A lot of sports coverage builds off of team history, and that’s true for both victories and defeats. The Toronto Sun found a particularly interesting way of illustrating the latter on their front page for Tuesday following the Maple Leafs’ 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Monday night, which marked the 30th blown 3-1 series lead in NHL history and made a lot of pundits look silly. The Sun‘s front page Tuesday not only included mockery of the current Leafs with a “Running Choke” headline, it also included seven past Sun front pages or sports front pages covering Leafs’ failures:
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) June 1, 2021
Sure, on some level, that collage isn’t entirely fair to the current team. The top left one is from 2013, and almost no one associated with that team is still with the club. The next two are both from 2018, and while there are some notable players from that team still with the current Leafs (particularly Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander), they have a different GM, a different head coach, and a mostly-different roster now. The next two covers are about the 2019 playoff exit, which is fairer, but the following one isn’t even about the playoffs, it’s about a regular-season game. (Granted, one where they lost to their Zamboni driver, but still, that’s not quite as notable overall as a postseason exit.) The last cover, on last season’s exit, definitely fits, though, and these do certainly work overall as a reminder of the team’s last decade of history.
And while the 2013 story isn’t terribly relevant to today’s Leafs on most levels, the Sun is far from alone to bring it up. Many in sports media often talk about teams’ all-time records, or number of championships won, or even repeated memorable failures, applying history to them even when there’s little crossover from a past team to a present one. And what a history of failures like this really is notable for is for the suffering of the fans who endured all of it (and, even worse, all the playoff-less seasons in the middle). And this was a clever illustration of that by the Sun, and a look back at their particular brand of headlines covering each downfall.
[The Toronto Sun on Twitter]