The Best Seasons In Professional Sports History

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Getty Images

With one more win, the Golden State Warriors will surpass the 1995-'96 Chicago Bulls to post the best regular season record in NBA history: 73-9. As they stand on the cusp of this monumental feat, here are some other high marks across the world of professional sports.

HOCKEY

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The same year the Chicago Bulls set the NBA record with wins in a season, the 1995-’96 Detroit Red Wings broke the NHL’s single-season record with 62 wins (record: 62–13–7). Astonishingly, Detroit failed to make the Stanley Cup Finals after the Colorado Avalanche upset them in the Western Conference Final.

While that Red Wings team surpassed the 1976-'77 Montreal Canadiens total of 60 wins, the 132 points tallyed by that Habs team (record 60812) is still an NHL record. That year, the Canadiens outscored their opponents 387-171.

BASEBALL

1906 Chicago Cubs // Wikimedia Commons

The 1906 Chicago Cubs' 116-win, 36-loss season still stands as the best record in MLB history. That mighty Cubs team lost to South Side rivals the White Sox in that year’s World Series, proving the ball club had a knack for excruciating futility long before the curse of the Billy Goat.

The 2001 Seattle Mariners managed to tie that Cubs team for wins when they went 116-46. Because of the longer 162-game season, their win percentage of .716 is behind the Cubs’ .763 mark set in the 152-game 1906 season.

SOCCER

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The 95 points earned by the 2004-'05 Chelsea squad is the highest single-season total in English Premier League History. That team won 29 games, the most ever in a single season. The previous year, Arsenal won the league while going undefeated (26 wins, 12 draws), but their points total was five shy of the mark Chelsea would set the following year.

In Spain’s La Liga, the highest-ever points total was set by Real Madrid in 2011-’12, when they finished with 100 points (32 wins, 4 draws, and 2 losses). Both record-setting Chelsea and Real Madrid teams were managed by José Mourinho.

In Europe’s other top-tier league, Germany’s Bundesliga, the 2012-’13 Bayern Munich squad’s 91 points is an all-time record. That will go unmatched for at least one more year—even if the current Bayern Munich team wins all their remaining matches, they will still finish one point shy of the mark set by the 2012-'13 squad.

FOOTBALL

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The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team to win the Super Bowl without losing a single game during the regular season. Their record, Super Bowl included, was 17-0. Members of that Dolphins team still pop champagne as soon as modern NFL squads threatening to break the record lose their first game. Mercury Morris and company had to wait all the way to the Super Bowl in 2007 to uncork the bubbly—the New England Patriots fell to the New York Giants at the final hurdle, marring their attempt to become the only 19-0 team in NFL history.

Tennis: The Sport that Loves to Kill Royalty

 Rischgitz, Getty Images
Rischgitz, Getty Images

During medieval times, Roger Federer's killer backhand might have been considered, well, actually killer. The elegant and graceful game of tennis was responsible for so many royal deaths that it could make an executioner jealous.

Start with Louis X of France. One of the 14th century's most avid players of jeu de paume (an early, racquet-less form of tennis that involved hitting the ball with the palm of the hands), Louis famously constructed the world's first modern indoor tennis courts, allowing him to play his beloved sport year-round. In June 1316, Louis played a heated game and reportedly became extremely dehydrated. To cool down, the panting king glugged a giant urn of chilled wine … and promptly died.

The cause of Louis X's death—whether from alcohol poisoning, overheating, or some preexisting condition—is unknown. We do know, however, that the 26-year-old monarch left no male heirs (besides a posthumous infant son who died within the week), and when his brothers likewise failed to have boys, the Capetian dynasty ended, creating conditions that eventually led to the Hundred Years' War.

The next tennis-related fatality struck in 1437. Known for having a physique of "excessive corpulence," King James I of Scotland supposedly played the game to keep his bloating belly in check. Problem was, he kept losing tennis balls to a pesky sewer drain. (As a contemporary put it, "[T]he balls that he played with oft ran in at that fowle hole.") To fix the problem, James had the sewer sealed.

Three days later, a group of assassins crept into King James I's lodgings. Hearing them approach, James lifted a floorboard and plunged into the sewer, hoping to make his exit by crawling out the exterior pipes. Unfortunately, the escape was the same pipe he had sealed. James was trapped and thusly murdered.

Half a century later, the deadly sport struck again when an overexcited King Charles VIII of France met his maker after rushing through a poorly maintained castle in an effort to see a highly anticipated game of tennis. According to The Memoirs of Philip de Commines:

"[He] took his queen … by the hand, and led her out of her chamber to a place where she had never been before, to see them play at tennis in the castle-ditch … It was the nastiest place about the castle, broken down at the entrance, and everybody committed a nuisance [that is, peed] in it that would. The king was not a tall man, yet he knocked his head as he went in."

Hours later, the 27-year-old king collapsed and died.

The list of tennis-related demises goes on. In 1751, King George II's son Frederick, the Prince of Wales and heir apparent, died of a reported lung abscess. (Doctors at the time blamed a tennis or cricket ball that had earlier struck his chest.) And Queen Anne Boleyn was watching a tennis match in 1536 when she received orders to present herself to the Privy Council, which informed her of her ensuing execution.

As Boleyn was being beheaded, her husband, King Henry VIII, attended to other duties. As one version of the events goes, he was busy playing a leisurely game ... of tennis.

Dream Job Alert: Get Paid $25 an Hour Just to Watch Sports

iStock/mastermilmar
iStock/mastermilmar

Sports lovers, it’s time to monetize your game day routine. The streaming industry website Streaming Observer is hiring a “Sports Junkie” to watch games at home for $25 an hour, according to Thrillist.

The dream gig involves getting paid to do what you're probably already doing: Watch sports and evaluate your experiences using different streaming services. According to the listing, you’ll be “testing the best of the best streaming services and devices to find what works best for fans.”

What that means is you’ll be assigned to watch sports online for about 10 hours a week, taking a few notes and capturing some photos and videos of your streaming experience along the way.

Streaming Observer will provide the access to the streaming services they want you to test, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have a subscription to every single platform.

All you need is an internet connection, a basic handle on email etiquette, and access to a TV, smartphone, and computer. You’ll also need to be a U.S. resident over the age of 18.

For sports obsessives, this probably sounds much better than HowtoWatch.com’s recent professional binge-watching job, which entailed watching a total of 100 hours of streaming TV in one month.

Think you’d be great for the job? Shoot an email with the subject line “Sports Junkie” to jobs@streamingobserver.com and include an explanation about why you'd be the perfect person for the gig. Read more about the position here.

[h/t Thrillist]

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