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    Two-Part Trilogy rewrite 
"To be concluded...which if this was always meant to be a trilogy we would've ended the first film saying that, too...just saying."
— "Part 2" of The Nostalgia Critic's Matrix review

When a trilogy of works can be divided into two groups of installments due to narrative, stylistic, interactive, or structural similarities. One of these groups contains two of the installments and the other group comprises the remaining installment.

This can lead to a situation wherein two of the installments in the trilogy share more direct relation to each other than they do with the original. The story seems to flow more between a pair of the installments while one remains standalone. More characters transfer over from the earlier member of the pair to the later one. Cinematography and/or art direction is more consistent within a pair. The pair's may also share more story beats with each other than the leftover installment (such as the first film having a standing opening, the second has a Villain Opening Scene and the third also has one). A video game example would be when the sequel will make certain gameplay refinements from the first game, and the third installment is just a mild refinement from the second.

A Two-Part Trilogy can come in three flavors, depending on which installment ends up being in the leftover group: either the first, second or third.

The first installment is the leftover

Sometimes when a work is made, although no one is expecting that much to come of it, it becomes a surprise hit. Of course, the best way to capitalize on a success is to make a sequel out of it - and as the golden number in Hollywood (or other large creative industry) seems to be three, what better way to hit the jackpot than to make a trilogy out of it?

However, in a lot of these situations the first installment was quite self-contained; after all, if there's no expectation of a sequel, then even if you put in a few just-in-case Sequel Hooks (since producers are nothing if not hopeful) you'll still want to tie the loose ends up enough so that the audience can enjoy the story on its own merits without needing to see a sequel that might never come. If you have a couple of sequels guaranteed no matter what, however, then you can afford to leave the audience hanging in between the second and third - after all, they'll be back to see both of them, right?

In essence, what you have is a self-contained first part with heavily intertwined second and third parts. In fact, in some cases the second and third parts of the trilogy might as well be one long movie cut in half and released separately. As a result there are a multitude of recurring pitfalls that can pop up as a result of that mindset; see the Analysis Page for more on that.

Outside of the story, the trilogy might literally be a Two-Part Trilogy - the second and third movies are also often written and produced concurrently (in order to save costs and ideally increase revenue), so where there might be a gap of several years between One and Two, Two and Three might be released within a year (or less) of each other.

A Trilogy in Four Parts is also a notable possibility, where the concluding chapter is split into two parts, thus ensuring that the franchise's climax receives more of the developing time and budget, while also conveniently avoiding Trilogy Creep.

Another cause behind this is that Pop Culture has a very short shelf life, and the executives don't want to waste effort into something that will no longer be a fad in the additional two years it may take to produce the third film.

The second installment is the leftover

Other times, a sequel may be made with a vastly different style, art direction, cinematography, cast, setting, or even production team. The results may win new fans or turn off fans of the original. But then suddenly, the original production team and/or cast came back. Maybe they were busy making some other work. Or the powers that be need somebody who could salvage a franchise fractured by the sequel, or regretted the changes brought on by the sequel.

Archive of RL sections of Creator Killer (for moving to a better-encompassing trope in TLP later)

Car section

The history of the car industry has been littered with vehicles that either sunk the companies that made them, or came very close to doing so.


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    General Motors 
The largest of America's "Big Four" (now Big Three) automakers, General Motors, or GM, has had more than a few down moments in its long history.

  • Cadillac: The luxury make has since seen its reputation as Standard of the World restored, but in the early 1980s, a series of marketing and production moves nearly permanently ruined its reputation:
    • The 1982 Cimarron, a car based off the identical Chevrolet Cavalier (and J-car stablemates at Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac) meant to cash in on the growing compact entry-level luxury car class. While not a bad car in and of itself, and certainly well appointed, the car's four-cylinder engine, high base price ($12,000, when a loaded Chevrolet Cavalier topped off at over $10,000), humble origins and underwhelming performance when compared to cars in its class badly damaged Cadillac's reputation.
    • The V8-6-4 engine, a variable displacement engine that aimed to shut off cylinders as they were unneeded in highway cruising. The engine was very novel and space age when introduced in 1981, but the technology didn't exist in the early 1980s to make it a reliable enough engine ... and it also kept many buyers away from the brand for years.
      • Even worse, Cadillac followed up the V8-6-4 debacle with the 'High Tech' HT4100. It was an aluminum V8 engine that suffered from oil pump failures, bearing failures, intake manifold gasket failures, head gasket failures due to the head bolts pulling right out of the aluminum block, and oil/coolant leaks literally happening right on showroom floors due to the porosity of the aluminum engine block castings! The kicker? The 'High Tech' V8 produced a whopping 135 horsepower.
    • The 1985 de Ville/Fleetwood and 1986 Seville and Eldorado, designed by Irvin Rybicki, were intended to look more modern and appeal to buyers of European luxury cars. Unfortunately, the resulting designs were widely criticized for being bland and too similar to GM's other, less expensive models. BMW and Mercedes customers weren't impressed, and traditional Cadillac buyers saw it as a cheapening of their brand.
  • Chevrolet: While generally immune to the trend, there have been aversions and failures:
    • The 1980 Corvette, particularly those sold in California. Due to toughening emissions standards and to respond to the aftershocks of the 1979 fuel crisis (where gasoline approached (gasp!) an unheard of $2 per gallon in some placesnote , a detuned 305-cid V-8 engine of a mere 180 horsepower was the only model offered. (Cars sold elsewhere had the more powerful 190-horse or optional 230-horse engine.) That, the fact that only automatic transmissions were available on the California cars and other quirks (notably, the 85-mph speedometer) turned off purists ... despite the car's continued success.
    • The 1991 Caprice. The end of the traditional full-sized rear-wheel drive car was partly due to styling that was poorly received, compared to a beached whale and an upside-down bathtub (although it should be noted that the 1992 Ford Crown Victoria was well praised despite very similar styling), but more so due to the growing market share held by sport utility vehicles. By the early 1990s, these were no longer seen purely as utilitarian work/off-road vehicles but, with the right options, trim, and other choices, could also serve as family vehicles, cannibalizing the market for full-size sedans. By the time it was discontinued in 1996 to make room for more SUV production, the only people still buying the Caprice were police departments who loved the car's Lightning Bruiser characteristics; indeed, it was so popular as a police cruiser that, for years, there were many garages that specialized in refurbishing old Caprices for police use. (Only in the late '00s, with the rise of the high-performance Dodge Charger sedan as a police interceptor, were many of these aging Caprices finally retired; however, Chevy has brought a new Caprice to market for police use only in recent years {based off the Australian Holden Commodore, known as the Pontiac G8 originally and then the Chevrolet SS}). The 1991 Caprice does have one major saving grace: the 1994 Chevrolet Impala SS, essentially a high-performance version of the Caprice, remains one of the most sought-after American cars of the 90's, and sold well even in spite of only lasting three years.
  • Oldsmobile: Throughout The '80s, the Oldsmobile marque enjoyed strong sales and was one of GM's biggest money makers. Unfortunately, a series of marketing missteps would lead to disaster and eventually lead to the brand's dissolution in 2004.
    • The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was one of the best-selling vehicles in the United States and the core model of the Oldsmobile line.However, when the fifth-generation Cutlass Supreme, based off GM's front wheel drive W-platform, debuted in 1988 as part of the company-wide GM-10 program, it was an unmitigated disaster that set in motion the events that lead to the brand's demise in 2004. While it was praised by automotive publications in its time and seen as a good car in its own right, its development was beset by large budget overruns and numerous production delays; while intended to be sold as a coupe, sedan, and wagon, only the coupe and sedan made it into production well behind schedule. However, the car's biggest downfall was the dissonance between Oldsmobile's product development and marketing staff over what it was supposed to be. While it was designed to be a technologically advanced family car for upper-middle-class baby boomers, it was marketed as a youthful performance car. When it hit showrooms in spring 1988, Oldsmobile launched it with the disastrous "The New Generation of Oldsmobile" ad campaign, in which the car was pitched by the college-aged children of celebrities with the tagline "This is not your father's Oldsmobile". This example commercial featured images of the car launching into space with William Shatner's daughter Melanie telling her dad, "Some things are just meant for the next generation!" Not only did the car fail to appeal to the Generation X buyers that it wasn't even designed for, but the campaign destroyed the prestigious brand image Oldsmobile built for itself over decades and prevented baby boomers and current customers from even looking at the car. Even worse, the campaign caused Oldsmobile to compete with other GM brands which were marketed to the same or a similar demographic. By the early 1990s, Oldsmobile was in the midst of a crippling identity crisis, and with the help of a painful recession which tanked auto sales across the board, was moving only a small fraction of the volume it moved less than a decade earlier; the loss of volume and large cost overruns of the GM-10 program caused massive financial losses for General Motors and was a major contributing factor in the company lapsing close to bankruptcy in 1992. Today, the GM-10 Cutlass Supreme is seen as the starting point for the death of Oldsmobile, and surviving examples are undesired and generally valueless (in stark contrast to the model they replaced, which are appreciating in value) and the "The New Generation of Oldsmobile" marketing campaign is regularly taught in business schools as a spectacular failure in brand management.
    • The 1997 Cutlass was widely derided for being a Chevrolet Malibu with Oldsmobile badges grafted on. It only lasted three model years before being quietly cancelled, bringing an undignified end to the once-popular Cutlass line.
    • The 2001 Aurora attempted to retain the first generation's ground-breaking styling on a smaller platform. The resulting design was rather bulbous and ungainly, in contrast to its predecessor's sleek looks.
  • Pontiac:
    • The Aztek was indirectly responsible for the Pontiac brand being shuttered by General Motors in 2010. While those who actually bought it gave it some of the highest satisfaction scores in its class, its... distinctive appearance made it very polarizing, to the point that it was even criticized by GM executives. note  It is generally seen as the "point of no return" where Pontiac lost its credibility as a performance vehicle brand (which had already been slipping since The '80s) and became a parody of itself. While Pontiac would try to Win Back the Crowd later in the '00s with proper performance vehicles such as the GTO and G8 (which were badge-engineered Australian imports), it was too little, too late. Illustrating that styling was the Aztek's biggest problem, the vehicle's more conventionally-styled Buick twin, the Rendezvous, was far more successful. Having a pre-scandal Tiger Woods as its pitchman probably didn't hurt, either.

