Heartbreak Hill

Folks outside of New England love to complain about our sports fans. “They’re so arrogant!” they say. Well, it’s time for some honesty: they are probably right. Ever since Vinatieri kick went through the uprights on February 3, 2002, us New Englanders have been on our high horse. A tad too big for our britches. That’s what happens when you have too many championships to count. 

It hasn’t been all fun and games along the way though. Not every season ends on the duck boats. We’ve experienced our fair share of close calls, bad bounces, and questionable officiating (and none of it in our favor!) – especially in the biggest moments. Just think – an inch or two here or there and we could have even more trophies around here. Some cities count themselves lucky with a measly playoff appearance yet we sit with the burden of witnessing true heartbreak. With that in mind, here are the seasons that ended with a loss in the championship, from least heartbreaking to most. 

2021-2022 Celtics

The young upstart team at the beginning of their championship window against an aging dynasty towards the end of theirs. We were all hopeful when the C’s took a 2-1 series lead but we have seen Golden State dominate for the better part of a decade. They’ve been there and done that so it wasn’t entirely surprising they were able to rip off 3 consecutive wins to close out the series.

It’s also comforting to know that your core is still young, developing their game, and should hopefully be intact for the foreseeable future. 

2012-2013 Bruins

Another series in which Boston took a 2-1 series lead yet failed to reach game 7. Yes, the Bruins core was coming off a Stanley Cup championship from a few years ago but that Blackhawks team was absolutely loaded. Kane, Toews, Oduya (great name), Sharp, Seabrook, Hossa, Saad. The list goes on. 

2018-2019 Bruins

This one reached game 7, which I think instantly places it above the previous two. I remember watching these NHL playoffs pretty closely but I honestly forgot all about it when I started with this list. I found this Blues team pretty likable though and add in the fact that the B’s got hosed in the game 7 (4-1) and this is just a middle of the road heartbreaker.

2017-2018 Patriots

This is where the list starts getting really hard for me. It’s tough to tell which near-championship I’d rather have. I guess I have this slightly lower as it’s coming off the heels of two of the best championship endings ever with Butler’s interception against the Seahawks and the 28-3 comeback against the Falcons. 

The offense put its best foot forward with Brady throwing for over 500 yards, which is absurd. Still, it was so frustrating to see the defense get torn up by this dude:

while Malcolm Butler was glued to the bench. 

2011-2012 Patriots

This was supposed to be our revenge game but it didn’t pan out that way. Pretty much everything that makes this game so heartbreaking is tied up into another entry in this list. 

2009-2010 Celtics 

The Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen knowing there was a short-to-medium term window to win championships. They didn’t waste any time when they took home the hardware in year 1 by beating their longtime rivals, the Lakers. Those same Lakers went back to the finals and won their own trophy the following year. That takes us to the 2009-2010 season, with these teams squaring off in the finals again. 

Boston took a 3-2 series lead and it felt like we had it in the bag. Once Perk got hurt the series didn’t look the same and the Celtics dropped the final two games of their season. Pain.

2007-2008 Patriots

This was everything. A perfect season on the line and all you have to do is beat a pretty average team. An average team that they had beat earlier that very season. It felt like a foregone conclusion. If I had to liken it to a movie, they came in looking like Thanos.

They still left looking like Thanos – albeit the post-Ant Man-suppository version.

The Patriots came in with the best offense the NFL had ever seen – with the best single season QB-WR duo ever – and only managed to put 14 on the scoreboard. Our lockdown corner, Asante Samuel, dropped a would-be game-sealing pick 6. Ellis Hobbs defending Plaxico Burress. The worst “best catch” ever. 

This game was truly devastating.

Have you found this post as depressing as I have? Now I’m no doctor but there may be a cure…












Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s