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A (sad) tale of six cities
Cities with at least three teams
Last champion: 1964 Browns
Last championship game/series appearance: 1997 Indians
Misery: 7 (out of 10) The Indians (from the late '50s until the early '90s), Cavs (remember Ted Stepien?) and the Browns (since their "return") have all had awful stretches. Still, each has been a contender for several years at a time at some point over the past two decades.
Heartbreak: 9 The Browns especially have tortured Clevelanders, falling in AFC Championship Games on The Drive and The Fumble before skipping out of town altogether. The Indians lost in extra innings of Game 7 of the '97 Series against the Johnny-come-lately Marlins, while the '90s Cavs couldn't beat Jordan and the Bulls.
Last champion: 1982-83 Sixers
Last championship game/series appearance: 2004 Eagles
Misery: 6 The city's teams have been mostly competitive, especially the Andy Reid Eagles, with the Phillies most often bringing up the rear. Still, the city has been able to cheer for (and occasionally boo) such stars as Allen Iverson, Eric Lindros, Mike Schmidt and now Ryan Howard.
Heartbreak: 9 Philly's teams have certainly had their chances; all four franchises have reached their championship game or finals round within the past 15 years. Of course, that's a bit like putting a steak in front of a starving man and then ripping it away just before his fork makes contact. No wonder this is such an ill-tempered sports city.
Last champion: 1978-79 SuperSonics
Last championship game/series appearance: 2005 Seahawks
Misery: 6 While the Mariners and Seahawks in particular had long woeful stretches, each has also put together some nice runs within the past decade.
Heartbreak: 6 Seattleites would probably feel worse if they weren't so hopped up on caffeine.
Cities with two or fewer teams
Last champion: 1965 Bills (AFL)
Last championship game/series appearance: 1998-'99 Sabres
Misery: 5 The Bills and Sabres have been competitive more often than not over the past two decades.
Heartbreak: 10 Where to start with the Bills? They are the only team to reach four straight Super Bowls but couldn't bring home a single title, starting with Scott Norwood's Wide Right in 1991. The Sabres lost the '99 Stanley Cup Finals on a disputed Brett Hull goal in Game 6.
Last champion: 1985 Royals
Last championship game/series appearance: 1985 Royals
Misery: 8 The Royals have been mostly atrocious for over a decade now, with 2003's 83-79 mark the only season above .500 since '94. The Chiefs have often been in the mix and are perennially tough to beat at home, but they haven't gone as far as the AFC title game since the '93 season.
Heartbreak: 6 While the Chiefs do raise and then dash hopes from time to time, Royals fans must just be numb by now.
3. San Diego
Last champion: 1963 Chargers (AFL)
Last championship game/series appearance: 1998 Padres
Misery: 6 Though the Clippers didn't do much to lift the city's spirits during their brief stint in America's Finest City, the Chargers have been rolling for a few years now and the Padres have made the playoffs the past two years.
Heartbreak: 6 The Chargers in particular have failed to deliver on their immense promise recently, leading them to cut loose coach Marty Schottenheimer. And not to point fingers, but Schottenheimer also figures into the heartbreak count for Cleveland and Kansas City. OK, that is pointing fingers, but justifiably so.
What do you guys think? Is the order askew? Any cities we're missing? Make your case.
posted by SI.com | View comments |
The Bills did win an AFL championship so I would changethe never (it was pre-merger)
Cleveland has even more anguish than you give them credit for. Not only did the original Browns skip town, but they then delivered a Super Bowl crown to Baltimore shortly thereafter.
How about New Orlean? They've lost the Jazz, had to take the Hornets (though they might manage to get rid of them), and been stuck with the Aints. Forget the suffering of Katrina, the Aints by themselves should be charged with inflicting cruel and unusual punishment!
one could make the arguement that new orleans should be on the list, aside from the saints improbable season last year they have never done anything worth of recognition and the hornets, given they are a newly acquired team, arent contenders to say the least
heh, I was going to point out the oversight about the Bills AFL championship (1964 and 1965) but it looks like someone already beat me to it.