      The Aztek has, however, been somewhat Vindicated by History thanks to the TV series Breaking Bad. Similar to how Back to the Future turned the DeLorean from a Butt-Monkey flop into one of the most iconic cars of its era, Breaking Bad has ignited a new wave of interest and enthusiasm for the Aztek due to the public's new association of it with the show's anti-hero protagonist, Walter White. Furthermore, while it had flaws that were more than skin-deep (it was too expensive for its Gen-X target market, its poor aerodynamics gave it subpar fuel economy), it was also ahead of its time in several ways, serving as an early example of the compact "crossover utility vehicle" that, less than ten years later, would largely usurp the mammoth SUVs that dominated the market during the years when the Aztek was in production. In fact, one writer has argued that, in the long run, the Aztek saved GM as a whole even while destroying Pontiac, comparing it to the Apple Newton PDA and Macintosh Portable laptop in terms of concepts that were ahead of their time and just needed the kinks worked out first.
    • On top of the Aztek, Pontiac also had the problem of having one of the worst dealership networks in the country towards the end of its life. Pontiac dealers had grown notorious for poor service and pushy sales tactics, to the point where it's been argued that the reason why the aforementioned GTO and G8 flopped in spite of rave reviews partly because Pontiac's dealers tried to force buyers to pay thousands above sticker price for one.
  • Saturn:
    • The ION, which was critically panned and much less popular that the Saturn S-series economy cars that it replaced, is considered to be mainly responsible for the Saturn brand's dissolution in 2010 as well. While subsequent, more "upmarket" vehicles such as the Saturn Aura would be praised, they made the brand redundant, defeating its entire purpose as a "new start" for GM with a wholly separate dealership network and vehicle platforms. Thus, Saturn was an easy casualty during GM's bankruptcy restructuring.
  • Hummer:
    • While the Hummer brand might have survived either the Great Recession or the late '00s energy crisis had either happened on its own, the combination of both dealt it a crippling blow. With gas prices reaching well over $3 (and at times even $4) a gallon and staying there well into the '10s, at a time when the US was going through an economic crisis with sky-high unemployment rates and people losing their homes, people rapidly turned away from the brand whose very name had become a synonym for "flashy, expensive gas-guzzler". During GM's bankruptcy restructuring, Hummer was among the first brands to go; attempts to sell it to a Chinese company in 2009 failed, and it was quietly shut down with Saturn and Pontiac the following year. However, GM is planning to reboot the Hummer name as an electric pickup model.

    Chrysler Corporation 
The No. 3 automaker has had its series of major failures, and while the company was able to stay afloat in some cases, in one case an entire marque was done away with:

  • The 1957 "Forward Look" cars were critically acclaimed at their launch for their daring styling. Unfortunately, in their hurry to bring the cars to market, Chrysler skimped on quality control, resulting in issues like premature rusting, brittle door handles, busted torsion bars, and ragged upholstery. The fiasco seriously damaged Chrysler, which up to that point was known for their stellar workmanship.
    • Desoto got the worst of it. The negative publicity caused by the 1957 models, combined with the 1957-58 recession and internal competition with the Chrysler margue after the latter was pushed downmarket by the introduction of the Imperial line, caused the marque to suffer decreasing sales every subsequent year until Chrysler finally retired the marque after a brief run of 1961 models.
  • The 1962 Dodge and Plymouth full-size cars were born when Chrysler president Bill Newberg heard a rumor about General Motors introducing a smaller Chevrolet for the 1962 model year and immediately assumed they were gonna downsize their full-size cars.note  Consequently, Newberg ordered a crash downsizing of the full-size Dodge and Plymouths. Having already finalized the design of the 1962 models, stylists were forced to hastily adapt them to the smaller dimensions. The resulting cars were oddly styled and overpriced for their size. Unsurprisingly, the new cars ended up being a sales disaster-Plymouth went from fourth to ninth place in sales. Even worse, while Chrysler recovered from the fiasco, it decided the best course of action was to make its full-size cars bigger, leading them to progressively increase the size of their cars throughout The '60s, which came back to bite them in the 1973-74 oil crisis.
    • The 1962 Chryslers also proved to be a creator killer for longtime Chrysler styling chief Virgil Exner, who was made The Scapegoat and fired.
    • On the other hand, the platform that underpinned the 1962 cars would continue to be used by Chrysler as the basis for their mid-size cars throughout the 60s and 70s.
  • The 1974 full-size cars had the misfortune of hitting the market almost simultaneously with the onset of the OPEC oil embargo. It didn't help that their styling actually emphasized their gargantuan dimensions. Consumer reception was frosty, and the models would muddle along until their replacement by...
    • The 1979 R-body cars, developed as a belated response to GM's downsizing of their full-size range. Chrysler didn't have the money to develop a new platform, so they took their 1962-vintage mid-size B-body, gave it new styling, and rebranded it as a full-size platform. Despite being smaller than their predecessors, the R-bodies were still styled in a way that emphasized their size, which turned off the increasingly fuel economy-conscious American public. Also, their lethargic drivetrains alienated law enforcement agencies, which up until that point had been a key component of Chrysler's customer base. The R-body cars would only last until 1981, and Chrysler wouldn't return to the full-size market until the debut of the LH-body cars in 1993.
  • The 1976 Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare had tremendous reliability and recall problems when first introduced — including notorious rustproofing problems — so much to the point that the costs Chrysler faced servicing the vehicles under warranty were a major factor in its near stint with bankruptcy during the late 1970s/early 1980s.
  • The third-generation Chrysler Sebring turned Chrysler into a joke during the late 2000s and all but destroyed the company's reputation, which it is still trying to recover. While marketed as a luxury sedan with the most loaded models costing close to $40,000, odd styling (one reviewer called the Sebring "an art-deco mess") and how the Sebring's performance, ride, and build and material quality were below that of vehicles that cost half as much made it a universally panned bust. When Chrysler went asking for a government bailout during 2008, many commentators and opponents brought up the Sebring to dispute Chrysler's claims that the global financial crisis was the source of the company's cash crunch. While most of Chrysler's product lineup at the time was uncompetitive, the Sebring was the most prominent due to how spectacularly underwhelming it was considering its price, and given that Chrysler had the far superior full-size 300 in its lineup right next to it. The Sebring is almost universally considered to be one of the worst cars made in recent memory, and even Chrysler enthusiasts will admit that it is a terrible car (though there exists a vocal minority that defends it).

    Chrysler's new owners at Fiat gave the fourth-generation Sebring performance, styling, handling, comfort, and build and material quality upgrades that addressed many of its shortcomings, lowered its price, and renamed it the Chrysler 200. While still not a world beater, the 200 is a reasonably decent car that is much more popular and held in much higher regard than the Sebring and is helping to rebuild the brand image the Sebring destroyed. The Sebring/200 thus hold the interesting distinction of the same car both playing this trope straight and subverting it.

    However, a completely redesigned 200 would repeat the cycle. It earned mediocre reviews (though it didn't come remotely close to being critically savaged in the same way the 2007 Sebring did) and flopped in the market and was discontinued after only two years.

    Ford Motor Co. 
Ford was luckier than most when it came to its failed cars, but several brands weren't immune to the Creator Killer phenomenon:

  • Believe it or not, the Model T almost became this for the Ford Motor Company. As the Model T aged and other automakers introduced more modern and innovative vehicles, Henry Ford and the company's management refused to break away from the company's original mission of building cheap, utilitarian vehicles, costing Ford a lot of market share. in 1927, Ford would eventually cave and replace the Model T with the Model A, a much more powerful, stylish, and luxurious car that was on par with the competitors that were ravaging the Model T. It would go on to become a best-seller and turn around the company's fortunes.
  • While Ford was able to recover from the Edsel, the car itself became synonymous with failure with products in general and one of the most famous examples of such. Its unique horse-collar grille (or, less charitably, a "toilet-seat" grille) led to a popular joke claiming that it looked like "an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon"note , and while similar styling would later be used by other automakers to a better reception, the Edsel still became a subject of mockery the moment it was announced. Furthermore, it was an upscale brand launched at the onset of what became the Recession of 1958, to say nothing of the fact that Ford already had an upscale brand (Mercury) that commanded its target market. Finally, it had quality control issues due to both its complex push-button transmission selector and it being built on Ford and Mercury assembly lines, which forced factory workers to constantly change tools and parts bins whenever an Edsel came down the line. While it was ahead of its time in a number of ways, the technology and the market just were not ready for it in the late '50s. Not even The Edsel Show, a well-received 1957 Variety Show special designed to promote the car that helped give Bing Crosby a Career Resurrection in television, could get people to buy it. The only thing Edsel is being used for now is mockery on the Internet.
  • In 1968, Ford vice-president Lee Iacocca, who had engineered the Mustang and several other classic Ford cars in The '60s, recognized that, with growing competition from German and Japanese automakers, Ford would soon need a compact, fuel-efficient car at the bottom of its lineup, and led a team to create a car that weighed less than two thousand pounds and could be sold for less than $2,000. The car in question was the Pinto, and initially, it was hailed as another success story for Ford and Iacocca, who became president of Ford in 1970... until its notorious fuel tank/rear-end collision problems came to light. Iacocca was fired in 1978, one month after Ford recalled 1.5 million Pintos, as he became The Scapegoat for the car's problems — and not unjustifiably, as he had rushed the car into production and cut corners in order to keep the cost down. Fortunately, he quickly made a comeback at Chrysler, where he was hailed for turning that company around in The '80s and saving it from its own near-brush with a Creator Killer (see above).
  • While it's a little early to say if it's going to be the case, Ford's decision in April 2018 to focus production exclusively on SUVs and Trucks is widely viewed as the final nail in the coffin for the company. Sure, SUVs are selling great at the moment, but should another financial or energy crisis come, Ford will be absolutely screwed without a lineup of cheap and affordable compact cars. The 2018 trade war between the United States and China certainly hasn't helped, either, as it ultimately reduced Ford's non-SUV and non-Truck offerings to the Mustang, and even that's not a safe deal if the 2019 discontinuation of the Volkswagen Beetle, another iconic car, is anything to go by.

    American Motors (and its precursors) 
The smallest of the Big Four, American Motors was formed by a merger of smaller automakers trying to stay in business against Ford, GM, and Chrysler. It worked for a time, but by The '80s the company had fallen apart due to the oil crisis, with its pieces absorbed by Chrysler.

  • The 1953-54 Hudson Jet was the car that was responsible for American Motors' creation in the first place. While a good car, the compact cost so much to develop, and sold so poorly as a result of its high price, that Hudson was forced to merge with Nash and form American Motors in order to stave off bankruptcy. The Hudson nameplate disappeared three years later.
  • The 1975 Pacer was the point at which American Motors' fate was sealed. Its subpar fuel economy for a compact car, its... unconventional styling, and a Troubled Production that saw GM canceling the rotary engine project that was to power the car (it had to be hastily redesigned to fit the older, longer AMC Straight-6) all overshadowed its various innovations and doomed it at the marketplace. It's a classic now, but a Cult Classic, remembered as a symbol of '70s kitsch.
  • In The '80s, AMC struck a deal with French automaker Renault to build and sell the Renault 9 subcompact in the US as the Renault Alliance. Unfortunately, in addition to bland styling, the Alliance had dismal performance even by American subcompact standards - the base engine had a puny 64 horsepower, giving a car a blistering 0-60MPH time of 14.3 seconds and a top speed of 89 MPH. Add to that the reliability issues faced by all Renault cars in the 1980s, and you have a recipe for disaster. Sales started off strong, but declined as gas prices fell, which negated the Alliance's one advantage - fuel economy. To make matters worse, AMC had bet their fortunes on the Alliance to the point of stopping production of all of their homegrown models save for the Eagle and the Jeep model line, so when Alliance sales tanked, it took the company with it.
    • Another problem faced by AMC because of their partnership with Renault came from the United States government, who had several contracts with AMC's AM General division. The government would not allow a significant defense contractor to be owned by a foreign company and so forced AMC to sell the division which was making a significant amount of money for AMC.
      • Not only that, but the head of Renault, Georges Besse, who had championed their involvement with AMC, was assassinated by a group of anarchists angry over his layoff of Renault workers - once he was gone, support for AMC at Renault evaporated and the company was part of Chrysler by the end of 1987.

    Mitsubishi Motors 
The automotive division of one of the Japanese Mega-Corp, Mitsubishi Motors had decent market share in the old days, but their Unfortunate Implications on Misaimed Marketing during Turn of the Millennium almost ruined their businesses.
  • The Lancer Evolution line enjoyed a pronounced Red Stapler effect in the 1990s and early 2000s due to a heated rivalry with Subaru Impreza WRX STI in World Rally Championship during these times, with Mitsubishi importing it to the US thanks to its appearance in, and popularity from, the Gran Turismo series and other popular racing games. As time went on, however, association with the "ricer" subculture, the 2008 economic crisis and Mitsubishi's refusal to update the car after that year dimmed its appeal, leading to struggling sales that almost pronounced the end for Mitsubishi Motors. Only by discontinuing the entire Lancer Evolution range in 2016 did they stop the bleeding. The normal Lancer range was also affected, and the company ultimately decided to discontinue them as well as they focused on their SUVs. The Lancer Evolution is now a Cult Classic, remembered as a symbol of 2000s Japanese tuner kitsch.
  • Similar to Oldsmobile listed above, Mitsubishi was slaughtered in the United States by an egregiously bad marketing campaign. In the early 2000's Mitsubishi launched its infamous 0-0-0 campaign, in which one could buy a Mitsubishi car with no down payment, 0% interest and have all of their monthly payments deferred for a year. While it was initially successful in raising sales, it came back to bite them when many buyers defaulted once their first payment was due. Many others tried to get rid of their cars at the end of the grace period by committing insurance fraud. Either way, Mitsubishi was now stuck with thousands of repossessed cars which they had received no money for and were worth thousands less than what they cost to manufacture. Mitsubishi was forced to write off a $454 million loss in 2003 as a result of the program - a major financial hit for a company of their size. With the subsequent cash crunch, Mitsubishi was forced to drastically scale back future product development and marketing - right when resurgent Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia launched a major expansion push aimed directly at Mitsubishi's core market. Sales tanked precipitously and by 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, Mitsubishi as a whole sold a paltry 39,000 cars in the US for the year. Since then, industry observers have been in unanimous agreement that Mitsubishi pulling out of the US market is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
  • Mitsubishi Australia had been struggling in the Australian car market for years and pinned its last-ditch hopes on the 380 model (a recently-discontinued Galant model) introduced in 2005. Instead, sales fell short of expectations, and Mitsubishi ended up closing down all of its Australian factories for good.
  • In April 2016, it was revealed that Mitsubishi had falsified fuel economy data for several models in its lineup to make their fuel economy and emissions ratings appear much better than they actually were, which they had been doing for the past 14 years. As a result, they were forced to compensate customers 100,000 yen per customer.

    Other automakers 
  • The Rootes Group, a major British car maker, came unstuck with the Hillman Imp. It single-handedly led to the company's takeover by Chrysler and subsequent long-term decline.
  • The DeLorean Car Company. See Real Life section of The Alleged Car for more information.
  • At its height, luxury brand Packard was more prestigious than Cadillac but entered a period of slow decline in the 1950s. The 1957-58 "Packardbakers," thinly-disguised Studebakers which came nowhere close to meeting established Packard standards, killed the nameplate off for good.
  • The edgy, polarizing styling of the 1937 "Spirit of Motion" sedan—more commonly referred to as the "Sharknose"—led to devastating financial losses for the Graham-Paige Motors Corporation.
  • Audi suffered a huge loss in the United States after reports of sudden unintentional acceleration in the Audi 5000, where faults in the engine idle system — plus some extremely close pedals, making misapplication easy — would cause the car to surge forward. USA Audi sales plummeted from 74k in 1985 to 12k in 1990, resale values went through the floor, and extended warranties were offered in desperation to avoid lawsuits. The car was even rebranded to the Audi "100" to avoid the connotations with the 5000. The brand didn't recover for a decade.
  • Facel Vega was a famous French automaker known for strikingly beautiful sports cars owned by a lot of celebrities during The '50s and The '60s; kind of like a Gallic Aston Martin. When they try to go downmarket with the Facellia, it seemed like a harmless idea to make a smaller, more accessible sports car based on their lineup. Unfortunately, the car gained a notorious reputation as an Alleged Car when it turned out that the engine can easily break down and become a financial drain to fix. While the company managed to rectify the problem with a better engine, it was already too late; oversaturation of the market and the poor sales of this specific model would ensure Facel Vega would close its doors less than a decade after the brand's launch.
  • Maserati remains a prestigious brand known for its high power luxury cars, but in The '80s that prestige was threatened with the launch of the Biturbo, which was a downmarket vehicle that aimed for higher affordability among North American consumers. Going through several evolutions, it was sold as a coupe and later as a four-door sedan, but became notorious for its lack of speed and high repair costs. The car was seen as a radical departure from the Maserati brand, and its power and styling came under intense scrutiny from both critics and buyers alike. The Biturbo's unflattering reputation meant that Maserati would not see a return to the mainstream North American market until The New '10s when they finally staged a comeback.
  • Mazda's entire Wankel engine lineup became obsolete with the 70's oil crisis. While Wankel engine cars had been popular before the crisis due to their low production costs, the crisis made unusable as daily drivers due to their high oil consumption and emissions. Since most of Mazda's lineup was composed of Wankel engine cars at the time, the company very nearly went bankrupt, but was able to survive thanks to the few piston engine cars they still had in their lineup. After the crisis, Wankel engine would be excursively used in their RX lineup of sports cars until 2011, when Wankel engines weren't able to fulfill the tightened emissions regulations anymore. Mazda still is researching the engine though and is planning to use it in their hybrid cars in the future.
  • The 1930 Bentley 8 Litre was a mechanically competent car for the time but one that had a price tag of 1850 pounds. Like the Edsel and Hummer later it it hit the market at the wrong time as by 1930 The Great Depression hit Europe. Rolls-Royce bought out Bentley a year later and only 100 were built.

