ScoreBoard’s Top Ten Blowouts
The blowout is an event in sports like no other – at times expected, but many times a complete shocker. Lopsided outcomes seem to come the most regularly amongst mismatched college football squads (many times the little guys looking for a nice pay day from the big boys), but they occur in all sports at one time or another, and at times on the biggest of stages. Here’s our look at the ten greatest blowouts in sports history:
10. Southern Cal pummels Oklahoma 55-19
It was the first game in the history of college football where two Heisman Trophy winners squared off against each other. With four Heisman finalists, there has never been a more prolific group of college football players assembled on one field. Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush on one side of the field. Jason White and Adrian Peterson on the other. Undefeated USC versus undefeated Oklahoma. The buildup was immeasurable. But in the end, the result was…well…total annihilation. After falling behind early 7-0, Leinart and the USC Trojans stormed back to score 55 of the next 58 points on January 4, 2005 in an Orange Bowl blowout. Southern Cal would go on to win 55-19, which remains the highest scoring output in BCS Championship game history.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers freeze the Miami Heat 148-80
Nearly two full decades before Lebron James unceremoniously skipped out of Cleveland for the comforts of South Beach, was the most lopsided victory in the history of the National Basketball Association. On December 17, 1991 the Cavaliers turned a 20-point halftime lead into a 68-point destruction of the lowly Miami Heat. Cleveland outscored the Heat 75-27 in the second half, including 42-13 in the final frame as the Cavs went on to win 148-80. Remarkably, despite scoring nearly a century and a half on the Heat, no Cavalier player reached 20-points for the game. Mark Price and John Battle both finished with 18.
8. Tyson batters Spinks in 91 seconds
June 27, 1988. Both boxers were undefeated. Both boxers had claims to the heavyweight title. But only one would leave the Atlantic City Convention Center as not only the undisputed heavyweight champion, but also the unquestioned heavyweight champion of the world. Entering the fight, Michael Spinks boasted an impressive 31-0 record, including beating former champion Larry Holmes twice, before he was stripped of his titles. Meanwhile, Mike Tyson, who held every major belt, entered the bout with a 34-0 record. It was the fight of the decade…on paper. Tyson sent Spinks to the canvas twice in just over a minute and a half of action. Tyson knocked out the former heavyweight champion in 91 seconds…once again, on paper. But in reality, the fight was over long before “Iron” Mike walked into the ring.
7. Chicago Bears embarrass the ‘Skins 73-0
Just three weeks after beating the Chicago Bears 7-3, the Washington Redskins became the victims in the most lopsided loss in the history of the NFL. In the 1940 NFL championship game on December 8, Chicago coach George Halas showed press clippings of the Redskins’ owner, George Preston Marshall, calling the Bears “quitters” and “crybabies.” The Bears scored on Bill Osmanski’s 68-yard run on just the second play of the game. Washington, to their credit, marched right down the field only to have receiver Charlie Malone drop a sure touchdown pass in the end zone. That would be as close as Washington would get to as the Bears, highlighted by 501 yards of offense and 8 interceptions, demolished the Redskins 73-0. After the game, a reporter asked Redskin quarterback Sammy Baugh whether the game would have been different had Malone not dropped the touchdown pass. Baugh reportedly answered, “Sure. The final score would have been 73-7.”
6. Steffi Graf double-bagels Natasha Zvereva at Roland Garros
In the history of Grand Slam tennis during the Open Era, no finalist had ever failed to win a single game – but that is exactly what Natasha Zvereva infamously accomplished in the finals of the 1988 French Open. It became a footnote in arguably the greatest season in professional tennis as Steffi Graf went on to become the first and only player to win the “Golden Slam” – winning all four majors in a single season including the gold medal in the Olympics. Shamefully, Zvereva was only able to win 13 points in the entire match. In fact, the hour long rain delay during the first set was nearly twice as long as the match itself (32 minutes). In a small mark of redemption, Zvereva was able to take down Graf ten years later in the third round of the 1998 Wimbledon championships 6-4, 7-5. Better late than never.
