In sports, a blowout is an easy or one-sided victory. It occurs when one athletic team or individual performer outscores another by a large margin or in such a fashion that allows the second team or individual little chance of a victory from a point early in a competition, game, contest or event, e.g. Team A defeats Team B 75-10. The term is often used in reference to athletic competition, but it is used in other contexts such as electoral politics (see also the synonym landslide).
During blowouts, sports play-by-play announcers are challenged to maintain viewing and listening audience interest and ratings. The announcers attempt to keep a stock of relevant informative discourse for such events.
Blowouts are common during the first few weeks of the NCAA college football season, when schools from Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) Power 5 conferences, e.g., the Big Ten or Big 12, play those from the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA, or FBS "Group of 5" teams e.g., the MAC or The American, usually winning by dozens of points. Examples of early College Football blowout victories include:
- November 11, 1889 - Lehigh (106) vs Penn State (0)
- October 7, 1916 - Georgia Tech (222) vs. Cumberland (0)
Ethics and sportsmanship
During blowouts, some coaches and players are challenged by the ethics and sportsmanship of the event. Some believe it is not appropriate to give full effort when winning by a blowout margin, or "run up the score", and others believe that in athletic competition one is supposed to give full effort at all times. It can also be difficult for the losing team to keep their cool. Ejections and yelling/fights often happen when a team is being blown out because the losing team is frustrated and embarrassed. During the portion of the game that is played after the outcome has been decided, which is known as garbage time, most teams rest many of their better players and play reserves who do not regularly play in their place. This keeps the regular players from getting injured and gives them a chance to get some rest. It also give the reserves a chance to get some experience under game conditions. The fans often amuse themselves with chants about favorite players that they want to see play during scrub time or teams that they look forward to playing in future rounds of playoff competition.
Some of the most one-sided sporting victories are given below:
- American football (high school). In 1927, Haven (Kan.) High School beat Sylvia (Kan.) High School 256-0 on Haven's home field. The game set numerous high school football records. In 2013, Aledo High School (Aledo, Texas) defeated Western Hills High School (Fort Worth, Texas) 91-0 prompting a Western Hills High School parent to file a bullying suit against Aledo.
- American football (college). In the 1916 Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech football game, called "the biggest blowout in football history" by Los Angeles Times columnist Paul Aurandt in 1983, Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland College by a score of 222-0. Georgia Tech rushed for 1,650 yards and did not allow a first down by Cumberland. In a record-setting season of blowouts, the 1901 Michigan Wolverines football team defeated its opponents over the course of the entire season by a combined score of 550-0.
- American football (NFL). In 1940, the Chicago Bears beat the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the league's championship game. Chicago coach George Halas reportedly showed his players newspaper clippings in which the Redskins' owner called the Bears "crybabies and quitters" after the Redskins beat the Bears, 7-3, in the regular season. In 1990, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV 55-10. It is the largest Super Bowl victory to date.
- Basketball (Boys high school). On January 29, 1964, Grand Avenue High School of DeQuincy, Louisiana defeated Audrey Memorial High School of Cameron, Louisiana 211 to 29, a still-standing high school scoring record. Numerous scoring records exist for each of the 50 states.
- Basketball (NBA). On December 17, 1991, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat 148-80.
- Club association football. In 1885, Arbroath defeated Bon Accord of Aberdeen in a Scottish Cup match by a score of 36–0. The losing Bon Accord team was actually a cricket squad that had been invited to play in the Scottish Cup by mistake. In 2002, the coach of Madagascar's Stade Olympique de l'Emyrne team staged a protest by directing his players to score at will—against themselves. The final score was 149-0, with players on the winning team (Adema) not scoring any of the goals.
- Cricket (Test format). In the fifth test of the 1938 Ashes Series, England defeated Australia by an innings and 579 runs. Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, England declared after scoring 903 runs for the loss of 7 wickets. In reply, Australia were bowled out for 201 runs in their first innings and 123 runs in their second innings.
- Cricket (ODI format). In 2008, New Zealand defeated Ireland by 290 runs. New Zealand's opening pair James Marshall and Brendon McCullum put on a first wicket partnership of 274 runs and batted through 42.2 overs. New Zealand posted a total of 402 runs for the loss of 2 wickets and bowled out Ireland for 112 runs in 28.4 overs.