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  • The Louisville Stars were taken down by the permabanning of four players in 1877 for gambling. As the St. Louis Brown Stockings had just signed two of those players, they too fell in the aftermath of the second scandal in Major League Baseball history.
  • The Cleveland Spiders MLB team was one of the powerhouses in the 1890s, winning a Temple Cup in 1895. Before the 1899 season, its owners, brothers Frank and Stanley Robison, bought the St. Louis Brownsnote  and shipped many of its star players there (this practice is now illegal due to obvious conflict of interest). The Spiders were essentially left with a minor league club consisting of cast-offs and inexperienced players. The Spiders went 20-134 that year, which is the worst record in Major League Baseball history. As a testament to how bad the team was, their home games were so sparsely attended that they had to be converted to road games (the MLB forbids this now). When the National League contracted from twelve teams to eight at the end of the 1899 season, the Spiders were one of the victimsnote .
  • The "death penalty" is the harshest punishment that the NCAA can inflict on a college athletics team, banning a school from competing in a sport for at least one year. As the name suggests, not only does this literally kill the team for the period of time the ban is in effect, but it is often left gutted afterwards, forced into a long rebuilding period. It is because of this harshness that the NCAA has only handed it down five times in its history:
    • The University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team was banned from competing in the 1952–53 season after it was revealed that three players had been gambling on games during the '48–49 season. Further investigation revealed that ten players had received "impermissible financial aid" (i.e. they were being paid under the tablenote ), and that a number of them were ineligible to play. The NCAA went so far as to ban all of the school's other teams from postseason play in 1952–53, finding that university officials had willfully ignored what was happening and that the problems were much greater than one team.
    • The University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) Ragin' Cajuns basketball team was found guilty of more than 125 violations in 1973, most of them revolving around various perks given to players, including money, gas cards, clothing, being allowed to borrow coaches' and boosters' cars, and in the most egregious case, forging one player's high school transcript. Not only were the Ragin' Cajuns banned from the 1973-74 and '74-75 seasons, but their '72 and '73 tournament appearances were scrubbed from the books and the school was stripped of NCAA voting privileges for four years; some recommended kicking USL out of the NCAA altogether, but this didn't happen.
    • In 1986, the Southern Methodist University Mustangs football team was hit with what remains the harshest punishment ever inflicted by the NCAA. The team had already been put on three-year probation in 1985 for recruiting violations, the seventh time this had happened (and the fifth time since 1974), and the following year, it was discovered that the team was still paying players through a slush fund set up by a booster. The NCAA canceled the Mustangs' 1987 season and all of its 1988 home gamesnote , banned it from bowl games and television until 1989, forced it to cut its assistant coaching staff from nine people to five, barred it from off-campus recruiting until 1988, and cut 55 scholarship positions from SMU over the next four years. The Mustangs' once-storied football program took over twenty years just to become halfway-decent again (they had only one winning season between 1987 and 2007, wouldn't make another bowl game until 2009, and didn't make the weekly rankings again until 2019), and the entire Southwest Conference (a former powerhouse that had already been tarnished by other scandals) was left devastated by the collapse of one of its biggest teams, eventually folding in 1996. The crippling effects the death penalty had on both SMU and the Southwest Conference are the reason why the NCAA has since become very reluctant to hand out such stiff punishments. To this day, the rampant infractions committed by SMU football are considered the baseline for what is deserving of the death penalty. It is for this reason why the NCAA didn't issue the death penalty to Baylor University's men's basketball team in 2005, despite violations just as bad as SMU football, because Baylor, unlike SMU, at least took swift action to crack down on it.
    • In 2003, the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers soccer team was banned from play until 2006 when they were caught having signed two Nigerian-born players who were clearly ineligible to play, given that they had played professionally for a minor-league team in the past and had obvious red flags in their applications. On top of that, the two also played in games for Morehouse before they were actually enrolled. Morehouse actually canceled the soccer team's season itself after it found out (and has since stuck to intramural play), but the NCAA extended the school's self-imposed death penalty by two years due to how serious the infractions were.
    • The MacMurray College Highlanders tennis program was shut down for the 2005–06 and '06–07 seasons, with a ban on postseason play running through 2009, after a part-time coach and his father arranged for $126,000 worth of grants for ten players from foreign countries. MacMurray is a Division III school, which are not allowed to grant athletic scholarships; the fact that the head of the athletic department outright criticized that rule during the hearings on the matter was a factor in why the NCAA cracked down so hard. The MacMurray tennis program has remained shut down since.
  • In addition to the above, five schools (four of them in Division I or its predecessors) have voluntarily shut down one or more athletic programs as a direct result of NCAA violations, possible criminal activity, or both:
    • In 1951, a massive college basketball point shaving scandal was uncovered.note  It initially focused on CCNY,note  which had won both the NCAA and NIT in 1950.note  The probe soon spread to ensnare players at six other schools, with the aforementioned Kentucky program being one of them. The scandal proved to be a real killer for another New York City program—LIU.note  After six players were caught up in the scandal, LIU shuttered its basketball program, didn't reinstate it until 1957, and didn't return to what's now Division I until the late 1960s. CCNY itself didn't shutter its program, but it quickly deemphasized sports, and is now a Division III member.
    • University of San Francisco president John Lo Schiavo shut down the school's prominent Dons men's basketball program in 1982. This followed a decade in which the USF program had been on NCAA probation twice, and Lo Schiavo made it known that he would shut down the program if there were any further NCAA violations. The situation came to a head in 1981, when All-American Quintin Dailey was found guilty of assaulting a female student. He also admitted to being paid for a no-show job by a prominent USF booster and receiving thousands in cash from another booster. The investigation also revealed that boosters were paying many other players, and players were receiving special academic treatment (inflated grades and "tutors" doing their course work for them). True to his word, Lo Schiavo shut down the program in June 1982. The basketball team was reinstated in 1985, but not until the rogue booster club was disbanded and replaced by a club under athletic department control, and academic standards for all incoming athletes (not just in basketball) were significantly increased.
    • The next such program shutdown came in April 1985, when Tulane University president Eamon Kelly shut down the Green Wave men's basketball program. Five players, including star John "Hot Rod" Williams, were accused of being involved in a point-shaving scheme. Williams was tried, but the judge declared a mistrial and charges were dropped. In the meantime, an independent investigation launched by Tulane found that the head coach and two assistants had been paying players. Some Tulane faculty wanted to shut down the entire athletic department, but they were satisfied with Kelly shuttering men's basketball. Kelly initially vowed that the program would never return under his watch, but students convinced him to restart the program in 1989.
    • In May 2014, Fresno Pacific University, which was transitioning from the NAIA to NCAA Division II, discovered major NCAA violations in its Sunbirds men's and women's tennis programs. The school announced that both teams would be shut down for 2014–15. The NCAA responded by requiring that FPU spend an extra year of probationary membership before being accepted as a full Division II member, and FPU then announced that the tennis teams would remain shuttered for at least 2015–16. (FPU still hasn't brought back tennis.)
    • Finally, in April 2015, Western Kentucky University shut down its Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers men's and women's swimming and divingnote  programs. This came about after a former men's team member told police that other team members had assaulted him and forced him to drink alcohol even though he was underage at the time. WKU officials and local police found evidence of widespread drug use and sexually charged hazing going back at least three years. The head coach was aware of this activity and did nothing, even though it violated numerous university policies and several criminal statutes.
  • Several English football teams have gone bust over the years for various reasons:
    • Leeds City were ejected from the Football League and forcibly disbanded in 1919. Officially this was for paying illegal bonuses to several of their players during World War I, though rumour has it that the real underlying reason was that they bribed the chairmen of other clubs not to vote them out of the League in 1912 after their second bottom-four finish in three seasons (Gainsborough Trinity were voted out instead), and without being able to directly prove this, the FA just jumped on the next opportunity to destroy the club.
    • Accrington FC was a founder member of the Football League at its creation in 1888. Initially, the League was just one table, but it divided in two in 1892, and Accrington became one of the first teams to be relegated to the new Second Division. In a fit of pique, they decided to resign from the League entirely, and play in the local Lancashire league instead. They quickly realised their mistake and applied for re-election the next year but were rebuffed, and found that Lancashire League status could not sustain them. They folded in 1896, after losing a local cup match 12-0. Local rivals Stanley Road FC were then able to add "Accrington" to their name and become the much better-known Accrington Stanley. Now we move forward 60 years....
    • In the late 1950s, Accrington Stanley thought they could upgrade their stadium on the cheap by purchasing an existing stand from Aldershot. Not the football club Aldershot, mind, but the Aldershot military academy. By the time they transported the stand to Accrington and assembled it, the costs were nearly twice what it would have been to design and build a completely new stand, and to really twist the knife, it turned out that only a little over half the stand's seats were angled correctly to view the pitch, as it had been designed for watching military parades, not football matches. The club's finances never recovered from this blunder, and it resulted in them dropping out of the Football League in 1962, before going bust altogether four years later. "Accrington Stanley" subsequently became a catchphrase associated with defunct, long-forgotten sporting teams, until the reformed club got back into the Football League in 2006.
    • Speaking of Aldershot, that town's football club fell into financial trouble in the late 1980s, and by 1991 they were in such dire straits that they put their trust in Spencer Trethewy, a 19-year-old "property developer" to save them from extinction. Unsurprisingly, he accomplished nothing of the sort, and the club went bust in 1992. The reformed club, Aldershot Town would later get promoted back to the Football League in 2008... only to be relegated five years later and nearly go bust themselves.
    • 1992 also saw the demise of another football club, Maidstone. Three years earlier they won the Football Conference, but should really have been forced to decline promotion to the Football League due to not having an adequate stadium. However, they instead opted to move to playing their home games 40 miles away in Dartford. Most of their fans weren't willing to make the journey, resulting in them posting average crowd figures that barely exceeded a thousand, at a time when the average attendance for Division Four was around 2,000-4,000. Their finances soon collapsed, and they went out of business in August 1992. They could have been saved by resigning from the Football League, dropping back into the Conference and returning to their original stadium... if not for the fact that they sold said stadium (which was subsequently demolished and replaced by a supermarket) after their promotion-winning season, and the town council refused them permission to build a new one, even if they could have afforded it.
    • After a period of successes in the late 1990s, Darlington chairman George Reynolds decided to build a huge 25,000-seater stadium (which he modestly named after himself) for the club, opening the new stadium in 2003. The problem with this idea? Darlington were in the fourth tier of the League system, had average crowd figures that rarely exceeded 5,000, and had to compete with the three North-East giants of Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough for supporters. On top of that, by the time the stadium had actually opened, Darlington's fortunes had slumped and they were struggling to stay in the League, rather than making any serious attempts at promotion, and just to make things even worse, Reynolds was busted (and eventually jailed) for fraud less than a year after the new ground opened. The club managed to stay afloat for the rest of the 2000s, and even made a few promotion challenges, but the cost of running such an absurdly huge stadium soon overwhelmed them, leading to the club being relegated from the Football League in 2010, and then collapsing altogether two years after that. The supporters subsequently founded a new club, Darlington 1883, who sensibly opted to ground share with fellow non-League club Bishop Auckland.
  • Scottish football club Rangers F.C. filed for liquidation after the 2011-12 season and was relegated to the Scottish Football League's Third Division (fourth tier) for the start of the next season. They quickly recovered and were promoted back to the Scottish Premiership in time for the 2016-17 season.
  • Italian football club Juventus met this fate after the 2006 season. Despite winning the league, a match-fixing scandal stripped the team of its 2004-05 and 2005-06 titles, and Juventus was relegated to Serie B (the second division) and penalized 9 points for the next season. Despite losing many of its star players (like Zlatan Ibrahimović), Juve won the 2006-07 Serie B and returned to Serie A.
  • The biggest (and most tragic) example in Italy would have to be Parma (Also known as Parma AC (before 2004)/Parma FC (from 2004-2015)/Parma Calcio (Present)). Once a mere lower-tier provincial club, Parma AC rose from obscurity to fame thanks to the funding of local company Parmalat, which led to a golden period in which the club featured the likes of Hernan Crespo, Gianfranco Zola, Tomas Brolin, Faustino Asprilla, Dino Baggio, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, and Lilian Thuram, among others. The success didn't last, however, as Parmalat fell into bankruptcy after years of fraudulent activity and Parma AC itself went bust, re-founding itself as Parma FC and subsequently plummeting down the Serie A table. The club remained stuck in administration until Parma-based engineer Tommaso Ghirardi bought the team and financed it well enough to bring it out of administration and back into relevancy (but not without a small spell in the second tier), with the team qualifying for the Europa League in 2014 under the tutelage of Roberto Donadoni. Unfortunately, the success in 2014 brought to light the financial troubles of Ghirardi and Parma FC, as the team was disallowed from participating in the Europa League due to unpaid wages and taxes. This led to a series of ownership changes (one of which involved a broke fraudster who claimed to be a businessman on Ebay) that culminated in an even worse bankruptcy than the first, which led to the club re-founding as Parma Calcio and having to start over from the fourth tier of Italian football. The future's looking up for Parma, though, as the club managed to return to the Serie A (after a record three back-to-back promotions) thanks to two (competent and legitimate) ownership groups, one of which (the majority owner) is led by a Chinese businessman and the other being led by the CEOs of Barilla and Dallara.
  • Much like Parma, Italian giants Napoli, Fiorentina, and Torino fell into financial oblivion in the early 2000's. Those bankruptcies led to a series of anti-debt reforms in the Italian Football Federation.
    • Napoli (the former club of Diego Maradona) fell into bankruptcy in the early 2000's thanks to massive debts. The once-great club had to re-start from the third tier, but they eventually made it back to the top flight after three years of obscurity.
    • Fiorentina went from boasting the likes of Stefan Effenberg and Gabriel "Batigol" Batistuta to having to re-form in the Fourth tier thanks to mounting debts. Thankfully, they followed the lead of Napoli and re-established themselves in the top tier.
    • Torino was once Italy's pride in the mid-1940's, but they went through a period of decline and relegation throughout the late 90's and early 2000's which led to the club going bankrupt after remaining in the second tier in 2005. Unlike Napoli and Fiorentina, though, they managed to avoid having to re-start in the lower divisions, and secured enough funding to remain in the second tier and have yet another go at promotion (which they finally achieved in 2007 (only to get relegated after one season), and again in 2012)

