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Monday, June 17, 2002
Updated: June 19, 1:41 PM ET
Biggest championship blowouts

Page 2 staff

This week, Page 2 lists the 10 biggest championship blowouts in sports history.

Take a look at our list, then read how our readers ranked their choices for the biggest championship blowouts. And be sure to vote in the poll to crown sports' No. 1 championship blowout of all time.

1. Secretariat wins Belmont by 31 lengths (1973)
Secretariat had won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness by 2½ lengths over Sham, becoming the only horse to break the two-minute barrier in the Derby; in the Preakness, he was just cruising for most of the race. Only five horses compete at Belmont, but Sham is there, so competition seems possible -- Secretariat had finished third in the Wood Memorial Stakes earlier in the season, behind both Angle Light and Sham.

Sham and Secretariat set a blazing pace, hitting six furlongs in 1:09 4/5, but Sham falters, and it's all Secretariat from there on. His time of 2:24 for the 1½ miles shatters the track record by 2 3/5 seconds.

2. Redskins go down in infamy, 73-0 (Dec. 8, 1940)
In front of 36,034 fans at Griffith Stadium, the Bears trounce the Redskins 73-0 in the 1940 NFL championship game, just three weeks after they beat the Bears 7-3. The Bears score on Bill Osmanski's 68-yard run on the game's second play, and the rout is on. By the end of the game, all the footballs have been kicked into the stands on extra points, so, down to one battered ball, the Bears try their final two extra points from scrimmage. "Those Bears were wonderful, weren't they? That 'T' formation is really dread stuff and Coach George Halas comes pretty close to being the No. 1 offensive genius in the land," writes Shirley Povich in the next day's Post.

3. Tiger Woods wins U.S. Open by 15 shots (2000)
If anyone has any question that Woods isn't in a class by himself among today's golfers, the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach provides the answer, as he shatters all kinds of records. Woods breaks Old Tom Morris' 138-year-old mark for the biggest margin of victory in a major championship (Morris' record, set at the 1862 British Open, was 13 strokes); he breaks Willie Smith's 101-year-old record for the biggest winning margin at the U.S. Open, along the way shattering U.S. Open marks for largest leads after 36 (six strokes) and 54 holes (10 strokes). His 12-under 272 also breaks the old 8-under record for the U.S. Open. Phil Mickelson puts it succinctly after the tourney ends: "For Tiger to break par the way he has shows how he has separated himself not just from present-day golfers, but from golfers from the past, as well."

4. Foreman fells Frazier (Jan. 22, 1973)
World heavyweight champ Smokinš Joe Frazier comes into the fight against challenger George Foreman, the 1968 flag-waving Olympic champ, a 3-1 favorite. Frazier is undefeated, but so is Foreman. As a pro, Foreman's won 37 fights in a row, knocking out 34 opponents. Then, after waiting so long to challenge for the title, he decides to get it over with, knocking Frazier down six times in less than five minutes, using his right uppercut in devastating fashion. The fight is stopped at 1:35 of the second round, with Foreman winning by TKO. "I hit him with a punch, and there was a grin on his face, as if he was saying, 'Look, man, you're going to kill me,' " says Foreman after the bout.

5. The Bay Series blowout (1989)
The San Francisco earthquake that rumbles in just before the start of Game 3 will be what most folks will remember about the 1989 World Series -- and it's just as well for the Giants, who never once hold the lead in the Series. Oakland drubs San Francisco 5-0 in Game 1 and 5-1 in Game 2; then the earthquake delays the Series for 12 days before play resumes on the other side of the Bay, but the wait doesn't help the Giants, who lose Game 3 13-7 and Game 4 9-6. In four games, the A's outscore the Giants 32-14 and never win a game by less than three runs. The A's bat .301 in the Series, the Giants .209.