You can make an argument that it doesn't count... but actually, I think it's *more* depressing to think that the only pro sports championship ever won in upstate New York was pre-merger AFL. :sigh: Misery and heartbreak, heartbreak and misery.
THE PADRES LOST TO THE YANKEES IN THE 1998 WORLD SERIES SO THAT WOULD BE THE LAST CHIPPER THE CITY WAS IN (NOT THE 1994 CHARGERS)
San Diego's most recent appearance was the '98 World Series
well for starters, the last San Diego championship appearance was not the 94 Chargers. The Padres appeared in the world series in 99, losing to the Yankees.
I've fixed the San Diego reference (to the city's last championship game/series appearance) and decided to add the Bills' AFL title.
As for New Orleans, I definitely considered them for the two-or-fewer-team list. The fact that they've mostly had just one team, though, counted against them. The Jazz and now the Hornets weren't (or haven't been) around enough to really register much on the misery or heartbreak scale. The Saints, of course, have arguably provided enough heartbreak/misery on their own. I would say that if there was a No. 4, it would be New Orleans.
Washington - The Redskins have been woeful since Gibbs left in the 90's, an aimless franchise with a restless owner with a ridiculously large checkbook. Fans get excited when he signs someone for big bucks (Dion, Bruce Smith) and so are doubly disappointed when they fail.
The Bullets/Wizards spend 2 decades out of the playoffs, and while they've reached them the past 3 seasons, getting to the playoffs is not cause for a parade.
As for the Caps, they had a magical run in '98, but since the Jaromir Jagr disaster, they've been run on a bare bones budget and have finished last 3 years running.
The Nats, while new, came here with a farm system decimated by MLB, who wanted to kill the team, and had the payroll slashed this year AFTER they were bought by a billionaire.
The last of these teams to win a championship was the Skins in '91 while the Caps lost in the finals in '98. The only team that has won anything has been DC United - and the MLS is not one of the big 4.
Milwaukee, WI is a pretty miserable city when it comes to the big 4 sports not much heartbreak though.
Is there a seperate scale for futility?
Surely Lions fans deserve some sort of recogntion for Mr Ford's inability to figure out how to spell winner.
The biggest omission is Oakland. Last champion was the 89 A's and the last championship game was the 03 Raiders. San Francisco teams do not count!!!
Should I say I was "disappointed" that Milwaukee wasn't included? The last championship team was the 1971 Bucks, and the last title series appearance was the 1982 Brewers. The Brewers haven't returned to the playoffs since then. The Bucks, despite tantalizing success in the mid-1980s and early this decade, could never get to the championship round. If the Brewers don't at least make the playoffs this season, the authorities might have to start sealing off bridges.
Cleveland defiantly deserves the number one spot. Cleveland is a sports town mainly because there is nothing else. If are teams were just bad that would be one thing. But there have been some great teams to pass through and to have no championships to show for is heart breakin. The way they lose has been legendary. How many times have we seen the commerical of Jordan opumping his fist over Elho. Or how how Elways great comeback against the browns. That is what makes is sickening we have to relive those images all the time.
Re: Milwaukee, I counted the Packers as a Milwaukee team for the purposes of this list. They are about 100 miles apart but, more importantly, I think most Milwaukee sports fans are Packers fans, to the extent that they root for an NFL team. Thus the '96 Packers Super Bowl knocked them out of eligibility.
My decision to include the Packers as part of the Milwaukee sports region, of course, can be debated.
As for Oakland, I was indeed counting the Bay Area as one sports region, not unlike New York/New Jersey. Don't the Warriors, for example, appeal to both Oakland and San Fran? But even if Oakland was judged on its own as a three-team city (Raiders, A's, Warriors), I wouldn't have put it above any of the current top three.
How about the Twin Cities. The Northstars left for Dallas in the early 90's. The Twins haven't made any noise in the playoffs despite featuring the cy young, MVP, and batting champ. The Vikings have had to endure the Randy Moss era(don't forget the 41-0 playoff loss to the Giants.) Finally of course, the KG led Timberwolves and their first round futility. On top of that, the constant failure to replace the metrodome with updated stadiums and you have a pretty miserable sports area.
What really makes it bad is in cleveland it seems at times all there is is sports. Yes there are other things to do but there are a lot of cold grey days.......
How about SLC? the Jazz have missed the playoffs 3 of the last 25 years and don't have a title. They were in the finals two years in a row ('98,'99) only to lose to the invincible Michael Jordan's Bulls.
What about Milwaukee? We haven't had a championship since 1971 when the Bucks won it all. And the Brewers are starting to make a case for them selves.
How about DC, other then the Skins' 3 Super Bowls way back when all the teams have been pretty bad. The Wiz were never good before Gilbert, the Caps stink and we just got baseball back and it's not that fun to watch.
Minneapolis, MN - don't forget them, The Twins were the last team to do anything in 1991. Also the Vikings chocking in 1998 NFC Championship and 2001 NFC Championship
What about Cincinnati? World Series '90 followed a 1980's that started dismally and ended with an annual 2nd place finish. As for the Reds since the mid-90's, don't ask.
Oh, then there's the Bengals. Shall I elaborate? No need, you're all smart people.
Washington has had its baseball team taken from it twice and it took over 30 years to get a baseball team back--and even then it was run down by MLB into a shell of a franchise. Last championship was in 1991 (Redskins) and most of the teams since have been mediocre to bad.
What about Charlotte? The panthers built a team of worn out veterans who went deep in the playoffs & then retired and management led the Panthers to many years of mediocrity. When picked to win it all last year, they fell apart. The hapless Bobcats led the league in sell outs for many years but never got anywhere except to New Orleans & then Katrina hit.
Cleveland sports have definitely been one heartbreak or disappointment after another, which are all well-documented, but those are just the well-known moments. Not talked about as much is the history of futility that adds so much to that heartbreak. When you go back through the history of the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers, you'll find so many moments where you won't know whether to laugh or cry.
The Cavs gave us Ted Stepien, who is responsible for the rule that prevents NBA teams from trading their No. 1 pick three years in a row because he always used to trade the Cavs pick for lousy players. Not to mention the time when he ran a promotion dropping softballs off the Terminal Tower that accidentally hit somebody. Most of the lousiest owners in sports history have nothing on Stepien.
The Browns may be the most cursed of the bunch as they have brought not only the most legendary playoff heartbreak but a history of bust draft picks and have found plenty of ways to lose regular season games in bizarre fashion (the Dwayne Rudd helmet toss season opener and losing a game to the Bears after leading 21-7 with 60 seconds left a few years ago).
As for the Indians, the list is too long... there's a whole book by Terry Pluto that goes back through the 30 years of head-shaking futility that they delivered. They've had some high quality teams the past 13 years but the futility in the time span before that is unparallelled. Plus, you have 10-cent Beer Night to boot -- the underpublicized poor man's version of Disco Demolition Night.
And in the case of the Browns and Indians, it all went down in a stadium that was the butt of a joke for the rest of the country.
Here's hoping we Cleveland fans soon get not just a championship but multiple championships that give us something to feel good about and help erase the past. And that goes for the other teams on the list too.
What about Portland?? We went from winning the NBA title in '77 to Walton breaking down, to picking Sam Bowie, to Rip City that couldn't win in 2 trips to the finals, to the Jail Blazers... All the while, the NFL and MLB snubbed us to put teams in places like Jacksonville and Washington D.C. (the Nationals, but maybe that's a good thing)
The Redskins are only good in the off-season...the baseball team we never wanted is competing with the Royals for punchline of the league...Then there's the Wizards...The last time they went anywhere, they were called the Bullets...plus we got the Capitals but thats hockey so it doesn't really count....
I love your work but how can you count Greenbay as Milwaukee? Chicago's only 90 miles away which makes it closer then GB which is about 120 miles. So just because a region cheers for one team that's relatively close means they're part of our city? I think Milwaukee should be 3 on the two team list, if only because the Royals are so bad it makes up for the Chiefs being ok.
I'm going to put in another vote for the Twin Cities of MN. Yes, we have 2 World Series victories in '87 and '91, but what else? The Vikings are perennial disappointments (but know how to throw a heck of a boat ride), the T'wolves used to make the playoffs before laying down, and unfortunately, our hockey team is still pretty young - because the old team was sent to Dallas to win the cup. Even college sports have set us up for disappointment - a Final Four appearance erased from the record books, perhaps?
Here's what sums up Cleveland sports better than anything.
The movie 'Major League' was written centering around the joke of a team the Indians were for 30 years when it came out(1958-2003 overall).
However, the ending of Major League is just getting the Indians to the playoffs (no championship).
They even made a sequel in which the Indians only get to the World Series.
Even when scripted a Hollywood ending, Cleveland cannot win a championship.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sure they won the World Series, twice, over a dozen years ago. But the current Blue Jay payroll is less than it was back in 1993. And Toronto, like most of Canada, is a hockey city. The team with the second most Stanley Cup victories hasn't won since 1967. The've made the final 4 a few times (4 I think) in the last 40 years, but never made it to the finals.
What about toronto...they have 3 major sports teams...and there last champion was the 1992 bluejays
I agree with your list for the most part, but I don't know how Toronto was left off your list...The last championship game for Toronto would go back all the way to the '92 World Series with the Jays, and before that?...Hmm lets see...the '67 Stanley Cup for the Leafs? Torontonians have been starved for a Stanley Cup for forty years now and have had to watch cities such as Carolina and Tampa Bay who don't even appreciate let alone watch the playoffs hoist our Holy Grail!!...Add the Raptors recent failures (aside from this year, thank God for Bryan Colangelo)and Toronto is by far the most championship starved city in North America......
You left out Salt Lake City. A capital city that can barely keep one professional team of the four major sports! The city had Stockton, Malone, and a string of 20 consecutive (yes 20) seasons making the playoffs, including 2 final's appearances. All this and no championship.
charlotte has to be up there somewhere. if only for the panthers. they haven't been bad. they've been heartbreaking. the super bowl loss and then the fact that half the players were steroid tainted. losing larry johnson and alonzo mourning in the early prime. they could have been a contender for years. now we're stuck with the bobcats. they're uniforms are ugly and the play is uninteresting. just a sad sports city
Re: Toronto, the Jays' back-to-back World Series titles in 92-93 will keep them from cracking a list like this for a while yet. That's not even 15 years ago. Come on, there are fans out there in real pain!
Minnesota has a decent case, but the Twins' titles ('91, '87) were practically yesterday compared to Cleveland, Philly and Seattle.
I did consider Cincinnati for two-team towns because the Reds and Bengals have generally been quite lousy for the last 15 years. In the end, though, the Reds' 1990 title was more recent than anything Buffalo, Kansas City and San Diego could muster.
Yes, the correct spelling, Ted, is "S-T-E-P-I-E-N." Or the alternate spelling we Clevelanders have always used, "C-L-U-E-L-E-S-S," remains acceptable.
Yes Cleveland has had heart break and we are without a doubt the most tortured city. But I for one am sick and tired of it and ready to shed this title. I don't know about anyone else, but I enjoy it when I don't have to stay up till two in the morning to see 20 seconds of Indians highlights on SportsCenter. Go Cavs1 Go Indians! Go Browns! It's time to stop losing.
Portland has to be up there. No championships since 77-78 for the Blazers and several Finals appearances only to be crushed by the Bulls in the early 90s, and then that atrocious game 7 breakdown in the western conference finals when Kobe shot the lights out and erased a 14-point lead with less than 5 minutes to go. Ouch...
I love their misery .. pathetic little team(s) and their toothless fans are a joke!
Sure, back to back World Series are nice, but Toronto would give both of them for a single playoff series win by the Leafs (when was the last time that happened?). Hell, they'd probably trade them for a season series win over the Habs.
In general, I basically excluded one-city towns from this exercise. If it's just one struggling team, that's essentially another list altogether, where individual teams like the Cubs might rank. IMO a ty needs more than one pro team as a data point to discover if it's truly star-crossed.
Thus Salt Lake City, Portland, and some others won't be found here. Cities like Charlotte and Jacksonville, too, don't really have the historical track record to show whether it's just your run-of-the-mill unlucky decade or two or a truly star-crossed run.
Unless Women's sports don't count, the WNBA Seattle Storm won the championship in 2004.
Only in Cleveland do we complain that we were not given enough misery and heartbreak credit when being ranked #1 overall.
Just to be clear, Model not only stole a civic treasure, but he was the only NFL owner to lose money running his franchise. He lost Reggie White to Green Bay after giving his wife a fur coat for g-d sakes.
We had great coaches that were here and left to blossom elsewhere -- Billicheck, Cower.
We name our misery. Already talked about -- The Drive, The Fumble, the Shot, two outs away. And no one has yet mentioned the 1981 Brown's playoff loss, Red Right 88.
We trade or release away key player such as Bernie Kosar and Ron Harper, and watch them win titles elsewere.
We sign great player and watch them tear up their knees on the first play of TRAINING CAMP -- LeCharles Bentley.
So far only one thing has bounced right during my life in Cleveland -- on glorious ping pong ball.
from da boy vince
Even though the phillies haven't made the playoffs since 1993(wow),the EAgles break your heart every year(damn), the sixers are occassionally good and usually bad(OMG), and the flyers just collapsed(holy s***), we have some very good superstars on each team , usually contend, anf still have great fans.
How bout NY? Been 6 years now since we got a title. The rangers are good...but havent gotten the job done..and as for basketball...no hope as long as we have Isiah. There is hope though...the Mets are doing well..and the Yankees will rebound once they find the person responsible for running the team - George Costanza.
um what's a "one-city town"?
Anon. 5:43, My bad, I meant "one-team town" above rather than "one-city town." Maybe all that Twin Cities talk had me confused. Either that or I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue. -- Pete
I agree, the only thing to go right in Cleveland's history is that one ping-pong ball
Philly has got to be #1. Yes, the Sixers won in 84, but you need to put this in context: Philly fans dont care AT ALL about the Sixers. Seriously. Its all about the Eagles and the Phillies. And until either of those teams win (esp the Eagles), Philly will be the most cursed sports city, at least in the minds of its fans.
What about Toronto? The Raptors have had a woeful life since it started in 1994. The Maple Leafs haven't had a Stanley Cup in 40 years now. The Blue Jays have disappointed ever since their last world series title and they're fans are getting ticked off.
Chicago ranks first. Not even a recent dynasty in the Bulls and a World Series pennant for the White Sox can make up for the Cubs. Woe is me, woe is me, woe is me.
Atlanta isn't that far down the list.
The Braves pull you in only to break your heart every October. Now outfited with cheap owners, they may not reach that level again.
The Falcons have never had consecutive winning seasons in its history.
The Flames left town only to win a Stanley Cup in Calgary while its replacement, the Thrashers get swept after its first playoff appearance in its 7-year history.
And the Hawks...THE HAWKS?!! Let me count the ways....
Longest non-playoff run in the league (8)
Longest string of 50-loss seasons in the league (4)
Haven't drafted an All-Star since Reagan's first term (1984); the longest drought in North American pro sports
Haven't advanced past the second round of any playoff format during their entire Atlanta existence
Any wonder why the stands stay empty, folks?
I am a 50 year old woman, and when Rich Karlis' kick sailed towards the uprights in overtime, everyone in my living room jumped up and yelled, "He missed it!" After all these years, everytime I happen to see that kick, I still say that it was wide. How those refs thought it was good, I will never understand. Whenever I browse my cable channel guide and I see that ESPN Classic is replaying that game YET AGAIN, it still brings tears to my eyes; the same way that I welled up when a car bearing the personalized license plate "RED RT 88" passed me on the interstate; the same thing that happens every time I think about Mike Hargrove pulling Mike Jackson for Jose' Mesa in the '97 series, and so on, and so on. Nobody beats Cleveland for sports related misery.
Only a 7 out of 10 for Cleveland???? We are a 10 for misery. The NFL does not even recognize the Browns as champions (pre-Super Bowl). So really it is 1948 when the Indians last won the World Series. Losing the Browns was a complete heartbreak for this city - we fought harder than any other city for our team and still lost out. Red-Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot and The Shot II - name any other town with that many named heartbreaks. And the unnamed 1997 2 outs a way in game 7. Actually we deserve a 20 out of 10.
I grew up in Akron watching Cleveland's Pro Teams(including the Crusaders and Force). What Cleveland has been (in our lifetime) is the farm team for all of professional sports. I think your readers are on to something. You see, winning is a philosophy that is trickled down from management. Until the past few years that trickle (if it existed) seemed to stop at the front office.
The most gifted athletes that served time in Cleveland never reached the summit because of the team ownership. Whether it was related to their pay or team guidelines; it always seemed that the owners put stumbling blocks in front of the players. So, some players seemed to give more than others. I imagine this is true of other cities' teams.
I think that has changed for Cleveland in the past few years. I saw it happen where I lived in San Antonio. I love my Cavs and my Spurs. I am sure to win and lose this series in some form or fashion. If the Cavs do the improbable, again, I hope it doesn’t change Cleveland too much. I saw what a few championships did for and to San Antonio. Not all of it is good.
I make it back to the North Coast every so often.
GO CAVSPURS GO!
I still think Washington should be on the list. The Senators, an original American League team (1901), won only one World Series (1924), before moving to Minnesota after the 1960 season. The replacement expansion Senators won nothing and left for Texas after the 1971 season. The new Washington Nationals (after a baseball drought of more than 30 years) look to continue this ignominous history.
The Washington Wizards (formerly Bullets) and Capitals started play in Washington in 1974. The Bullets/Wizards have one championship (1978) and one more finals appearance (1979) and have done nothing much of note since. The Washington Capitals have one Stanley Cup Finals (1998), where they were swept).
It is true that the Washington Redskins boast five championships (1937, 1942, 1983, 1988 and 1992), but have long periods of futility other than the periods from 1937-1945 (Sammy Baugh era) and 1982-1992 (first Joe Gibbs era).
A Broadway play--Those Damn Yankees (made into a movie several times), depicts Washington's baseball hell.
And last (but not least), we have to put up with all the politicians the other cities send us!
very accurate. as a clevelander, its very rough. after a period of time, in my case almost 40yrs, its numbed that pain of losing. i expect it, hope for the best, but don't get down. i love my teams and someday it will happen. lebron is ready to do it. go cavs!
You obviously excluded Phoenix since the Diamondbacks won a World Series. If it weren't for that one taste of success our fine city should be near the top, or should I say the bottom. I have lived here all of my 42 years and I am still waiting for a Sun's championship. Having to put up with the moronic Bidwills is more misery than any city should have to deal with. The Cardinals will never win with them in control. The D-Backs haven't sniffed the playoffs in a while either and they dumped the face of the franchise in Luis Gonzalez. I've heard we have a hockey team but I'm not sure what that is. Is it a sport? Mike
What we have in Philly, are "wonderful" owners who think that as long as they put up a team that is "almost-there", we idiots will keep filling the seats. You see, we are passionate about our sports teams, we bleed Philly! The owners & players come and go, we live , work and die here!
Hey Santa, catch this!
lol In Philly your complaining about fans filling seats? Look at Cleveland Browns stadium, sold out every year for what? One playoff appearance since they have been back? They lost that after a big lead. Cleveland is the misery of sports. All was mentioned with the plays, players deaths, injuries, etc. You look at 3 team town, we are the drought of championships. You people are forgetting he is talking about towns with at least 3 of the 4 major sports. I am just happy the media is centered on Cleveland now. Was tired of hearing about Boston, and still the Cubs. Those towns have had the Bruins, Patriots, Celtics, White Sox, Bears, whoever else. Cleveland is left with nothing. A 1964 Championship pre NFL days. We are a city in dire need of one. When the scoreboard went out in Game 6, I immediately thought we were going to lose. That was going to be a moment with The Shot, Fumble, etc. Would it surprise me if we lost Lebron in game 1 for the rest of the series? Or he breaks a leg in a freak fall after a dunk. No. This is Cleveland, anything and everything will and can happen. There are no accidents, everything has a chance of happening. That is misery. I often get asked why root for these teams besides hometown and love for them. It makes it that much sweetier and enjoyable when we do finally win one. Not bandwagonning for one. GO CAVS!!
No doubt about it...Cleveland is disappointing. But OSU football makes up some of that! Wait...they blew the big game too... :(
Houston? The Astros accidentally made it to the World Series, but didn’t realize they actually had to play the games. The Rockets did win a couple of championships (over 10 years ago) thanks to Mr Jordan sitting out for a while, and the Texans… well they do hold the record for the most sacs in a season and to top it off they sacked the poor quarterback one last time by letting him go for not performing. And as one hall of fame running back remarked, “It’s pretty hard to complete a pass when you’re laying on the ground.” Heartbreak… this town would go crazy over a Major Leage winner… (OK, we do have a new MLS team the Houston Dynamo that won last year, but who watches soccer?)
I completely agree with this list (especially with Cleveland as #1). On a side note, what pisses me off is when fans (especially sports columnists) from cities whine about their one bad team while they have other teams which have done well. The worse by far is Boston. For years, we had to listen to the poor Red Sox while the Patriots had a Superbowl dynasty. Now, that they don't have the Sox's to cry about, I just read an article about the poor Celtics (father & son cried on each others shoulders about the draft lottery). The only thing worse than hearing Boston fans complain about losing is to hear them gloat when they win (multiple books and a movie about the Red Sox's World Series run... talk about over kill).
I could be wrong, but I believe Philly has gone the longest without a championship in cities with all 4 major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). There is a movie that has been floating around locally for a while now called, I think, "The Curse of William Penn" ... which chronicles the staggering odds Philly has beaten to stay perennial championship losers.
I mean honestly ... I think the last 'championships' the city had were Indoor Soccer and AHL (yea ... a hockey league even less relevant than the NHL). Even Barbaro had to be put down.
I think we deserve to be higher than Cleveland. Especially on your Misery-o-Meter.
Umm, we don't even have a professional sports league here in Pakistan.
Portland? Salt Lake? Please-you each have one franchise that you are lucky to have. I have to agree that Seattle belongs in the top three. From the 1994 Sonics meltdown versus Denver in the first round, to the 2001 Mariners 116 win season where they didn't make the World Series to the 2005 Seahawks who made the Super Bowl only to get jobbed by the refs, Seattle is forever cursed.
Even more misery for Cleveland...the city had an NHL team (The Barons) in the late 1970's, but it couldn't win. After only 2 or 3 years, it folded and was merged with the North Stars. So bad, they were forgettable.
I'm a Toronto guy and those great Jays teams of the late '80s and early '90s are but a blip in the fabulous feeling of failure and futility over the past 40 years in Hogtown.
While the back-to-back World Series championships in '92-'93 certainly disqualifies the city from this list, don't for a moment think that the misery of Leafs fans doesn't make the place feel like they haven't had a winner in a generation. Because that's what hockey is all about in CANADA. In the sporting hierarchy north of the border, the NBA has passed MLB by (note increased interest during the main campaign and an explosion of playoff fever for the Raptors this season), but it can't touch the N.H. of L. in terms of fan dedication.