- Cricket (Twenty20 format). In 2007, Sri Lanka defeated Kenya by 174 runs (201-27) in a match in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Girls high school basketball. In 1990, Morningside High School of Inglewood, California outscored South Torrance High School of Torrance, California by 78 in the first half. Lisa Leslie, currently retired after playing with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks from 1997 to 2009, scored a record 101 points. Protesting "our girls have feelings too," the South Torrance coach pulled out his team at halftime and went home. The final score was Morningside with 102 and South Torrance with 24. In 2003, Hart, Michigan's Lakeshore Public Academy was defeated by Walkerville (Mich.) High School with a final score of 115-2. In 2009, a Dallas, Texas Christian high school called The Covenant School beat a Dallas Academy team with a score of 100-0. The victory was widely condemned due to several ensuing circumstances: Dallas Academy, a school for students with learning disabilities, had fielded a team of eight out of an entire student body population of 20 girls, yet Covenant continued a full-court press and three-point shots well after taking a halftime lead of 59-0. Covenant's administration called for a forfeit of its own win, calling it "shameful and an embarrassment," and fired its coach after he declined to apologize for the blowout.
- Golf (PGA Tour). Three players have won PGA Tour matches by 16 strokes: J.D. Edgar at the 1919 Canadian Open; Joe Kirkwood, Sr., at the 1924 Corpus Christi Open; and Bobby Locke at the 1948 Chicago Victory National Championship. Tiger Woods has the largest margin of victory since 1950 with a 15-stroke win at the 2000 U.S. Open.
- Horse Racing. Secretariat won the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths to win the Triple Crown.
- International association football. Federated States of Micronesia national football team defeated by the Vanuatu national football team 46-0 in Pacific Games in Oceania in 2015. Federated States of Micronesia national football team conceded a total of 114 goals in the tournament.
- Major League Baseball. In 1897, the Chicago Colts of the National League defeated the Louisville Colonels, 36-7. The modern record (i.e., post-1900) for margin of victory was set in 2007, when the last-place Texas Rangers, down 0-3 in the fourth inning, defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 30-3. (The 30 runs are also a modern-era record for runs scored in a nine-inning MLB game by one team.)
- NASCAR racing. In 1965, Ned Jarrett won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway by 14 laps over 2nd place Buck Baker and 19 laps over 3rd and 4th-place finishers: Darel Dieringer and Roy Mayne. It is still being the largest margin of victory in NASCAR.
- NHL ice hockey. On January 23, 1944, the Detroit Red Wings beat the New York Rangers 15-0.
- Olympic basketball. During the 1976 Summer Olympics, UPI described a 129-63 victory by the Soviet Union over Japan in men's basketball as "the most one-sided blowout of the current Olympic competition.". In the highest scoring performance by any team in Olympic history, the U.S. men's basketball team beat Nigeria 156-73 in the 2012 Olympics.
- Rugby. The Australian Wallabies defeated Namibia at the 2003 World Cup of Rugby by a score of 142-0.
- Tennis. In the 1974 US Open, Jimmy Connors demolished Ken Rosewall 6-1, 6-0, 6-1, the most lopsided defeat in any Grand Slam final.
- Tennis. At the 1988 French Open, Steffi Graf, en route to the first ever Calendar Golden Slam, successfully defended her title by defeating Natasha Zvereva 6–0, 6–0 in a 32-minute final. Natasha, who had eliminated Martina Navratilova in the fourth round, won only thirteen points in the match.
- Women's hockey. In 2008, Slovakia beat Bulgaria 82-0 in a 2010 Winter Olympics qualifying tournament.
- Mixed Cornhole. In 2018, R. English and C. Luskin loss 21-1 in the amateur cornhole semifinals.
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- For international association football:
- For American high school records (all sports):
- For NCAA records (all sports):
- For NCAA baseball records in Divisions I, II, and III since 2001:
- For NCAA men's basketball records in Division I, II, and III since 2001:
- For NCAA women's basketball records in Divisions I, II, and III since 2001:
- For NCAA American football records in Divisions I (FBS and FCS) since 2004:
- For NCAA American football records in Divisions II and III since 2004:
- For NCAA men's hockey records in Divisions I and III since 2004:
- For NCAA women's hockey records in Divisions I and III since 2004: