Streaking to Infamy

We love sports for the numbers. We define success and failure by adding up digits. We look to the numbers because, unlike politicians and utility corporations, the numbers don’t lie. However numbers don’t always make sense.

32 straight wins for Johns Hopkins lacrosse over Navy? Once a year, every year since Ford took over for Nixon, the Blue Jays beat the Mids. The latest coming Saturday in a 9-8 Blue Jay Victory.

A streak like that makes some sense, if say it was Texas over Prairie View A&M in football. But Navy’s good in lacrosse. The Midshipmen reached the NCAA Finals just two years ago. They were ranked 4th entering the game whereas Hopkins has already lost more games this year (4) than in the last three seasons combined (3).

And the stat to cap it off, the last five meetings between the two ended in one goal games.

Explaining the streak is like trying to explain how Paula Abdul keeps her job on American Idol without ever bringing a single intelligent thought to the show. Can’t do it.

The streak though got me wondering about other runs of futility for one team against another. And mind you, most of this research was accomplished without the internet, instead with old media guides. Therefore I actually had to add. Therefore don’t quote me.


The Mids also own a rather infamous losing streak in football. It’s even worse than in lacrosse. 42 straight times Notre Dame has sent Navy packing on the gridiron. The streak earned less recognition with the resurgence of Navy football the last several seasons, the focus instead on three consecutive bowl berths. But not since Roger Staubach ran amok in Annapolis have the Mids beaten the Irish.

Navy isn’t making things any easier for itself. The schools agreed to a 10 year extension of the series, including a 2012 game to kick off the season in Dublin, Ireland. Yeah, pick Navy in that one.


Okay, I don’t know if Calvin Coolidge liked, or even knew what lacrosse was. He preferred horse back riding to team sports. But he sat in the Oval Office when Maryland beat Penn State in 1924. The first of 29 consecutive wins for the Terps over the Nittany Lions. PSU in fact has never beaten Maryland in lacrosse. Penn State though hardly garners credit as a lacrosse power.


From 1968 to 1997 the Washington Redskins won 18 consecutive games over the Detroit Lions. Sure the Redskins won three Super Bowls during that stretch but they also had eight losing seasons during the stretch so the Lions should have had their chances. They never played on Thanksgiving where the Lions actually own a winning record. Oh wait. They did in 1973. Washington scored a shut out 20-0. Never mind, there’s no defending the Lions.


The Duke women’s basketball team ran up 14 straight wins over Maryland heading into the 2006 ACC Tourney. Even when Maryland fans filled up the Comcast Center each of the last two seasons and head coach Brenda Frese was guaranteeing victorythe Terps failed to even challenge.

I would however bet Duke Head coach Gail Goestenkors would trade the 14 consecutive for the little two game win streak Maryland as on the Blue Devils. The first coming in the 2006 ACC Tourney. The second coming in the form of a National Championship.


Not a mammoth streak but it provided tremendous consternation for my Philadelphia native wife. From the end of the 2003 season into July of 2004 the Florida Marlins won 10 straight over the Phillies. The Phils actually should have made the playoffs in ’03 but limped their way to the finish losing seven of their last ten games and missing the wild card. And now, I’m off to put some clean sheets on the couch.


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