No matter how much the Raps are now a beloved part of the landscape, and Blue Jay slugger Joe Carter's homer off the Wild Thing is now an important moment in baseball lore, those two teams are the poor second cousins to the Blue and White in the Town That Conn Smythe Built.
If I ever see a Stanley Cup parade down Yonge Street I think I'd faint from shock.
But for the purposes of this list, yeah, the top three is definitely the top three.
Great article. I get tired of hearing about what Red Sox fans went through. I'm sure those fans have also cheered on the Celtics, Patriots. And the Cubs fans had the Jordon era and the 85 bears. I have been a die hard Padres fan and Chargers fan my entire life. We don't have basketball of hockey, so we are a city that is STARVING for a champion. We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves if one of our teams would actually win it all.
The name of the book is "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" and it is by none other than Terry Pluto, a fantastic local sports columnist. Since the RedSox won, the only streak that is longer and active is the Cubs in pro baseball. And, seeing as Rocky Colavito happened in what I believe was the same year as the Browns championship ('64--you older folks can correct me if I'm wrong, hell I'm only 20) it has clearly effected every major sport.
There is no greater thrill than being a Cleveland sports fan. We have so much we believe we can achieve. We all think the Brownies are going to be 10-6 next year and compete in the playoffs. The Indians will make it to the World Series. The Cavs are THERE!
The drama comes in how it all goes wrong...
But don't worry... we'll be better and close it out next year!
Even if it's not this year, LeBron and the Cavs will be the ones to break the drought. The true irony? Every Cleveland sports fan would place them a distant third beyond the Browns and Indians in terms of who they would want to win it all given only one choice.
Until 2001, Boston would have been on this list. The Pats had some terrible teams in the late 1980/early 1990s and lost 2 Super Bowls including the 46-10 game vs the Bears. The Celtics went downhill after 1986 and has been to the conference finals only once ( 2002 ) since 1988. The Bruins had some good teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Went to the Cup finals twice and won 1 game in 2 series vs Edmonton. In one of the games, the Garden lost power and the game was called. The Red Sox. Enough said. 1978, 1986, 2003.
Buffalo has to be #1.
The Bills were an embarrassment for years (bags on your head embarrassing) pretty much until Jim Kelly came and we lost the Super Bowl with "Wide Right" and then went back 4 years in a row to the Super Bowl and each year things just basically got worse and we never won. Once again the Bills are at the bottom (where .500 would be considered a good season). And one of our most famous former players is OJ...need I say more?
The Sabres are more popular than the Bills lately and they have been in the NHL finals several times(and conference finals) and never won the Stanley Cup. The Sabres lost to Dallas with the "No Goal". Then last year we lost game 7 to go to the Finals (after almost our whole team it seemed like was injured) and this year once again we lost to go to the Finals after having the best record all season.
Also Buffalo had a pretty successful NBA team in the 1970s but they did not win a championship either before they were moved to San Diego then to LA (they are now the Clippers). The Buffalo Braves were an up and coming team in the NBA at the time with alot of talent (drafting 3 rookies of the year and having the MVP of the league among others). Then the owner wanted to sell the franchise and made an agreement to lower the amount of the sale price for the buyer by basically trade away several stars (including NBA MVP Bob McAdoo, and the NBA Rookie of the Year Adrian Dantley). Of course after destroying the team and trading almost everyone away, loses piles up, season ticket sales were low and they took the team away.
Buffalo has never experienced a true Championship and is so hungry for one. Almost 10,000 people were OUTSIDE the Sabres arena at the "party in the plaza" watching each soldout playoff game on a jumbotron tv and it was heartbreaking for the city when they lost again.
Buffalo and Cleveland are very similar cities only 3 hours apart and we feel their pain too. The whole Northeast as a whole is pretty unlucky in sports it seems like... :(
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