6. Bears hold Pats to six yards in Super Bowl XX (1986) The bad Bears are cocky -- the "Super Bowl Shuffle" video is filmed seven weeks before the big game -- and, as it turns out, they have a right to be. Chicago's awesome defense holds the Pats to just six yards rushing and shuts down the passing game with seven sacks. By halftime, it's over. After opening a 23-3 lead, the Bears put a period at the end of the sentence with a 96-yard TD drive early in the second half. Then the Bears defense goes on a scoring spree, as CB Reggie Phillips returns an interception 28 yards for a TD, defensive lineman Fridge "Two Way" Perry, coming in to play fullback, scores on a 1-yard run, and finally, in the fourth quarter, DE Henry Waechter puts the last nail in the Pats coffin, bringing down Steve Grogan for a safety. The final score: Bears 46, Patriots 10. The Bears set a Super Bowl record for most points scored.

7. 49ers trounce Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, 55-10 (1990) The 49ers make the bookies look bad -- they come into the game "only" 12-point favorites over the Broncos -- but they also make Terry Bradshaw look awfully smart. Before the game, Bradshaw says, "I don't see any way in the world the 49ers won't win this football game. This sucker could be as bad as 55-3." The 49ers start strong and get stronger. Joe Montana hits Jerry Rice for a TD on the first drive, and San Francisco leads 27-3 at the half. The tale of the QBs tells the tale of the mismatch: MVP Montana's final line -- 22-of-29 for 297 yards and five TDs. Elway's line: 10-of-26 for 108 yards and two interceptions.

8. Michigan trounces USC in 1948 Rose Bowl, 49-0 Michigan comes into the Rose Bowl with the best offense in the country, averaging 412.7 yards per game. Among the offensive stars: Heisman runner-up halfback Bob Chappius and Big Ten MVP Bump Elliott. The defense is worth bragging about, too -- it allows only 53 points all season. But they're not national champs -- Notre Dame has already received that honor, after being ranked No. 1 in the "final" AP poll.

The big game against the Trojans, who are 15-point underdogs, is never much of a contest; Michigan leads 21-0 at the half and then piles on the points in the second half. Chappius passes for 139 yards and runs for 91 more and is named player of the game.

Then, after the game, the AP decides to hold another poll, and Michigan comes out on top. But the extra poll is controversial, and both Notre Dame and Michigan claim the national title.

9. UNLV crushes Duke 103-73 in 1990 NCAA Final It's the night Duke canšt even hit a high-five -- Brian Davis pokes Christian Laettner in the eye during a post-basket celebration gone awry. It's never much of a game. The Runnin' Rebels, coached by the celebrated (and denigrated) Jerry Tarkanian, are on top 47-35 at the half, then go on a three-minute, 18-0 tear early in the second half, and Duke seems to surrender. "I felt like they gave up on themselves," says UNLV's Moses Scurry. "A team like that, I thought they'd be better, smarter than that."

UNLV becomes the first team to score 100+ in a final game, shooting 61 percent from the floor. On defense, the Rebels also set a final game record with 16 steals.

10. Dodgers hold powerhouse Yankees to four runs in 1963 World Series Consider this: The Yankees finish the 1963 regular season with a 104-57 record, thanks to a slugging offense that boasts eight players who hit 12 or more homers (that meant something, in 1963), and a pitching staff that balances veterans Whitey Ford and Ralph Terry with young fireballer Jim Bouton and the 22-year-old Al Downing, who strikes out 171 in 175 innings.

Ford, Terry, Bouton and Downing all do their jobs -- they hold Los Angeles to only eight runs over the final 32 innings, after the Dodgers score four in the second inning of Game 1 (Ford pitches a 2-hitter and still loses Game 4). So how can you call it a blowout? In sweeping the Yankees, Dodger pitchers Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres hold the Pinstripers to only four runs in four games and yield only 22 hits. The Yankees bat .171 for the Series, and have an anemic slugging percentage of .240. New York never holds the lead during the Series, and their four-run total is the second lowest in World Series history.

Also receiving votes:
  • Yankees sweep, trounce Cubs in 1932 World Series
  • Red Wings sweep Canadiens in 1952 Stanley Cup finals
  • Canadiens dominate 1960 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Red Wings