2014: The Year of Chokers

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If there’s one thing in sports absolutely no one should want to be right now, it’s the favorite.

Brazil was the popular pick to win the World Cup until Tuesday’s implosion to the Germans. The star-studded club lost 7-1 in the worst loss by a host country in the history of the tournament. I haven’t seen an ambush like that since Rust Cohle took down an entire Louisiana drug ring by himself.

We all saw the carnage: five goals in the first thirty minutes, including three in the span of four minutes.

In a sport that loves its flops, this was the biggest one of all.

How could the team everyone pegged to hoist the championship trophy suddenly look so helpless? Sure, Neymar and Thiago Silva were both missing from the lineup but heading into the game it was still a toss-up in Vegas’ eyes.  Nevertheless, the team carrying all the pressure proved unable to handle it…again.

This sounds awfully familiar.

Remember the Super Bowl? It’s where the Broncos, home to the most explosive offense in NFL history and led by arguably the most prolific quarterback the game has ever seen, were shattered in the Super Bowl by Seattle. Just like Brazil-Germany, the game was over by halftime. We stuck around to watch just to see how bad it could possibly get.

Then there was the NBA Finals, where the Heat took on the Spurs amid their quest for a third straight championship, only to be dismembered game after excruciating game. For more than two seasons we watched as Miami proclaimed its physical dominance over every other team in the league, but San Antonio still found a way to school them in just five games – all by a 15-point margin or more.  

2014 is officially the Year of the Choke Job. We watched three excellent teams, all favored to win a title all season long, all fall in humiliating fashion when the spotlight grew too bright.  

It’s probably worth mentioning the NCAA Tournament, where just one top seed reached the Final Four, and the national title was decided by a 7-seed and an 8-seed, too.

It just goes to show us that there has never been a better time to be an underdog. So go ahead, start placing those bets on the Browns to win the Super Bowl at 50-to-1. You know you want to.  

So who has the worst choke job of the year so far? Here’s how I see it:

3.  Broncos

Denver goes ahead of Miami here because of how good they looked up until the last possible second before the choke job. Like I said before, the Broncos boasted the league’s best offense historically while Peyton Manning “needed” to win another Super Bowl to “cement his legacy,” or at least that’s what the majority of the media would have you believe. Unlike the Heat, the Broncos showed no sign of weakness until about, oh, 12 seconds into their fateful game.

2.   Heat

The Heat had very little business winning LAST year’s NBA Finals over the Spurs, but because they did it left San Antonio with the motivation it needed to throttle Miami this time around. The Heat sleepwalked through one of the weakest conferences in the history of the NBA while the Spurs grinded out three hard-earned serious wins against an onslaught of marquee clubs. While it was clearly possible to envision the Spurs winning the series at the outset, no one saw it coming against a team such a lifeless Miami club.  

1.   Brazil

Even without Neymar and Silva, this was a disgraceful effort from the Brazilians. Losing 7-1 in soccer is roughly the equivalent to losing 155-21 in football. That easily makes it number one my list. Soccer means everything to Brazil. It is literally a matter of life or death… It’s like college football in Tuscaloosa on steroids. Offering up the worst performance in the history of the World Cup semifinal, on your home turf no less, is enough to earn you the biggest choke job of the year – so far.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.