Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ask Sports Sturm: Worst Playoff Years

This week's edition of "Ask Sports Me" is an interesting look at life as a 4-sport town. I have always had the theory that cities like ours, as opposed to the "one horse towns" do not experience prolonged depression and mourning when our teams fail...we just move on to the next one. The Mavs make us sad? Its' Rangers season! The Rangers are fading? Hello, Cowboys Camp! And so on, and so on...

In San Antonio, when the Spurs fail, it is time for Spurs off-season mourning. A totally different way of sports way of life. Admirable in some ways, maddening in others. Anyway, here is Trey's question.

With the Mavs struggling coming down the stretch I started thinking about all the major Dallas sports teams missing the playoffs in the same year. Obviously we are used to seeing this from the Rangers and the Mavs had that awful stretch in the 90’s but I couldn’t find a year where this has happened since the Stars came to town in ’93. However, I’ll admit my research was quick and not that thorough. Also, with the way the sports calendar wraps around from year to year I kinda got tired-head looking at it. I was wondering if you had any better insight on this in your sports brain...



In fairness to Trey, he wrote this a few week's back when the Mavs playoff chances seemed a bit dimmer. But, now that they are assured a playoff berth, we will not go 0-for North Texas in 2009. He already saw the Cowboys miss (technically 2008), and the Stars miss. The year wasn't looking good for the Rangers, so in his mind, that would have been 0-4, even if it didn't fall in a technical calendar year (think Tiger Slam) even if the NFL Playoffs for 2008 actually fall in 2009.

Anyway, here is what my newest HTML chart looks like dating back to 1994, the first year we were officially a 4-horse town:

1994NFC Champ2nd RoundMissedLockout
1995Super Bowl1st RoundMissedMissed
19962nd RoundMissedMissed1st Round
1997Missed1st RoundMissedMissed
19981st Round3rd RoundMissed1st Round
19991st RoundStanley CupMissed1st Round
2000MissedSC FinalsMissedMissed
2001Missed2nd Round2nd RoundMissed
2002MissedMissed2nd RoundMissed
20031st Round2nd Round3rd RoundMissed
2004Missed1st Round1st RoundMissed
2005MissedLockout2nd RoundMissed
20061st Round1st RoundNBA FinalsMissed
20071st Round1st Round1st RoundMissed
2008Missed3rd Round1st RoundMissed
2009TBAMissedMade TBATBA
Totals8 of 1512 of 159 of 163 of 14

So, no years where all 4 teams missed the playoffs, but some less than stellar years were mixed in, including 3 years where 3 of the 4 teams missed. They are below with painful videos provided by youtube:

1997 - A year in which the Cowboys, Mavericks, and Rangers all missed. This was a particularly rare performance from the Cowboys who made the playoffs every other year from 1991 to 1999. The Rangers missed for the only year between 1996-1999. The Mavericks never went once in the 1990's, and the Stars, who were the only team to make the playoffs, were kicked out promptly on the Todd Marchant goal in Game 7's overtime. Below, find the painful evidence.

2000 - This year is tough to call a "down" year, given that the Stars were in the Stanley Cup Finals (Stinking Jason Arnott). But, the Mavs were in year 1 of the Cuban experiment (Best remembered as the Dennis Rodman year, even if he only did play 12 memorable games). The Cowboys were in year 1 of the Campo era, and the Rangers traded Juan Gonzalez after the 1999 playoff year and dropped 24 games in the standings. Below, find the quietest moment in Reunion Arena hockey history (provided the Marchant goal above wasn't):

2002 - This year saw the Stars with a rare playoff miss (Goodbye, Ken Hitchcock); A somewhat ordinary Cowboys playoff miss (Goodbye, Dave Campo); and, another miss of the playoffs by the Rangers (Hello, Jerry Narron. Goodbye, Jerry Narron). But, the new darling of the metro-plex, those Dallas Mavericks were in. After sweeping the Timberwolves, despite Chauncey Billups and Kevin Garnett doing well, the Mavs hit the buzzsaw that was the Sacramento Kings. The Mavs split in No-Cal in the first two games, before losing both games in Dallas and then dropping Game 5 back at Arco to fall to the Kings, 4 games to 1. You may recall that 2002 was the year the Kings seemed to have the best team in the league (they had the best record), but dropped a very hotly contested 7 game war with the Lakers in the Western Finals. If you can handle the upset stomach, below see the Game 4 winner from Mike Bibby as he put the Mavs to the sword:

So there you have it. If I had to vote, 1997 was the worst of the bunch. But, some will tell you 2009 could make a run at it if the Mavs go 1-and-done and the Cowboys don't fix their mess.

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