Are the Sharks the only Anti-Clutch team out there?

Frequent commentator SwagFlu recently asked if the San Jose Sharks are the most ‘anti-clutch’ team in the 2000’s (see here).  The comment got me thinking: who are the most anti-clutch teams? More importantly, what defines an anti-clutch team?

‘Clutch’ as an adjective is defined as “done or accomplished in a critical situation”.  So for our purposes, “Anti-clutch” is defined as the sucker who could NOT accomplish the feat in a critical situation.  The heartbreaker.   To determine what defines an anti-clutch franchise, we need to look at the teams that constantly flirt with championships.  Those teams that, going along with Pakastallion’s analogies, are categorized as the ‘tease’.  They get so close to winning, but always get out between third and home.

The top anti-clutch teams within the top 5 sports?  Check them out:


Does Thornton have enough to beat the Canucks?

San Jose Sharks – The Sharks franchise has been to 7 consecutive playoffs and have never won the cup.  They are a consistent top 5 team during the regular season and have also been heavy favorites to win the playoff tournament.  The team has done everything from changing goalies (Nabokov for Niemi), changing coaches (Wilson for McLellan), and trading players (letting go of Cheechoo).  However, everything that the franchise has done, it has still not been enough (this year included).  This team, like their bay area baseball counterpart, tortures the fans year in and year out.


Dirk has shown he has what it takes to win it all

Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs starting winning once Cuban became the new owner in the early 2000’s.  They have been to 11 consecutive playoffs and had the best record in the league in 2006-2007 (who knew that Golden State would oust them in the first round?).  They have been through the likes of Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, but have not been able to capture the championship.  Let’s hope this year is the year for all Mavs fans.  (The Sacramento Kings are a notable team as well, but that was before the 2000’s)


Fabregas has most likely played his last season with the Gunners

Arsenal – The Gunners have not won a trophy since going undefeated in the Premier League in 2004.  Yet, they have always been at the top of the table.  They have been to 11 consecutive champions league tournaments.  They have been in the Champions league final in 2006 (only to lose to Barcelona).  Even with the likes of Henry, Van Persie, Fabregas, and various other international stars, the team cannot shake the ‘curse’ off.  At one point during this season Arsenal was on the verge of fighting for the Quadruple, only to be knocked out of each.  Tough time for gunner’s fans.


Mcnabb never had what it takes to win it all

Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles have managed 8 playoff appearances in the past 10 years.  They have had a successful quarterback (McNabb), running back (Westbrook), and solid defense.  Andy Reid is considered one of the best coaches in the league.  However, the closest they have come to the Superbowl was losing to the Patriots.  They always seem to be lacking some pivotal football aspect that keeps them from winning it all (whether it be a wide receiver, secondary, or special teams).  At least Phillie fans have, well, the Phillies.


The Infamous Bartman

Chicago Cubs – For baseball, I could not just look at consecutive playoff appearances in the 2000’s, but had to go straight for the team that everyone thinks of when discussing anti-clutch franchises.  This team is the stereotype anti-clutch team.  There has been back to back misfortunes for the team, from Steve Bartman to LaTroy Hawkins blown save in 2004 to the infamous Curse of the Billy Goat.  Since 1908, there has been nothing but bad luck for this team.  Chicago may be time to cheer for the White Sox.

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14 Responses to Are the Sharks the only Anti-Clutch team out there?

  1. EastCoastBias says:

    I definitely agree with the Sharks, Mavs, Arsenal, and the Eagles. I’m not so sure about the Cubs. Granted the Cubs have not won the Series since the early part of the 20th century. But truth be told they really haven’t (with the exception of a couple of years) put themselves to contend.

    Honestly, if I had to pick a team in baseball, it would be the Yankees. They have the highest payroll in baseball. Their highest paid player does not show up in the big games. They got punked by the Marlins in 03. And choked against their biggest rivals giving up a 3-0 lead in the ALCS. Sure they won the 09 Series, but common for the Yanks, 10 years btw titles is 10 too many.

    • SemihErden says:

      Give me a break about the Yankees. From 2000 to 2010, we’ve won 2 World Series Championships. The only other team to accomplish that feat is the Boston Red Sox, who, mind you, have the 2nd highest payroll in all of baseball (I know this is a fact that BoSox nation conveniently loves to leave out). For example, in 2010, the Yankees payroll was approx. $200 mill., while the Red Sox were not far behind at $160 mill. So go figure, the two teams with the two highest payrolls have won 4 championships in the last decade. I wouldn’t call that anti-clutch. Moreover, step back before 2000 just a bit, and remember that the Bronx Bombers won back-to-back-to-back rings from 1998-2000, the only team to do so since the Athletics from ’72-’74. Wouldn’t call that anti-clutch either.

      Moreover, while the Eagles, Sharks, and Mavs have all NOT won a SINGLE championship, my Yankees have racked up 27 World Series titles, playing in 40 of the 106 Series ever.

      Anti-clutch, my ass.

  2. EastCoastBias says:

    Ok. Those 3 Yankees teams that won rings from 98-00 are very different from the Yankees teams of the last decade. They did not make high profile acquisitions. They had Jeter (early years), Tino, Bernie, Brosius, Posada (early), and Month (early).

    This team has had to acquire CC, ARod, Texeira, Burnett, Granderson, etc. They are notorious for going out and grabbing the best players after a below par season. And a below par season for the Yankees is not winning the Series.

    I think you misunderstand Unkown’s point: LATELY. In the past decade, they choked against the Sox. They lost to the Marlins (the Yankees have no business losing to the Marlins). They had a tough time beating both the Twins and the Rangers (smaller market teams).

    In a game with no salary cap, the Yankees set the market and more or less get who they want…I’d say 1 title is not a good return on investments. Relative to their position in the game, they have underperformed.

    27 titles? You weren’t even alive when 3/4 of them were won. Why are you a fan anyway? You have no association with NY- anything but your Yankees.

    • SemihErden says:

      First, I will grant you that my connection to New York and the Yankees is attenuated, but there still is one, and I’m a fan as a result. My parents lived in NY for 10 yrs. before coming to CA, and so my dad is a huge Yankees fan. I picked it up from him.

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove by saying that I wasn’t alive for 3/4 of their titles. Does that make me less of a fan? Is a 14 year old in Boston less of a Celtics fan because he’s only been alive for a tenth of their championships? Cut out the garbage. Moreover, to the extent that it does matter, I have been alive for 5 of their championships, which is 4 more than the number of championships won by YOUR SF Giants.

      Moving on to the substantive merits:

      Fine, let’s put aside 1998-1999. I just made mention of those titles as icing on the cake, but if you want to focus on 2000 forward, so be it.

      I guess in the absolute sense, given how much the Yankees spend, they haven’t had a “good return on their investment.” But they’ve won more World Series since 2000 than any other team (w/ the exception of the BoSox, who also won 2, and who have the 2nd highest payroll). I wouldn’t call that anti-clutch.

      As for the Marlins and Bo-Sox, definitely choke-jobs, but that doesn’t make us “anti-clutch.” At the end of the day, we’ve been the most dominant team in baseball in the last decade. Since 2000, we made the playoffs every year but one, despite being in the toughest division in baseball, and we came home with 2 titles.

      Per your argument, we would be considered “anti-clutch” if we won 9 titles in the last decade, because we are expected to win the title every year. That’s just stupid.

      • SemihErden says:

        Also, to clarify, your alias is EastCoastBias, yet your teams are the Giants/Warriors/Niners and Chelsea, right? Just checkin’.

      • EastCoastBias says:

        You brought up the point that the Yanks have won 27 series which is more than anyone else. That number is irrelevant in the terms of the last decade.

        Also, I must have hit a chord with that. My Giants, unfortunately, did not have to buy themselves a title this past year.

        My argument is essentially this: it cannot be overlooked that the Yankees- the team with the biggest payroll in American sports- have choked on 2 major occasions this past decade: 2003 and 2004. And I’m not sure what you call that if not ‘anti-clutch.’ Moreover, for the middle part of the decade, the Yankees had their troubles with the Angels and Twins. You were able to win the 2009 Series because of 2 acquisitions: CC and Texeira. Look what happened the next year.

        You guys are a team designed to win the Series. You had 10 chances to get it right, but you only got it right once. In a league that has less parity than the NFL and NBA, that is unacceptable. The Pats got it done 3 times. The Lakers did it 5 times. You guys are definite underperformers.

