This is an interesting time of year for sports. The NFL draft just passed and there are stories for every team after that event. The NHL playoffs are in full swing, and the NBA playoffs are too. MLB is now in full swing, so that's one draft, one regular season and two playoff options for sports fans.
For those who aren't all about team games and prefer combat sports, I have two phrases for you: Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather (yes, it was a decent fight), and Jon Jones and his recent law related drama. But moving back to what has most people glued to their television; playoffs. Whether it is basketball or hockey, we are edging ever closer to a champion in each sport.
Getting back to Mayweather/Pacquiao, most pundits and fans were in agreeance that this was a one-sided fight, which gave us the inspiration for this kind of list. Although it wasn't as bad as some of the entries on this list, it was pretty clear that "Money" Mayweather was the clear winner in the one-sided tilt.
Ideally, whether it's a team or individual sport, playoffs are supposed to get more exciting and contests are supposed to be closer as the finals draw near. Unfortunately, whether by poor performance, mismatches or just a quick, untimely slump, there are plenty of playoff battles and final contests that end in disaster for one athlete or team, as they simply do not live up to the name "championship contender."
These are the contests we will be counting down here. From Stanley Cup, NBA, and World Series finals that look more like systematic four game massacres, to Super Bowl bloodbaths, embarrassing World Cup finals and boxing and MMA title fights that disappointed fans who wanted a decent scrap; here are the most one-sided championships in sporting history. We have tried to keep it somewhat recent, but obviously with a couple of notable throwbacks to way back in the day.
15 Super Bowl XXXV
We'll venture back to early 2001 for our first entry in this list, to when the Baltimore Ravens viciously mangled the New York Giants 34-7. A young Ray Lewis took the Super Bowl MVP award for being his usual self; all over the field. The Ravens simply outplayed the Giants, whose sole touchdown came on a kickoff return in the third quarter.
Giants' quarterback Kerry Collins offered up one of the worst Super Bowl performances in history, tossing four picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown by corner back Duane Starks. The Ravens' offense didn't even play that well. Jamal Lewis ran for 102 yards, but had 27 carries (3.78 yards per touch), while Brandon Stokely caught three passes for 52 yards and a score and Trent Dilfer went 12/25, for 153 yards and a single touchdown pass. In short, Ray Lewis and the Ravens' defense took this one, as Collins and Tiki Barber failed to get anything going for the Giants on offense.
14 1998 FIFA World Cup Final
This goes back to the year in which France won the World Cup on home turf of all places. 3-0 is by no means a massacre in the football (soccer) world, but it was a significant margin and it was over Brazil, the heavy favorite to win the game. One controversy surrounding the win was the condition of Ronaldo, who was rumored to have suffered a sudden onset illness prior to the match and was clearly not himself.
France's defense shined throughout the game, limiting Brazilian chances significantly, while midfielder Zinedine Zidane scored twice in the first half, securing Man of the Match honors.
13 2002: Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson
Getting into combat sports, I should make a disclaimer, I will be including both successful title defenses as well as bouts in which belts changed hands. If this upsets you, that is what the comments section and Twitter are for.
Back in 2002, Lennox Lewis took on Mike Tyson and it ended up being a very one sided affair. Don't misunderstand, it was a decent fight, but Tyson was outmatched in every way past the first round. Lewis knocked him down several times, despite the fact that Tyson landed some significant shots over the course of the bout.
Lewis won in round eight via knockout, after dominating rounds six and seven. More entertaining than the fight however, was the slugfest and wrestling match that happened at the press conference a few months prior.
12 1969 Stanley Cup Finals
This was the Habs' fourth Stanley Cup victory in just five years, having won in '65, '66 and '68. They were matched up with the St. Louis Blues who were able to score just three goals in the four game series. This Montreal Canadiens team featured Jean Beliveau, Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard (younger brother of Maurice "the Rocket), Claude Provost, Serge Savard on defense and of course a young Tony Esposito, before he achieved his greatest success with the Chicago Blackhawks.
11 2013: Jon Jones VS Chael Sonnen
Back in 2013, Jon "Bones" Jones, one of the most controversial current fighters in the league given his drug issues and a recent hit and run incident, picked apart gifted smack-talker and fighter Chael Sonnen to keep his UFC Light Heavyweight belt.
There's no pretty way to say this, but Jon Jones methodically and quickly took his outmatched opponent into the clinch, in which he dominated, followed by a couple of minutes on the ground, where it was the same story. Sonnen looked to be in Jones' league for the first 20 seconds of the fight, but with about half a minute left in the first round, Bones had come out on top and the fight was stopped by TKO. He made it look easy.
