While it wasn’t the worst kicking choke in NFL history (thank you, Scott Norwood), Billy Cundiff will certainly have an unpleasant week after hooking a 32-yard attempt wide left, effectively handing the Patriots the trophy while Ravens fans just stared slack-jawed. While some may argue that a miraculous last-second play best demonstrates the drama of sports, I would argue that a memorable choke does just as good a job, even though it might not be as fun to remember.

Though chokes are most common in the sporting world, failure to meet the moment can come in all walks of life, making the choke a pretty common device in storytelling. Nothing is quite as moving as the abject heartbreak a character suffers when he snags defeat from the jaws of victory.

Mike D – Rounders

The choke here wasn’t choosing to go head-to-head with Teddy KGB, or even playing out the hand that he had. Those were both decent decisions, as Mike McDermott is/was a very solid poker player. The bad move here was not being able to see KGB’s obvious “tell,” which isn’t totally clear, but I think has to do with the fact that he would set down his Oreo without eating it if he had the cards.

It might seem hypocritical that I’m judging Mike for not picking up on a tell (the first time, anyway) that I can’t determine, but I’m not gambling $30k on a hand of poker, and he is.

Gordon Bombay – The Mighty Ducks

The wunderkind of the Hawks had the table set for his moment of glory, in a position to secure yet another championship for the perennial juggernauts. However, he let down Coach Reilly and his teammates by hitting the crossbar. Sure, he’s just a little kid, but that’s no excuse. Hawks win. If you don’t like it, go be a Duck or something.

Shooter McGavin – Happy Gilmore

Happy’s short game was shit. Sure, he could drive the hell out of the ball, but I’m not inclined to believe that one in three drives could find its way to the fairway or green.

Consequently, Shooter McGavin should have MURDERED Happy. In every day of the tourney and in the playoff hole. McGavin fell apart. Though his breakdown is understandable, since he had a lot on his mind with the constant threat of ass-kickings in the parking lot and unwanted dinners at Red Lobster, it’s not excusable. McGavin was the better golfer and he just flat-out sucked.

Jim – American Pie

You’ve got the hot eastern European girl topless, in your bed, and presumably “shaved.” Your only real goal here is “don’t prematurely ejaculate.” And certainly don’t do it on a webcam. He really failed to come through in the clutch here. The good news is that Jim was young, and these are the kind of mistakes young people make.

Virgil – True Romance

Who had Patricia Arquette over James Gandolfini in their motel room cage match? How about if you let James Gandolfini wail on her for about 10 minutes to start? Yeah, I wouldn’t put a dime on Arquette. The fact that he gets taken down and eventually killed after getting a corkscrew to the foot is especially lame. Big ups to Arquette’s Alabama for pulling out every stop, including the hairspray to the face. But it doesn’t change the fact that Virgil should have been able to swat every attack away and dispatch her quickly.

Roy Munson – Kingpin

Was Roy Munson a better bowler than Big Ern McCracken? Maybe not, but he was good enough that he shouldn’t have missed that last shot, only to end up Munsoned out there in the middle of nowhere. Sure, he may have over achieved with the prosthetic hand and all, but the adage goes, “If you’re good enough to come in second place, you’re good enough to be disappointed.” We’re all disappointed in you Roy. I’m sure being Munsoned alone with his feelings was far worse than any criticism that we could levy on him.

Greedo – Star Wars (the stupid redone version)

First of all, I would like to state that the fact that George Lucas added the “Greedo shoots first” touch in the 1997 re-visit/boot/telling/make of Star Wars to the delight of absolutely no one.

Nonetheless, Greedo misses Han from about two feet away. Not to be callous, but Greedo deserved to die the entire time if that’s the shot he missed. If this guy was Jabba’s muscle, then I’m going to venture a guess that Jabba didn’t collect on his money very often.

It was a horribly-conceived scene featuring an apparently God-awful bounty hunter.

Unnamed Character – Pulp Fiction

There are a few choke jobs here, and while Vincent and Jules should have been better prepared to deal with a rogue occupant in the bathroom, the real choke was by that nameless occupant, played by Alexis Arquette, who empties his pistol at near point-blank range, only to miss to the left, right, and even through them.

Sure, there may have been divine intervention on the side of the hitmen, but the truly prepared know that God is on their side.

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