Texas has had its fair share of recent success when it comes to the state’s sports teams. However, there is more than enough heartbreak mixed in as well. Here is a comprehensive list of the top five most depressing sports moments in the state of Texas over the last five years, complete with cringe worthy video (in case seeing it once wasn’t enough).
By Jacob Murphy
5. Damian Lillard hits three-pointer at the buzzer, plunges dagger into the heart of Houston
At this point, it could not have gotten more frustrating for Houston Rockets fans. Almost every fourth quarter in the 2014 first round playoff series versus the Portland Trailblazers was almost unbearable to watch. The games all came down to the wire. Literally less than a second away from a game seven at home, Blazer point guard Damian Lillard ended Houston’s title hopes when he hit an an open three-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
In the context of the past few Rockets seasons, this was probably the most disappointing loss since the playoff battles with the Utah Jazz of roughly a decade ago. The team was mostly healthy for once, and they were expected to win the series. Alas, in the end the stars of Portland outperformed Houston’s.
4. Dez Bryant’s non-catch catch that wasn’t a catch… Wait, what?
It all depends who you ask. With a little over four minutes left in the 2015 Divisional round playoffs versus the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw it deep to Dez Bryant on a fourth down with two yards to go, just 32 yards out from the end-zone. The ruling on the field was that Bryant was down at the one. First and goal with one yard to go for a touchdown, right? You can decide for yourself what the ruling should have been.
It was an amazingly clutch and phenomenal play by Bryant, but after further review by the referees, they determined that Bryant did not complete the process of the catch. As he hit the ground, it appeared that the ball dislodged when it contacted the field as he reached out with his left arm. What a terrible end to what was a delightfully surprising season for the Cowboys.
3. Worst loss in years, wait… in a decade. TCU demolishes Texas
The University of Texas at Austin, one of the biggest football schools in the country, was absolutely embarrassed by TCU earlier this year. Texas suffered its biggest loss since 2002 after a 50-7 thrashing at the hands of the Horned Frogs. The program has fallen on hard times with the Charlie Strong transition. Gradual growth was the expectation, but a loss like this was inexcusable. The lack of even slight competitiveness was astounding. Give credit to TCU, one of the best teams in the country.
The Longhorns were lucky to not get shut out, although they should have been. The game was over by the first quarter. A school of Texas’ sports pedigree somehow found itself down 30-0 at the end of the first quarter. At one point, TCU was outgaining UT in total yards 220-1. Losing to TCU is understandable, but a blowout of that nature cannot happen. UT football has not found itself in a truly relevant game since the 2013 p loss to Baylor, the de facto Big 12 championship game. Games can never be that one-sided if Texas wants to become nationally relevant again.
2. The Rangers fall just short in one of the best games in MLB history
One strike was all the Texas Rangers needed to earn the title of 2011 World Series Champions against the St. Louis Cardinals. Even being up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series was not enough. It could not have gotten closer than this for the Rangers. 2011 was supposed to be the year for Texas. Back-to-back World Series appearances and yet, still no title. The game was in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Rangers up 7-5 There were St. Louis Cardinals runners on first and second base and the batter, David Freese, had two strikes. This game should have been all but over. However, Freese tied the game with a two-run triple off the wall.
The Rangers found themselves in the exact same situation again in the 10th. One out, two runners on base, and winning 9-8. Texas still could not close it out. However, David Freese hit a walk-off homer in the 11th inning, sealing the win for the Cardinals. After such a tough loss, the Rangers did not bounce back in game 7 of the series, losing 6-2. So close, yet so far.
1. Ray Allen is clutch, and the Spurs blow it
Come on, Kawhi Leonard. In the dwindling moments of game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard was at the free throw line with less than 20 seconds left in the game with the Spurs up two points. Staff was already setting up the champagne celebration in the Spurs’ away locker room. Two made free throws and the game would have been over. Leonard missed the first. In a scurry after the inbounds pass, Lebron James of the Heat lofted up a three-pointer with a couple of defenders in his face. Chris Bosh, the tallest player on the court at the time, easily out-jumped the guards around him for the rebound. Manu Ginobili had fallen on his back after the rebound attempt and his man, Ray Allen, had enough time to backtrack once he caught the pass from Bosh and spot up for a three point attempt. Tony Parker tried to get in his face, but it was hopeless as one of the greatest shooters of all-time hit the biggest shot of his career. No more champagne for the Spurs.
For some reason Tim Duncan was not in the game in these last pivotal seconds, despite having one of his greatest finals games ever with 30 points and 17 rebounds. Surely he would have presented better rebounding competition to Bosh. The Spurs gambled with a smaller lineup so it could switch seamlessly on the perimeter, which doomed them in the end. Failing to score the entire second half of the overtime period, the Spurs lost the game in disheartening fashion. In the take-all game 7 the Heat’s Shane Battier, yes… that Shane Battier, went 6-8 from three point range. Even though the game was close, Lebron James was simply too much to handle in the fourth quarter. Miami went on to win its second straight championship. The good thing is the likes of Duncan, Ginobili and head coach Greg Popovich did not retire after the disappointing year and got their revenge the following year.