Sure, we all remember the championship games — even the blowouts. But for every championship game is a pair of semifinals. And while we rarely remember the games before The Game, history is filled with plenty of jaw-dropping blowouts, many that altered the course of their sport for seasons to come. In honor of Germany's epic 7-1 beat-down of Brazil in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup, here are some of the most noteworthy semifinal blowouts in sports history.
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1979 NCAA basketball national semifinal
The Magic vs. Bird Era officially began in the 1979 NCAA championship game. But two nights earlier, Earvin Johnson (No. 33) showed the world just how dominant he could be with a statistical performance for the ages in a game that was over as soon as the opening tip went in the air. The Penn Quakers were the tournament Cinderella, but the Spartans were in no mood for a fairy-tale ending. Michigan State grabbed a 50-17 halftime lead en route to a 101-67 thrashing in Salt Lake City. Magic's line — 29 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds, his second triple-double of the tournament.
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1991 AFC Championship Game
When it comes to historical significance, perhaps no team is more debated than the early 1990s Buffalo Bills. Great enough to make four straight Super Bowls (the only team to ever do that), but a loser in every one of them. But there is no debating the dominance of the team that began that historic run, at least not in the game that got them to the Super Bowl. A week after scoring 44 points against the Dolphins, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas & Co. put 51 on the Los Angeles Raiders while surrendering only a field goal in a 51-3 drubbing in Buffalo — the biggest blowout in conference championship game history, AFC or NFC. The Bills put up 502 yards (202 on the ground) and scored an NFL playoff-record 41 first-half points. On defense, the Bills had six interceptions.
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2001 NFC Championship Game
This was supposed to be the year the Vikings finally got over the hump. In the 1999 postseason, Minnesota lost to Atlanta at home on a last-second field goal in the NFC title game. After another playoff failure in 2000, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Daunte Culpepper and their high-powered offense were on the road, but the Giants were only a slight favorite. But it was Kerry Collins who lit it up, throwing for 381 yards and 5 TDs in a 41-0 rout — 41-0! It is the biggest NFC title game blowout to this day. Culpepper threw for only 78 yards and was intercepted three times. After a measly 18 yards on two catches, Randy Moss utters the famous words: 'I was just talking to Daunte, and 41-to-donut, I think that's the worst defeat I've ever been in my life.'
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1995 Eastern Conference finals
Shaquille O'Neal was 22 and looking to lead his Orlando Magic to the first of many NBA championships Shaq seemed destined for. Reggie Miller was 29 and trying to get that ring he and his Indiana Pacers had for years been closing in on. An epic battle? Well, through five games it sure was, none of the five games decided by more than five points. But in Game 6, the Pacers kept their season alive with a 123-96 romp at home. But in Game 7, Shaq & his Magic returned the favor. All five Orlando starters scored in double figures, led by O'Neal's 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting (to go with his 11 rebounds, two blocks and two assists), and the Magic eased into the NBA Finals with a 105-81 win. Shaq would be denied his title by Hakeem Olajuwon, but would leave Orlando after just one more season for greener — and purple & . . . golder? — pastures.
NBAE/Getty ImagesBarry Gossage
In 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals were on the wrong end of a 9-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. A silver lining in that loss, however, is that it is not the biggest Game 7 thumping in NLCS history. Sixteen years earlier, the Atlanta Braves won their NLCS Game 7 a whopping 15-0 . . . over the St. Louis Cardinals. Like the 1990s Bills in the NFL, the 1990s Braves are remembered as much for their postseason failures as they are their regular-season successes. But unlike the Bills, the Braves actually won a championship, in 1995. A year later, the Braves overcame a 3-1 series deficit, capped by the Game 7 drubbing in which Tom Glavine hit a three-run triple in the first inning and threw shutout ball for seven innings. The Braves would then face the Yankees in the World Series — and watch Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada launch the latest Bronx dynasty.
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1986 & 2004 ALCS
One team, two of the most memorable playoff series in perhaps all of baseball history. In 1986, the Red Sox were battling the Curse of the Bambino — and the California Angels. Having not won a World Series since 1918, a season before trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Red Sox found themselves sitting just one strike from elimination in Game 5 when Dave Henderson hit his famous home run off Angels closer Donnie Moore. Boston won Game 5 in 11 innings, then Game 6 by a 10-4 score. With Roger Clemens (left) on the mound, Boston easily won Game 7, 8-1. Eighteen years later, Boston was still dealing with the Curse and trailed the Yankees 3-0 in the ALCS. But 'The Idiots' took three straight and forced a Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, where behind a Johnny Damon (right) grand slam, they capped the historic comeback with a 10-3 win. And this time, they finished the job with a World Series sweep of the Cardinals.
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