  • The Tennessee Volunteers football team has had a history of them:
    • Johnny Majors was bought out after losing to Arkansas, Alabama, and South Carolina in three straight games in October 1992. He actually resigned before the Vols were to play in that year's bowl game, though he did complete the regular season.
    • Phillip Fulmer survived one losing season in 2005, but another trio of consecutive losses late in 2008, capped off by a homecoming loss against Wyoming, convinced him to step down as head coach that year, but not before winning the last game of the season, the 2008 Battle of the Barrel, against Kentucky. During the run-up to Fulmer's firing/resignation, associate athletic director John Currie pushed extremely hard for Fulmer's removal. Keep that name in mind...
    • Derek Dooley was fired after three seasons, each a losing season, as head coach, the last straw being a Curb-Stomp Battle at the hands of their rivals at Vanderbilt, 18-41. Unlike the above two coaches, Dooley didn't even make it to the end of the regular season. It didn't help that the loss against Vandy was another homecoming game.
    • Butch Jones lost his job to the Missouri Tigers like the Vols lost their game, and like Dooley in 2012, he was fully replaced before the 2017 season was out. The Vols ended up 4–8 overall and, for the first time ever, winless in Southeastern Conference play.
    • And then came their search for a new coach after that season. They finally did hire Jeremy Pruitt as the new coach in December, but only after the following (more complete rundown here):
      • An unsigned memorandum of understanding reached with one candidate that was withdrawn due to a fan revolt.
      • At least seven other candidates approached or interviewed, with at least two receiving formal offers. The offers were either rejected...
      • ...or, allegedly in one case, sabotaged behind the scenes by Fulmer...
      • ...who, according to some media outlets (including ESPN), apparently still held a grudge against the aforementioned John Currie, who by now had become the AD, for his 2008 removal.
      • And not only was Currie ousted as AD, Fulmer was hired to replace him. The fandom was already pretty much universally against Currie for his incompetence; if anything, any influence Fulmer might have had in the coach search simply hastened Currie's firing.
      • No wonder that countless message boards and even some media outlets were using "dumpster fire" to describe the atmosphere around UT football. And all the while, Lane Kiffin, who succeeded Fulmer as head coach but only lasted a season in Knoxville, was mercilessly trolling his former employer on his Twitter account. Including this epic.
  • George Seifert, winner of five combined Super Bowls as a coach for the San Francisco 49ers note , went to Carolina in 1999 after the Panthers fired Dom Capers. While he did go 8-8 and 7-9 in his first two years, it was 2001 that did him in. That year, the Panthers went 1-15, losing 15 straight. He has not been in a head coaching position since. To add insult to injury, that 2001 season may keep Seifert out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Another possible reason was because Seifert only succeeded with predecessor Bill Walsh's players and coaching staff.
    • The same thing also applies to former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders head coach Tom Flores; although he coached the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories, Flores' record with the Seattle Seahawks from 1992-1994 were an abysmal 14-34.
  • Show-cause penalties are to NCAA coaches as death penalties are to NCAA teams; however, this is handed down more often. Many who have been hit with a show-cause penalty haven't had a coaching job since; the few exceptions are Todd Bozeman (who spent 13 seasons as head coach for the Morgan State Bears until being fired in 2019 after a few poor seasons, and one of the few D-I men's basketball head coaches to receive another NCAA head coaching job after a show-cause), Kelvin Sampson (who became an NBA assistant, first for the Milwaukee Bucks and then the Houston Rockets, before his show-cause expired and he came back to college coaching with the Houston Cougars), Rob Senderoff (who remained at Kent State throughout the show-cause and is the first person to become a head coach during his show-cause penalty), Bruce Pearl (currently the head coach for the Auburn Tigers, having received that job shortly before his show-cause expired), Brad Greenberg (who went international as an assistant coach for the Venezuela national team), and Chip Kelly (who went to the NFL as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and then with the San Francisco 49ers, and still later returned to college coaching as head coach at UCLA). On a side note, Sampson and another former NCAA basketball coach under a show-cause penalty, Dave Bliss, competed against each other in the Oklahoma Alumni Legends Game which was held on August 27, 2011. The game was decided via sudden death overtime.
  • Rich Kotite had risen through the ranks of NFL assistants through the 1980s and eventually got a head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1991. He did OK for a while, but after the 7-9 1994 season, after losing seven straight games to end the season, then-new owner Norman Braman wanted to put his stamp on the team, so Kotite was let go. His friend Leon Hess, owner of the New York Jets, decided to let rookie coach Pete Carroll go after a 6-10 season that had come out so poorly when the Jets blew their last several games after the infamous Miami Dolphins' "Clock Play" so he could give Kotite the job. The New York press immediately questioned the wisdom of this hire, and they were borne out when Kotite went 4-28 across two seasons, the worst record for an NFL coach in that stretch of games ever (since surpassed by Hue Jackson, who went 1-31 in the same stretch). Kotite resigned a few days before the final game of the 1996 season and hasn't had a coaching job at any level since then.
  • "The Miracle at the Meadowlands", the infamous 1978 play where the New York Giants fumbled away a game against the Eagles that they had effectively won in the last seconds, ended a couple of careers. Bob Gibson, the Giants' offensive coordinator who had called the snakebitten play, was fired the next day and never worked in football again. Head coach John McVay's contract was not renewed at the end of the season; he never coached again although he was able to enjoy some success in the San Francisco 49ers' front office. Andy Robustelli, the closest thing the Giants had to a general manager at that time, was also fired and never worked in football again.
  • Penn State University's Joe Paterno was noted as the winningest coach in college football history and was well respected until the infamous Jerry Sandusky child molestation charges in 2011, which also implicated him in a cover-up of these activities. Sandusky was arrested and later convicted on the charges, and Paterno's career, legacy, respect, and eventually life came to a screeching end in the last months of 2011 (He was terminated from Penn State on November 9, and died two-and-a-half months later; the NCAA also vacated all of his wins from 1998 onwards, though they were reinstated three years later).
  • Ray Handley was a top assistant for New York Giants coach Bill Parcells, having won two Super Bowls with a team that featured Phil Simms at quarterback, and a fearsome linebacker corps led by Lawrence Taylor. He was the proverbial "good cop" to Parcells' "bad cop", and many saw him as a calming departure from the high-strung Parcells when the latter temporarily retired from coaching after the 1990 season. But Handley immediately shot himself in the foot by promoting journeyman Jeff Hostetler to the starting QB role, due to Simms' age and recent injury history. With Hostetler as the starter, the Giants went 8-8 in 1991, and they followed that up with a 6-10 season in 1992. By then, Handley was anything but Mr. Nice Guy, sparring verbally with media and players alike. He was fired after that disastrous two-season run and hasn't been involved with the NFL since. He's also refused to speak to media about anything NFL-related, suggesting that his experience as a head coach may have indeed made him a very bitter man with regards to pro football.
  • Canadian hockey player Dick Irvin's coaching career was abruptly halted by the Richard Riot on St. Patrick's Day, 1955. He left the Montreal Canadiens afterward and went on to coach the Chicago Blackhawks for the 1955 season, which was his first team as a head coach way back in 1930. He was scheduled to coach the team again for the next season, but his worsening bone cancer forced him to retire; he died a few months later.
  • Jim Tressel began his tenure as head coach of as the Ohio State University Buckeyes football team in 2001 after coaching the Youngstown State Penguins from 1986 to 2000. He would lead the Buckeyes to six Big Ten Conference championships as well as three BCS National Championship Games. However, his tenure ended abruptly in 2011 when the NCAA investigated improper benefits violations involving some of the Ohio State football players during the previous season, and they accused Tressel of lying and withholding information. After Tressel resigned in May of that year, Ohio State self-vacated their wins from the 2010 season, and the NCAA placed the Buckeyes on a three-year probation and imposed a five-year show-cause penalty on Tressel. Tressel eventually became the President of Youngstown State and announced his retirement as a coach three years later; to this day, he still maintains an academic career. That didn't stop Ohio State from inducting him into the College Football Hall of Fame, however.
  • Mike Ditka's storied NFL coaching career came to an ignominious end after the 1999 season. His team, the New Orleans Saints, were desperate to improve their fortunes after missing the playoffs for six straight seasons, so Ditka went all-in on Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams from the University of Texas, trading away all of the Saints' draft picks for that year, and two for the 2000 draft, to the Washington Redskins to move up for a better chance to land him. Williams' rookie season was tainted by injuries and on- and off-the-field incidents that prevented him from reaching the 1,000-yard rushing mark. He would show flashes of his potential the following two seasons, but the Williams trade was seen as one of the strangest moments in a draft that saw five quarterbacks picked in the first round, three of whom were considered busts, and only one (the Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan McNabb) reaching a Super Bowl. The Saints finishing with a pathetic 3-13 record (also not helped by the team playing four different quarterbacks, none of whom finished the season with QB ratings above 70, or had more touchdowns than interceptions) was enough for the team to send Ditka and his entire coaching staff packing at season's end. Ditka hasn't coached a game since.

