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A year for this town to forget

Austin Freeman and the Georgetown Hoyas suffered a miserable end to their season.
Austin Freeman and the Georgetown Hoyas suffered a miserable end to their season. (Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post)
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By Dan Steinberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beware the temptation to attach superlatives to the most recent anything, as in, that chunk of aged Gouda I just had was the most delicious piece of cheese the universe has ever seen, LeBron's elbow grimace is the most embarrassing nonsense from a league MVP in modern memory, my decade with The Washington Post coincided with the worst decade for newsprint since the 17th century, and so on.

Still, let me ask: Were the past 12 months, May 1-April 30, possibly the worst in D.C. sports history?

ESPN 980's Andy Pollin recently asked that question on his blog, before deciding that, at least in the post-Senators era, this most recent stretch of failure was only the second-worst.

Pollin's worst 12 months came in 1988-89, when the Redskins went from the Super Bowl to 7-9, the Bullets missed the playoffs at 40-42, the Caps fell to the Flyers in the first round, star-studded Georgetown missed the Final Four and Maryland basketball went 1-13 in the ACC, leading to the resignation of Bob Wade and prompting Tony Kornheiser to describe the program as "literally and figuratively at ground zero."

But I'm sorry, the past 12 months match up just fine. One more time, for history's sake:

-- The Nats finished with 100 losses for a second straight season, making them one of only four baseball franchises over the past 25 years to reach the century mark two seasons in a row.

-- Maryland football ended its season with seven straight losses to finish 2-10, its worst record since 1967.

-- The Redskins went 4-12, failing to win five games for just the third time since 1963. That record cost the coach, the quarterback, and the executive vice president of football operations their jobs. Also, they turned the offense over to a bingo caller.

-- Georgetown became the biggest upset victim in the NCAA tournament's first round, losing to 14th-seeded Ohio. The Hoyas allowed 97 points, the most a 1-4 seed had surrendered in the first round since the tournament expanded.

-- Maryland basketball was on the wrong end of one of the most brutal NCAA tournament finishes, getting felled by a Michigan State three-pointer with no time on the clock in the second round.

-- At 26-56, the Wizards weren't close to being historically bad -- they've had a worse record eight times in the past 20 years. However, none of those teams saw their best player end the season in a halfway house. Or their owner die.

-- The Caps had, by just about any measure, the best regular season in their history. But they were the first No. 1 seed to blow a 3-1 series lead to a No. 8 seed, they became just the fifth major U.S. team to lose a Game 7 three years in a row.

In conclusion, what was it Flip Saunders said? Oh yeah.

"Don't think it can't get any worse."


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