        I will grant you, perhaps ‘anti-clutch’ is a bit harsh on the Yankees, but please don’t call them dominating. The Yankees are underperfomers relative to who they are and what they can do. If you want to take solice in the fact that you won the division, so be it. I’m not positive other Yankees fans would see it like that- its World Series or bust here in New York.

        And I guess your sense of humor is a bit hazed as well. That is my alias…since I am a West Coast fan who hates the East Coast bias.

      • EastCoastBias says:

        So just to clarify- you brought the garbage. Only right that you throw it out…

  3. kidveesh says:

    Great article unknown sports. I definitely do think that the cubbies had one of the worst performances of all time after being up 3-1. However, why not include the Indians who were up 3-1 against the Red Sox in 2007 AND had CC pitching game 5 yet still managed to lose in 7?

    I would like to note that the Sacramento Kings’ choking years were not prior to 2000s. In fact, they weren’t really choking at all in that manner with the exception of 2002 (2000, they were an 8 seed that lost 3-2 to the lakers, 2001, they were a 3 seed losing 4-0 to the lakers, 2002, they were a 1 seed losing 4-3 to the lakers).

  4. The Unknown Sports says:

    Thanks for the comments EastCoastBias, SemihErden, & Kidveesh.

    I chose the Cubs since every time someone speaks about choking sports teams, it always comes back to the ‘curse’. Each time they appear to get close to a World Series some odd event keeps them from winning, so although they are not as consistent as the other teams mentioned, they are very anti-clutch as well. However, let’s take a look at what was commented.

    In terms of baseball it is harder to judge who is the recent year’s choke artist. The Yankees do have 2 world series to their name since 2000 (5 since 1996). Even with their huge payroll, they have managed to win it all.

    The Indians did have that choking loss in 2007, similar to the Yankees in 2004 (both to the Red Sox). However the Indians only had a 5 year streak in the post season and that was from 95-99…which is impressive (especially with 2 W.S. losses during that time).

    I would say, excluding the Cubs, that the Braves are the next big chokers. Pushing into the 1990’s, the Braves made it to 10 straight post season appearances from 1995 to 2005 with only 1 World Series in 1995. They were first in the NL East EVERY SINGLE YEAR of those playoff appearances. So although they won 1 W.S., a couple years later I am sure the fan’s were longing for more and were completely dismayed by year 5-10 of the drought while being at the top of the division. They had Maddox, Smoltz, Glavine, Chipper, Jones, and the famous Bobby Cox, but still were unable to repeat what they did in 1995.

    So for semi-recent purposes, my vote would be for the Braves (and sucks for Atlanta…when have the Falcons or Hawks won anything either?)

  5. Flying Haque says:

    i would like to submit my suns in the nba discussion also. we had the best team in the league from 2005-2007 and never won. we were a box out on ron artest away from possibly making the finals. motherfucking tim duncan hit a 3 to beat us in the playoffs (he’s hit 26 3’s in his career. fact: i have recurring nightmares about 4% of tim duncan’s career three point makes). in terms of successful franchises, we’re 5th in LEAGUE HISTORY and yet have only made the finals twice. steve nash is the only MVP to never play in the finals. john hollinger broke it down pretty well here:

    i’m gonna go rewatch my 2001 world series dvd.

    • kidveesh says:

      For the record FlyingHaque, even if you boxed out Artest AND won in OT, the Suns would have found a way to lose 6 and 7.

  6. Ryan says:

    How bout the Bills of the 90s in the NFL?

    And I gotta give a shout out for my Jazzies (also of the 90s), but mostly because the most anti-clutch team should be the one that suffered at the hands of the most clutch player ever (MJ) and the most clutch shot ever (Game 6 of the NBA Finals over Bryon Russell). I mean, come on, they had home court that year AND had one of the best home court advantages in the league but still managed to lose.

    • Ryan says:

      …And I clearly missed that this post was about the most anti-clutch of the 2000s. My bad.

    • SwagFlu says:

      MJ pushed off on that shot over Bryon Russell. I don’t know if it was an issue of the special superstar treatment in the NBA or the refs “letting the game play out during the final seconds.” In either case, I wouldn’t call losing to the Bulls anti-clutch. I would call it consistently losing to the best team and best player around in the league.

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