    Owners and Management 
  • Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's career ended abruptly in late April 2014 when recordings of him making extremely racist comments were released. In the wake of player protests (including reports that the entire Clippers team, along with their opponents the Golden State Warriors, would walk off the court of the next NBA playoff game if Sterling was not harshly punished) and sponsors bailing out on the team, the NBA stripped him of his title, banned him from the league for life and fined him $2.5 million for his troubles. Oddly, this was met with a generally good response from fans of the Clippers; Donald Sterling was (and is) often viewed as one of the worst team owners in the NBA.
    • The Sterling affair led to Bruce Levenson voluntarily (cough, cough) selling his controlling stake in the Atlanta Hawks soon after. An internal investigation into racial comments made by a scout regarding potential free-agent acquisition Luol Deng led to the discovery of emails in which Levenson made his own racial comments, most notably expressing concern that white fans might be scared away by black fans. Seeing the writing on the wall, he sold out, and his often-squabbling partners quickly followed suit.
  • Bill Polian was one of the most successful general managers in the NFL, having the built the following: the 90s Buffalo Bills teams that went to, and lost, four straight Super Bowls, one of the expansion teams, the Carolina Panthers, who went to the NFC Championship in their second year, and the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts. In the 2011 season, with Manning sidelined for the rest of the season due to him undergoing neck surgery, the Colts fell to 2-14, and Polian was fired along with his son, Chris (who was the Colts GM at the time) at the end of the season. However, he still maintains a steady NFL career as an analyst for ESPN since joining in 2012.
  • Bobby Beathard was a former NFL general manager whose career seemingly had everything he touched turn to gold; with the Miami Dolphins winning consecutive Super Bowls after Beathard was hired as director of player personnelnote , followed by building the Washington Redskins into a team that would win 2 of the 3 Super Bowls the team appeared in during The '80s (with their last Super Bowl team in 1991 still having most of the players Beathard had brought in) and finally assembling the San Diego Chargers team that made its only Super Bowl appearance after the 1994 season. However, his career was infamously ruined with the drafting of quarterback Ryan Leaf with the #2 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Leaf proved to be a colossal bust; dragging Beathard down with him, as by the time he retired in 2000 his professional reputation was seriously damaged. This final season kept him out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for 18 years; when someone with his record would usually get in few years after retirement.

  • Bobby Unser's racing career came to an end shortly after the controversial Indy 500 where he was temporarily stripped of his win over an incident involving a caution flag. His retirement has been blamed on the negative commercial impact that followed the incident.

  • In 2001, Fox Sports hired Ken Squier to do some studio work for their inaugural NASCAR telecast, the Daytona 500 (an event that Squier did lap-by-lap commentary from 1979-1997 on CBS). As many NASCAR fans know, this was the race in which Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) died in a crash on the final lap. Nobody knew it at the time, of course, but the longer we didn't hear anything the longer we wondered. Finally, we saw a shot of an ambulance racing to the hospital in the closing moments of the broadcast. And at that moment, that very moment, is when Fox turned to Ken Squier to read a poem about what he had just seen (which had been, up to that point, the story of perpetual bridesmaid driver Michael Waltrip finally winning a race on the sport's grandest stage). So Squier was trying to put the race into some sort of eloquence - all the while we're ignoring him and wondering about this ambulance speeding down the highway we're seeing, but not hearing anything about. Squier at this particular point didn't know Earnhardt had died. And yet Fox's production truck was making the "Dean of NASCAR announcers" look like a fool at the end of their broadcast. It would be the last time that Squier would work on an over-the-air network broadcast until 2015 when he was brought back as part of the throwback weekend at Darlington.
  • Following his retirement from baseball, Steve Lyons became an analyst (first in the studio and later on game coverage) for Fox beginning in 1996. Lyons' network broadcasting career came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the 2006 American League Championship Series. While broadcasting Game 3 alongside Thom Brennaman and Lou Piniella, Piniella, who is of Spanish descent, used an analogy about finding a wallet, and then spoke briefly in Spanish. Lyons said Piniella was "hablaing Español" – Spanglish for "speaking Spanish" – and added, "I still can't find my wallet. I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit close to him now." After the game was over, Fox fired Lyons and replaced him with José Mota for the fourth and ultimately decisive game in the 2006 ALCS. Lyons had already been getting in hot water for ethnically insensitive comments. For instance, in 2004, Lyons maligned Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green, who is Jewish, for sitting out a game on Yom Kippur, saying: "He’s not even a practicing Jew. He didn’t marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate, because he doesn’t get the money." Lyons was suspended briefly without pay after his remarks, and the network apologized for Lyons' comments, although Lyons never made an on-air apology.
  • Former Baltimore Colts and Atlanta Falcons running back Alex Hawkins' broadcasting career ended abruptly after the 1977 NFC Championship Game between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. At one point during the game, Hawkins said that the Cowboys' quarterback, Roger Staubach, "ran like a sissy". This caused his broadcast colleague, Vin Scully to retort that he must have not worn his helmet when he played. CBS fired Hawkins shortly after this broadcast. It would be the last time Hawkins would work as a sportscaster before his death in 2017.
  • In 1990, CBS hired Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck to be the lead play-by-play mannote  for their newly acquired Major League Baseball television package. Buck had already been familiar to a nationwide audience due to his annual stint as CBS Radio's World Series play-by-play announcer during the '80s. But somehow and someway, Buck couldn't exactly translate his radio success to the medium of television. During CBS' broadcast of Game 4 of the 1990 National League Championship Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, Buck reacted to Bobby Vinton's off-key rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by saying "Well if you're Polish and you live in Pittsburgh you can do whatever you want with the words!" Naturally, Buck's choice of words soon offended the Polish community (which Pittsburgh has a sizable population of), and got him in hot water with with executive producer Ted Shaker. Buck also started receiving a number of death threats. Buck would also face criticism over what was perceived to be a habit of trying to predict plays and never developing a good on-air relationship and sense of chemistry with his analyst Tim McCarver. Apparently, CBS expected Buck to make himself appear to be a set-up man for McCarver instead of himself being the dominating on-air presence. The general feeling ultimately, was that Jack Buck was more comfortable being on radio, which was decidedly less constricting than on television. After calling the 1991 World Series, CBS dismissed Buck from his duties and replaced him with Boston Red Sox announcer Sean McDonough as their new lead play-by-play man for the final two years of their baseball contract. Although Buck would continue working for CBS Radionote  and the St. Louis Cardinals, he would never land another major network television assignment for the remainder of his life.
  • On October 14, 2006, former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Lamar Thomas was commentating on a football game between his alma mater, the University of Miami, and their bitter rivals, Florida International University, for Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS). During a violent bench-clearing brawl during the third quarter, Thomas defended the actions of the Miami players and expressed a desire to actually join the brawl: "I was about to go down the elevator to get in that thing... I say, why don't we meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more?"note  Not surprisingly, Thomas was fired by CSS two days later.

