Sports fans yearn for the nail-biting, edge-of-your-couch finishes that define legacies. Things don’t always turn out that way, and sometimes they become quite the opposite.
After searching far and wide for some of the most dominant victories in sports history, we present you with these blowouts. Many of the victims are still recovering.
Today is the anniversary of the biggest blowout in NBA history. Twenty-seven years ago today, the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Miami Heat, 148-80. The 68-point win is the largest margin of victory in NBA history. The Cavs outscored Miami 42-13 in the final quarter, prompting Heat guard Glen Rice to say afterward, “I don’t know what we played, but it wasn’t basketball.”
In the mid-1980s, heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was the Baddest Man on the Planet. He knocked out his first 19 opponents, and recorded 44 KO’s throughout his career. Nine of Iron Mike’s bouts lasted less than 80 seconds. Tyson’s fastest win came in July 1986, when he knocked out Marvis Frazier 30 seconds into the first round.
With 22 Grand Slam singles titles, Steffi Graf is one of the greatest players in tennis history. At the French Open final in June 1988, Steffi drubbed Natalia Zvereva, 6-0, 6-0 to claim her third major of the year [she would go on to win the Slam]. The match lasted only 32 minutes, making it the shortest Grand Slam final ever – and the only double bagel major final in history. Zvereva had upset No. 2 Martina Navratilova earlier in the tournament, but the 13th seed won just 13 points against world number-one Graf and left the interview room afterward in tears.
In 1916, Georgia Tech football coach John Heisman was determined to exact revenge for a 22-0 baseball loss his Yellowjackets had suffered a year earlier to Cumberland College. The Bulldogs had disbanded their football program prior to the 1916 season, but Heisman insisted they fulfill their agreement to play or pay a $3,000 forfeiture fee. Cumberland hastily assembled a team, then gave up 32 touchdowns, surrendered nearly 1,000 yards on the ground, and totaled minus-42 rushing yards on the day. The 222-0 rout remains the most lopsided score in football history.
Tiger Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots. It was the third career major for the then 24-year-old Woods, and the first of four consecutive wins in major championships. Woods shot 12-under par at venerable Pebble Beach, 15 strokes better than runners-up Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who finished tied for second at three-over. The only player in the field to shoot under par, Woods broke a major tournament record for largest margin of victory that had stood since 1862.
The most lopsided win and highest run total in an MLB game occurred August 23, 2007, when the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles, 30-3. The Orioles actually led, 3-0, through three innings, then allowed 30 unanswered runs, including ten in the 8th and six in the 9th. It was the first game of a doubleheader. The Rangers won the nightcap, 9-7, to break the 70-year-old record for most runs in a twin bill.
Lisa Leslie of Ingleside Morningside High School scored 101 points in only 16 minutes of hoops against South Torrance in February 1990. Any opportunity she had to break the national prep record of 105 points was thwarted when the game was called at halftime because the South Torrance girls quit. Morningside was declared the winner, and the 102-24 final score remains the biggest blowout in the annals of high school basketball.
On January 15, 2000, the Jacksonville Jaguars sent Jimmy Johnson and Dan Marino into retirement rudely. The Jags won, 62-7, in the most one-sided game and highest point total since the NFL merger in 1970. Johnson, who was in his fourth season as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, benched Marino early in the third quarter, then resigned the following day. Marino announced his retirement soon afterward.
In 1944, the Detroit Red Wings became the first NHL team to score 15 consecutive goals in one game. One more second and they’d have had 16, as their last shot against the New York Rangers went in just after the horn. The 15-0 final was the biggest blowout in NHL history. The loss was devastating to the Blue Shirts, who would not win another game all season, finishing in last place with a record of 6-39-5.
Perhaps no athlete in history can match Secretariat’s 1973 season. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in record time, the three-year-old chestnut colt arrived at the Belmont Stakes trying to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. With Ron Turcotte up, Big Red won the Belmont by an astounding 31 lengths, covering the 1 ½ miles on the dirt in a record 2:24. Not only was Secretariat’s run at the Belmont the greatest performance in horse racing history, it was one of the most dominant in sports history.
At the 1965 Southern 500, Ned Jarrett finished 14 laps ahead of second-place Buck Baker, a NASCAR record. Jarrett, who would go on to claim his second NASCAR championship title two months later, beat Baker by more than 19 miles. It remains the biggest beat-down in stock car history.
In November 1940, the Washington Redskins defeated the Chicago Bears in a defensive struggle, 7-3. Three weeks later, the two teams met for the NFL Championship. In the most lopsided game the NFL has ever seen, the Bears prevailed, 73-0. Chicago intercepted eight passes, and the game had to be completed with practice balls after the Bears kicked all of the game balls into the grandstands on extra points. Early in the game, Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh appeared to connect with Charlie Malone for a 35-yard touchdown pass, but Malone dropped the ball. Asked after the game if the outcome would have been different had Malone held on, Baugh told reporters, “Sure, it would’ve been 73-7.”