5. UNLV dominates Duke 103-73
It was a game where Duke literally could do nothing right. Just before halftime, in an attempt to pump up his team, Brian Davis’ high-five attempt to Christian Laettner misses its mark, and goes straight into the Blue Devil forward’s eye. And then, it would only get worse…the second half started. Within 3 minutes after halftime, UNLV would turn a 12-point advantage into a 30-point demoralization and that would be the ballgame. Duke had no answers for the Runnin’ Rebels, allowing an NCAA Championship game high 103 points on April 9, 1990. After the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said “This wasn’t a game of X’s and O’s. It was one of complete domination.” Hard to argue that assessment.
4. Tiger crushes the field at the US Open
Long before the troubles in his personal life made headlines across the globe, Tiger Woods was the most dominant golfer in the world…and arguably the greatest golfer in the history of the game. At the 100th United States Championship, June 15-18, 2000 at Pebble Beach, Tiger solidified his place in the annals of golf by destroying the field…by an unprecedented 15 strokes. Not only was Tiger the only golfer able to score below par for the tournament, but also was the only golfer in the history of the US Open to shoot double-digits under par over four rounds. Tiger’s winning margin of 15 strokes was two better than “Old” Tom Morris’ then-major record set at the 1862 British Open…a record set against a field of around a dozen other competitors. Woods would go on to win four straight majors in a row and complete the “Tiger Slam,” effectively becoming the first professional player to simultaneously hold all four major championship titles.
3. 49ers saddle the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV
Entering Super Bowl XXIV on January 29, 1990, the San Francisco 49ers were already considered the team of the decade with three Super Bowl wins, including the year prior. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos were considered a colossal failure in the NFL’s biggest stage, and were looking to avoid being only the fourth team in history to lose four Super Bowls. This game was over by halftime (which San Francisco led 27-3), as the Niners became the first team ever to score two touchdowns in every quarter. When it was all over, the 49ers secured the most lopsided victory in Super Bowl history, beating up the Broncos 55-10. The 49ers also made commentator Terry Bradshaw look like a prophet. Before the game, the former Super Bowl great predicted “I don’t see any way in the world the 49ers won’t win this game. This sucker could be as bad as 55-3.”
2. Secretariat blows away competition at Belmont
He is the unquestioned biggest name in the history of horse racing. He is also one of the greatest athletes in all of sports. But on June 9, 1973, the horse named Secretariat became a legend. Already the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, the two-year old thoroughbred entered the Belmont Stakes as an incredible 1-10 favorite – and boy did he deliver. “Big Red,” as he was nicknamed, and his closest competitor Sham set an early pace, but after the six furlong mark, Sham began to tire and Secretariat took over. In the stretch, Secretariat opened a huge lead and would power his way to an easy 31 length victory to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. His world record time of 2:24 for a mile and a half race still stands to this day.
1. Rangers massacre the Orioles 30-3
After looking at the score of this offensive explosion, it’s hard to believe the Baltimore Orioles actually led 3-0 after three innings of play. But then, in the fourth, the Texas Rangers scored five runs. Then added nine more in the sixth. Ten in the eighth. And finally, with former Texas Rangers’ play-by-play announcer already declaring the contest as an “absolute massacre,” the Rangers scored six more in the ninth, to finish with a modern day and American League record of 30 runs in a game on August 22, 2007. It was also the first time in 110 years that a Major League team scored 30 runs in a game. In total, the Rangers finished with four home runs (including two grand slams), 29 hits over an AL record 57 at-bats, and even recorded a save as reliever Wes Littleton pitched the final three innings. Incredibly, the Rangers were able to score only 28 runs over the nine previous games. After the demolition, manager Ron Washington said, “”It was awesome. The whole offense just came to life. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was hoping we would open up offensively, but I wasn’t expecting anything like that.” Well, maybe in another 110 years.