For Pete's Sake

Now, every pro league’s record-holder for wins has failed to win a title


So much for the regular season.

The Golden State Warriors’ loss to Cleveland in the NBA Finals means the team that finished the regular season with the most victories has failed to win the championship in every major professional league in the United States.

2007 New England Patriots

This team came the closest to making everyone forget about the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The Patriots finished with an NFL record 16-0 mark in the regular season, then beat the Jaguars and Chargers on the way to Super Bowl XLII. The dream of perfection vanished with a 17-14 loss to the New York Giants. David Tyree’s catch likely will always make New Englanders shake their heads.

1995-96 Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings’ 62 wins are the most in NHL history (but their 131 points are second to the 76-77 Canadiens’ 132). Detroit won the President’s Trophy by an incredible 28 points over the second-best team in the league. The playoffs were a different story. Detroit needed six games to get past eighth-seeded Winnipeg. In the next round, the Red Wings beat St. Louis in seven games with the deciding contest going into double overtime. In the Western Conference finals, the Avalanche took out Detroit in six games.

2001 Seattle Mariners

The American League standings on June 16, 2001 looked unbelievable. While the Red Sox had a 1-game lead in the East and the Twins were half-a-game up in the Central, the Mariners already had a 20-game advantage in the West. Seattle was 52-14 at the time and the wins never stopped coming. The Mariners’ longest skid was four games and it came after they had improved to 106-40. The Mariners finished with 116 wins, but had to rally from a 2-1 series deficit to beat Cleveland in the first round. In the American League Championship Series, the Yankees crushed the Mariners in five games.

1906 Chicago Cubs

You’ve probably heard of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, right? They were stars on this Cubs team that also won 116 games. Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown won 26 games, but he lost twice in the World Series to the crosstown White Sox, including the clinching sixth game.

2015-16 Golden State Warriors

Golden State started the season with 24 straight victories and made a point of going after the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins in a season. Golden State got that record, finishing with a 73-9 record. However, they needed seven games to get past Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals and then blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

1998 Los Angeles Galaxy

The shootout was still used in Major League Soccer this season, and of the Galaxy’s 24 wins that season, two came in the shootout. D.C. United also won 24 games that year, but seven were in the shootout. Neither team won the MLS Cup, however, as the expansion Chicago Fire knocked off D.C. in the title game. The Galaxy lost to the Fire in the conference finals.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff