since then. In New York’s last three playoff appearances, A-Rod has batted .160 with six RBI, two doubles and 24 strikeouts in 75 at-bats. Don’t forget about him trying to pick up two girls during Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS instead of focusing on helping the Yankees win.
9. Jay Cutler
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been around long enough on good enough teams where he should have been able to accomplish something at this point. Unfortunately, Cutler’s biggest choke artist moment came in one of the NFL’s biggest games. He was removed from the NFC Championship Game after he suffered a MCL sprain. Many believed Cutler should have toughed it out as the injury didn’t appear to be too serious. Regardless of how hurt Cutler truly was, the inability to stay in the game and help his team compete will always stick with him.
8. Vancouver Canucks
Since 2001-’02, the Vancouver Canucks have finished in either first or second place in nine of the 11 seasons. That includes ending the season in first place for the past five years. What exactly do the Canucks have to show for their dominance in the regular season? Zero championships, one Stanley Cup Finals appearance, and a black eye for the city after the 2011 riots.
7. Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub is a name I seriously doubt anyone thought they would see on this list entering the 2013 season. With that being said, his choke artist mentality might have cost him his job for good with the Houston Texans. He set an NFL record in which he tossed at least once interception that was returned for a touchdown in four consecutive games. Schaub was picked off eight times over the span of those four games. He may have a surplus of franchise records, but the fact that he has not led the Texans past the AFC Divisional playoffs is a concern.
6. San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks are in the same boat as the Canucks in the sense that they have had an overwhelming amount of success for more than a decade with nothing to show for it. The Sharks have missed the playoffs just once since the 1997-’98 season. Since 2000-’01, San Jose has finished worse than second place just twice, which includes six times they ended a season in first place. In the three Western Conference Finals the Sharks have been fortunate enough to appear in, they have posted a dismal 3-12 record.
5. Philip Rivers
With all of the fire power that the San Diego Chargers possessed over the past decade, it is hard to believe that Philip Rivers has only been able to lead his team to the playoffs just four times. Sure, blame placekicker Nate Kaeding for the loss in the AFC Championship Game. However, Rivers’ inability to consistently perform at a high-level throughout his career is where the blame must truly fall. Rivers puts up big numbers, but he just hasn’t been able to come through for his team when it matters most.
4. Matt Ryan
Yep, Matt Ryan is definitely a choke artist, at least in the playoffs. In the NFL, quarterbacks are measured by how many times they lead their team to the postseason and how far they take them. Ryan has been partially responsible for the Atlanta Falcons’ playoff berths in four of the five years he has appeared under center.
Last season was the only time the Falcons made it past the first round, which ended in an epic choke job. Atlanta was cruising to victory in the NFC Championship Game until the wheels came undone and the lights went out on their once promising season.
3. Sergio Garcia
If Woods and Mickelson are going to appear on this list, then there is no question there is a spot for Sergio Garcia. The veteran has been unbearable to watch throughout his career. He consistently performs well in the first two days of the tournaments he appears in only to drop off dramatically when the weekend hits.
There are so many tournaments that can be used as an example of him choking, but the most recent is The Players Championship this year. Garcia was 13-under with two holes to go. Unfortunately, the pressure of Woods got to him as he completely came undone. He scored a plus-six on the last two holes to give him seven-under for the tournament, while Woods won with a score of 13-under.
2. Tony Romo
Tony Romo, or Tony Chokemo as a friend of mine likes to say, deserves the No. 2 spot on this countdown. Like Rivers, Romo has been a part of some incredibly talented teams that have gone nowhere, mostly because of his inability to properly lead them. Forgot about the dreadful fumble in the playoffs in 2006 that cost the Dallas Cowboys the game. Romo has consistently been unable to find a way to win when it matters most. Obviously, he has improved on that over the years. However, talk to me when he takes Dallas deep into the playoffs.
1. Team Emirates of New Zealand
Team Emirates of New Zealand’s unfathomable collapse to the American Team Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup is one of the biggest choke artist moments in the history of sports. After an 8-1 lead and the need for just one more win to clinch the hard fought tournament, Team Emirates lost eight straight races in a span of seven days to give way to the Americans. By the way, Team Oracle had a two-point penalty and was down three members due to a cheating scandal from the previous year.