Ever got right to the edge of a milestone and had that goal in grasp and well at hand, only for it to slip away? Well, in the sports world, it has happened all too often, so here are the top five times in recent memory where athletes and teams were that close, but couldn’t seal the deal.
5. Ask any 76ers, Phillies or Eagles athlete and they’ll tell you that playing in Philly isn’t easy. No other man can attest to that reality more than Donovan McNabb. In just his third year at the starting quarterback position, McNabb guided the Eagles to the NFC championship game, but unfortunately fell short, losing to the eventual NFL champion, the St. Louis Rams.
Donovan McNabb would go on to round up his team to three additional NFC championship appearances back to back, with the fourth time being the charm. The Eagles finally advanced to the Super Bowl only to fall to a Tom Brady and Patriots bunch that was determined to capture their third title in four years. McNabb was never able to get the Eagles back to that level, and will probably be forever remembered as being on the Super Bowl doorstep and never quite getting in.
4. Coming off a severe knee injury at the end of the last season, Adrian Peterson wasn’t expected to do much, let alone come back as quickly and as hardcore as he did. He powered through the season, put his team on his back en route to a playoff berth, all while steadily approaching the single-season rushing yard record. A record standing since 1984, held by legendary runningback Eric Dickerson, came just 9 yards short of the making history. The Vikings could’ve given the ball to Peterson to pick up the yardage, but opted to kick a field goal and punch their ticket to the playoffs. Maybe next year?
3. We all know “The Decision”. It was such an infamous event that those two words are all you need to say and people know what you’re talking about. LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to take his talents to South Beach in the hopes of winning not one, but multiple NBA titles. Well, he got down there, his team got off to a rocky start, picked it up and made it through the playoffs only to lose 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, a team the Heat had beaten in 2006, sans LeBron. James was able to redeem himself the following year and finally took grasp of his elusive championship ring, but him failing right at the end lingered on.
2. Jim Kelly was the Donovan McNabb before Donovan McNabb, but the reason why he’s in the number two position is because he didn’t have a problem getting to the Super Bowl, he had trouble winning it all. In the span of four years, Jim Kelly corralled the Buffalo Bills en route to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, only to walk away empty handed each time. Many quarterbacks never get to the big game, so making it there four times was a testament to Kelly’s greatness. Despite that fact, he’ll always be infamously remembered for not quite getting the job done.
1. The top spot of “getting there, but not quite getting it done” goes to the New England Patriots of the 2007 season. You might remember them. They won every single regular season game, stormed their way to the Super Bowl and were seemingly destined to complete only the second undefeated season of all time. Unfortunately, their efforts were thwarted by Eli Manning and the underdog New York Giants, with the game being defined by a single electrifying catch to seal the game. As low as the odds were that the Patriots would achieve an undefeated season, it’s an even higher unlikelihood that they’ll have another crack at it, and for that reason, they’re the team at the top of list.