Biggest chokes of last 25 years

New Zealand held an 8-1 lead over the USA in the America's Cup, only to watch the Americans win eight straight races to claim the Cup. With a championship on the line, what are the biggest chokes in sports over the last 25 years?
Jay Hart

10. Chris Webber, 1993 National Championship Game: Admittedly, he was a freshman in college and Michigan was trailing North Carolina by two with just 19 seconds to go, so to say they choked the game away is a stretch. Still, Webber started by travelling, which wasn't called, then called a timeout that Michigan didn't have. Game over. Fab Five out.

9. New York Knicks, 1995: How do we know the Knicks choked this one away? Because Reggie Miller, hands around neck, told us so. The situation: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Knicks up six with 18.7 seconds to go. Then Miller hit a three-pointer, intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass, stepped back and drained another three. Tie game. After a pair of John Starks missed free throws, Miller was fouled, drained both of his free throws and Indiana won. The Pacers won the series in seven.

9. New York Knicks, 1995: How do we know the Knicks choked this one away? Because Reggie Miller, hands around neck, told us so. The situation: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Knicks up six with 18.7 seconds to go. Then Miller hit a three-pointer, intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass, stepped back and drained another three. Tie game. After a pair of John Starks missed free throws, Miller was fouled, drained both of his free throws and Indiana won. The Pacers won the series in seven.

8. Texas Rangers, 2011 World Series: Holding a 3-2 series lead against St. Louis, the Rangers twice were one strike away from claiming their first World Series victory. The first came in the ninth, when David Freese tripled to tie the game, and again in the 10th, when Lance Berkman's RBI single evened things up again. Freese' homer in the 11th won it for the Cardinals, who pummeled the Rangers 6-2 in Game 7.

8. Texas Rangers, 2011 World Series: Holding a 3-2 series lead against St. Louis, the Rangers twice were one strike away from claiming their first World Series victory. The first came in the ninth, when David Freese tripled to tie the game, and again in the 10th, when Lance Berkman's RBI single evened things up again. Freese' homer in the 11th won it for the Cardinals, who pummeled the Rangers 6-2 in Game 7.

7. Gary Anderson, 1998 NFC Championship Game: Through the regular season, Anderson had been as reliable as could be. Literally. He was 35-for-35, 67-for-67 on extra points to become the first kicker in NFL history to go an entire season without a miss, so a 38-yard attempt to give the Minnesota Vikings a 10-point lead and assure them a berth in the Super Bowl was all but guaranteed. Until he missed it wide left. A few minutes later, the Atlanta Falcons tied the game, then won it on a field goal in overtime.

7. Gary Anderson, 1998 NFC Championship Game: Through the regular season, Anderson had been as reliable as could be. Literally. He was 35-for-35, 67-for-67 on extra points to become the first kicker in NFL history to go an entire season without a miss, so a 38-yard attempt to give the Minnesota Vikings a 10-point lead and assure them a berth in the Super Bowl was all but guaranteed. Until he missed it wide left. A few minutes later, the Atlanta Falcons tied the game, then won it on a field goal in overtime.

6. Memphis, 2008 NCAA Championship Game: Most remember this game for Mario Chalmers' 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. What they forget is that Memphis held a 9-point lead with just 2:12 to go. At that point, Kansas started to foul and Memphis obliged by missing four of its final five free throws, giving the Jayhawks a chanced to get back into the game, which they did, eventually winning in overtime.

6. Memphis, 2008 NCAA Championship Game: Most remember this game for Mario Chalmers' 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. What they forget is that Memphis held a 9-point lead with just 2:12 to go. At that point, Kansas started to foul and Memphis obliged by missing four of its final five free throws, giving the Jayhawks a chanced to get back into the game, which they did, eventually winning in overtime.

5. Houston Oilers, 93 Wild Card Game: Dubbed "The Comeback," this tests the classification of choke vs. comeback. Did the Oilers choke away a 32-point lead or did the Buffalo Bills produce the greatest comeback of all-time. The answer lies somewhere in the middle – the Bills have to get credit for a 28-point third quarter – but no doubt the Oilers are still smarting over a game they let get away.

5. Houston Oilers, 93 Wild Card Game: Dubbed "The Comeback," this tests the classification of choke vs. comeback. Did the Oilers choke away a 32-point lead or did the Buffalo Bills produce the greatest comeback of all-time. The answer lies somewhere in the middle – the Bills have to get credit for a 28-point third quarter – but no doubt the Oilers are still smarting over a game they let get away.

4. Greg Norman, 1996 Masters: Norman held a 6-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Masters. He lost by five strokes. A 78 versus Nick Faldo's 67 turned the tournament on its head and provided Norman with his third career runner-up finish at August.

3. San Francisco Giants, 2002 World Series: With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 6, and the Giants holding a 5-0 and 3-2 series lead, Dusty Baker went to the mound to take out his pitcher, Russ Ortiz. As Ortiz went toward the dugout, Baker handed him the game ball, one he likely thought would be a keepsake after a Giants World Series victory. A 3-run seventh and another 3 runs in the eighth gave the Anaheim Angels the victory, forced a Game 7, which the Angels won 4-1.

3. San Francisco Giants, 2002 World Series: With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 6, and the Giants holding a 5-0 and 3-2 series lead, Dusty Baker went to the mound to take out his pitcher, Russ Ortiz. As Ortiz went toward the dugout, Baker handed him the game ball, one he likely thought would be a keepsake after a Giants World Series victory. A 3-run seventh and another 3 runs in the eighth gave the Anaheim Angels the victory, forced a Game 7, which the Angels won 4-1.

2. New York Yankees, 2004 AL Championship Series: Not only did the Yankees become the first team in Major League Baseball to blow a 3-0 series lead, but they did it with a one-run lead heading into the ninth inning of Game 4. The Boston Red Sox went on to win the series and their first World Series in forever, but they can thank the Yankees for choking this one away.

2. New York Yankees, 2004 AL Championship Series: Not only did the Yankees become the first team in Major League Baseball to blow a 3-0 series lead, but they did it with a one-run lead heading into the ninth inning of Game 4. The Boston Red Sox went on to win the series and their first World Series in forever, but they can thank the Yankees for choking this one away.

1. Jean Van de Velde, 1999 British Open: Three-stroke lead with one hole to play. Couldn't ask for anything better, right? The engraver of the Claret Jug certainly thought so, which is why Van de Velde's name was engraved on the winner's trophy, only to have to be scratched out after he made triple-bogey on 18, then promptly lost to Paul Lawrie in a playoff.