  • The Philippines' Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) launched in 1998 as a competitor to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as the country's second pro basketball league. For fans of uptempo basketball at a time when 80 points was considered high-scoring in the PBA, the MBA was a godsend, as it promoted a faster brand of basketball. Furthermore, the idea of a regional league (as opposed to companies fielding their own branded teams, e.g. San Miguel Beer, Talk 'n' Text, etc.) drew lots of interest from fans. But in the MBA's desire to topple the PBA as the Philippines' top basketball league, it made several key missteps and encountered a few major problems, including the following:
    • For starters, the MBA didn't have a rookie draft, didn't need a rookie draft, and didn't want a rookie draft. The idea was to give teams free reign to sign whomever they wanted, and rookies to sign wherever they wanted. Those rookies included a plethora of so-called "Fil-Shams", or foreign players purporting to have Filipino blood when they didn't have a drop of it after all. So while the no-draft system had its merits in theory, it also led to the league having integrity problems due to the high number of Fil-Shams with dubious credentials. (Not that the PBA didn't have this problem as well, albeit to a lesser degree.)
    • Many MBA players had once played for the PBA, and saw the new league as a chance to prove their worth as promising youngsters, or rejuvenate their careers as grizzled vets. However, it was also quite common for top talent to eventually pooh-pooh the MBA as bush league, and join or return to the PBA after just one season. For veterans like Ato Agustin and younger stars like Dondon Hontiveros and Gherome Ejercito, one-and-done was the name of the MBA game.
    • It can be argued that the MBA overestimated the sustained demand for a regional league. It did pique interest at first, but over time, the unusual nature of the Filipino basketball fan took precedence — they were simply more used to rooting for brands, rather than cities. In the league's last two seasons, some MBA teams did have corporate branding (e.g. LBC-Batangas Blades, FedEx-Laguna Lakers, Andok's-San Juan Knights) to match their owners' main businesses, but it may have been too little, too late.
    • In the end it all boiled down to money, or lack thereof. It was simply too expensive to run a regional league in the Philippines, and when television giant ABS-CBN withdrew its funding for the MBA, that was the final nail in its coffin, as it went out with a whimper in the middle of the 2002 season.
  • The United States Football League was a short-lived competitor to the National Football League that played three seasons from 1983 to 1985. Initially, it produced a ton of media hype about creating a credible rival to the NFL, most notably when 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker signed to the USFL's New Jersey Generals in 1983 instead of an NFL team.
    • However, this wound up foreshadowing its downfall, as its efforts to snatch up marquee college talent and NFL stars looking for larger paychecks wound up pushing many teams into the red at a time when they still needed to find their footing. Rapid expansion also strained the league's finances, with the USFL approving six expansion teams for the 1984 season in order to collect on expansion fees, with little consideration for whether all of these cities could actually support a pro football team. The original "Dixon plan" for slower, managed expansion, including tight salary caps and a territorial draft, became more of a polite suggestion than anything.
    • The real killer, though, was the decision in late 1984 to start playing in the fall beginning in 1986, a move pushed by Chicago Blitz owner Eddie Einhorn and New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump. Einhorn and Trump knew that playing in the fall would probably kill the league, as it would put them into direct competition against the NFL (they had played the 1983 and '84 seasons in the spring in order to avoid that competition); their hope, in fact, was for a merger with the NFL, in which some of the more successful teams would survive and see their value skyrocket. The problem was, many USFL teams were playing in markets like Pittsburgh, Denver, and Houston that already had successful and storied NFL teams, and fans who might've followed the USFL when they played in the NFL's off-season weren't inclined to abandon their "main" teams in order to do so. In addition, the Generals' home schedule would've been impacted, as they played at Giants Stadium, and would've had to schedule around both the Giants and Jets.
    • The final nail in the coffin was an antitrust lawsuit that the USFL filed against the NFL in 1986, alleging that they had conspired with the major TV networks to deny them broadcast rights and protect their monopoly on football. The lawsuit ended in a Pyrrhic Victory that saw the jury declare the NFL to be a monopoly, but also declared that the USFL's problems came down less to the NFL's predatory tactics and more to their own mismanagement leaving them unable to compete; as such, the USFL was awarded a judgment of only three dollarsnote . The USFL had been banking on a huge payout from the lawsuit to keep the league financially solvent, and without it, they suspended their upcoming 1986 fall season. The seven remaining USFL teams voted to disband soon after.
  • In 1890, the Players' League attempted to rival the National League as organized baseball's top league. It was set up mostly by top players who formed their own union, Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players, many of which defected from the NL. Despite good attendance, the league folded after one season. The teams' owners were not confident enough to invest in the league to continue beyond its maiden year.
  • Then in 1914, a third league was established to compete against the National League and the American League: the Federal League. It was designed to attract players willing to escape the reverse clause the other two leagues enforced. Unfortunately, the Federal League proved to be too aggressive for its own good. It sued both the American and National Leagues, citing breach of antitrust laws only to have the case languish in court. Skyrocketing legal fees forced the Federal League closer to bankruptcy, and it folded after the 1915 season. Afterward, owners of clubs from the other two leagues bought out most of its teams.
  • Elite Xtreme Combat, a very short-lived MMA fighting league, was infamous for how it collapsed. Founded in 2006, the following year the company put all its eggs into the basket of Kimbo Slice, a YouTube phenomenon street brawler turned MMA fan favorite. On October 4, 2008, Slice was put up against Seth Petruzelli, a little-known, last-minute replacement for legendary brawler Ken Shamrock, who had to bow out due to a head injury during practice earlier that day. The unknown Petruzelli manhandled EliteXC's star fighter in fourteen seconds. Worse, two days later, Petruzelli gave an interview with an Orlando radio show saying that EliteXC had offered him money to basically throw the fight (specifically, to keep the fight standing up instead of wrestling him to the ground, thus playing to Slice's strengths as a brawler) in order to protect Slice's reputation. The company never recovered from the PR nightmare of the match, especially once the Florida State Athletic Commission started investigating Petruzelli's comments (which he later retracted, but by then the damage was done), and it folded on October 20, just sixteen days later.
  • Vince McMahon has had two attempts at American football with the XFL. Neither of which lasted more than a year:

    • The XFL was first launched as a joint venture between the WWF and NBC (who along with UPN and TNN ( now Paramount Network)). It was created to compete with the NFL and fill the void left during the spring. The league was notable for drawing a lot of influence from the Kayfabe of the WWF (including trash-talking announcers and scantily-clad cheerleaders), with its flashy style (such as nicknames on players' jerseys and teamnames with Xtreme Kool Letterz as well as its rougher play ( most notably having players scramble for the ball in lieu of a coin toss). While its first week pulled in ratings double of what advertisers were promised, audiences were turned off by the poor quality of play. The WWF's involvement led to some journalists accusing the league of rigging its games. Ratings would gradually decline throughout the season, resulting in the WWF and NBC recording a $35 million dollar loss each. This, combined with NBC acquiring the broadcasting rights for the 2002 Winter Olympics, led to them opting not to renew their contract for a second season. McMahon initially announced plans for a 2002 season. However, UPN demanded that WWF Smackdown! would be reduced from two hours to one. McMahon refused and ultimately shuttered the league on May 24.

    • Despite everyone, including McMahon, considering it a failure, McMahon still hoped to revive the XFL. In December 2017, it was reported he was establishing a new company called Alpha Entertainment to "explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football." A revival was confirmed in January 2018, with a launch date of 2020. This time, the league would stick to traditional gridiron football, with a few differences (more on-field officials, shorter games, PAT conversions). In addition, the league partnered with fantasy sports betting site DraftKings to incorporate legalized sports betting as part of the league. Unfortunately, despite good reviews and a decent-sized viewer base, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic and many states enforcing social distancing measures led to the season being cut short. Despite this, the league still hoped to return in 2021. However, on April 10, the league announced they would be suspending operations and that all employees would be layed off. Three days later, the league filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the league was put up for sale. Time will tell whether or not the league will return in the future.


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