10 2002 NBA Finals
Back in 2002, the Los Angeles Lakers, who were third in the West, took on the best team from the East, the New Jersey Nets, beating them handily in just four games. This Nets team was headed up by Jason Kidd and featured decent performances by Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles. Unfortunately, the Lakers, boasting the combo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, were too much for them to handle. Despite close third and first games, the Lakers were a vastly superior squad and easily controlled all three games after squeaking out a win in the first.
9 1976 World Series
Back almost forty years ago, the Cincinnati Reds defeated the New York Yankees in just four games to win the World Series. The sweep was due in part to the Yankees' inability to score and some clutch hitting by Reds' hitters such as Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench, who swatted two homers in the fourth game. This was Cincinnati's second World Series victory in as many years, having beaten the Red Sox in seven games the year before.
8 2005: Floyd Mayweather VS Arturo Gatti
Back in June 2005, Floyd Mayweather fought Arturo Gatti for the WBC Super Lightweight belt, and it was a painful thing to watch. Mayweather took it to Gatti and took the belt in just six rounds.
Gatti couldn't keep up and Mayweather had faster punches and better stamina, not to mention the fact that Gatti was brutally rocked by a couple of awesome shots in the first round.
7 Super Bowl XLVIII
The Super Bowl for the 2013-2014 season was going to be a great end to a great story one way or another. The Seattle Seahawks had put together one of the finest defensive units the league had ever seen and the Denver Broncos, under Peyton Manning's leadership, had put on an offensive clinic all season.
Unfortunately for the mile high fans (for whom marijuana was not yet legal), the Seahawks showed up and the Broncos looked terrible. Manning tossed two costly interceptions, while the Seahawks' offense functioned steadily as it had all season, with their defense making Denver's offense look pathetic.
6 2009: BJ Penn VS Diego Sanchez
Number six goes back to a time when B.J. Penn was the UFC Lightweight champion and Diego Sanchez, one of the most exciting scrappers to come out of The Ultimate Fighter program, was his victim. Penn got the upper hand early and Sanchez was not able to come back at any point throughout the fight. He was by no means helpless, but Penn just took it to him the entire time. The fight was called halfway through the fifth round because Diego "The Nightmare" was bleeding so much from his face.
5 1995 Stanley Cup Finals
While there have been plenty of one sided sweeps in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, the 1995 final was constantly controlled by the New Jersey Devils, who did not give the Detroit Red Wings a chance throughout the series. The first game of the four was close but the final three were classic mid-90s Devils hockey. They relied on Martin Brodeur between the pipes and a defense led by Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer. Their offense was not lacking by any means, but the success they enjoyed throughout that period was due to playing the trap and tiring their opponent out, which is how they took down the Red Wings.
4 2007 World Series
Back in 2007, the Boston Red Sox made the Colorado Rockies look foolish in a four game sweep. There were two games that were almost close, the second and fourth, but even during those, the Sox had the game the whole time. Games one and three were massacres scoring 13-1 and 10-5. Among Boston's stars were Josh Beckett who pitched phenomenally in the first game, Mike Lowell and two rookies: Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, both of whom got some clutch hits and RBIs.
3 2006: Joe Calzaghe VS Jeff Lacy
This was a gradual but one-sided whooping, and Joe Calzaghe steadily put the hurt on Lacy for twelve rounds. Two things make this a particularly interesting fight; the first of these is that Calzaghe did not look like he was fatigued throughout the fight, despite landing over 1,000 shots, and the second was the fact that Jeff Lacy was actually standing at the end of the bout. With that said, Lacy can get punched in the head until the cows come home, but it doesn't win fights...unless one is Homer Simpson, and in this case, Joe Calzaghe had the stamina and power to win, very convincingly.
2 2014: T.J. Dillashaw VS Renan Barao
Around this time last year, T.J. Dillashaw beat Renan Barao for the UFC Bantamweight belt. He did so with such force and brutality that it was impressive that Barao even kept going. The fight lasted until roughly halfway through the fifth round, but Dillashaw spent the 22 minutes before that making Barao look almost average. For those who aren't aware, Renan Barao is one of the best Bantamweights the sport has seen, and Dillashaw manhandled him. That's not to say anything against Barao, but Dillashaw put together the performance of a lifetime. Their rematch is scheduled about three months from now and we'll get to see if Barao returns the favor.
1 Super Bowl XXIV
Remember that time a team got beaten in the Super Bowl worse than Peyton Manning and the Broncos? Sadly, it was the Broncos getting beaten again and instead of the Seahawks, it was the San Francisco 49ers. This was back in 1990, and John Elway and his Broncos just couldn't handle the likes of San Francisco.
Joe Montana, the MVP of the game, tossed five touchdown passes; three of which were caught by the G.O.A.T. Jerry Rice. Elway couldn't get into a decent rhythm with his receivers and their defense was impotent throughout.