10 Sports Teams That Really Need A Championship
Hey, Chicago just won its first Stanley Cup since 1961! We all know and follow teams like the Blackhawks who suffer for years and finally taste victory. Eventually, whether it's due to gut-wrenching losses or just years of organizational apathy, fans reach a breaking point. It's like going to the same bar for years and never getting laid. Give it enough time and someone will say, "Man that guy REALLY needs to get laid!" So that got me thinking. After some relatively unproductive thinking, I conjured up this list of the 10 teams in professional sports that really need to get laid. For simplicity's sake two teams from the same city just go down as one. Without further ado...
10. Baltimore Orioles
Last title: 1983.
The O's haven't won a title in 1983, so they're not the Cubs or anything. You could argue that they don't even belong on the list. Normally I would agree, but since their last title (which came in Ripken's 3rd year) they have sustained a stunningly inept 25 year stretch of baseball. Since 1986 the Orioles are 1773-2043, with just 5 winning seasons. They have made the playoffs only twice- in the first year (1996) they lost to 12 year old Jeffrey Maier, only to miss the World Series again the following season (despite the American League's best record in the regular season). Their superduperstar rookie Matt Wieters is hitting .240 with 4 HRs. And to top it off, they'll be looking up at the entire division for at least the next 10 years. It is this cloud of eternal hopelessness that vaults them up the list. Speaking of that group...
9. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last title: 1979
They won't sniff the playoffs for another 10 years either, and haven't since 1992. No need to rehash the particulars of Game 7 in Atlanta out of respect for the remote chance that someone in Western Pennsylvania was reading this. But the Bucs are 1166-1519 since that loss, topping out at 79 wins (1997), cracking 70 wins only seven times, and losing 100 games in 2001. They've set the record for the most losing seasons in a row, a record they will continue to nurture and grow for the foreseeable future. What else? Oh yeah, the guy who left the team for free agency and destroyed the franchise in the process (Barry Bonds) came back three years ago and hit a mammoth tater for career #737. I would embed the video here, but the MLB doesn't allow videos on Youtube to further its effort to alienate as many fans as possible.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Last title: Never
Unbeknownst to many young fans, the Bungles actually enjoyed a period of relative success in the 80s. They even reached two Super Bowls, but both times have gone down to the 49ers, losing on goal line stands (1981) and game-winning TD drives (1988). In the 90s they went 52-108, a span that featured just one winning season, four 3-win seasons, and draft choices named Akili Smith and Ki-Jana Carter. When the millennium changed, the Bengals put up a 2-spot in the 2002 season and landed Carson Palmer. His playoff career lasted one play and then his knee got blown to smithereens. They've since endured four more years of no playoff victories and the death of Chris Henry. Bad times.
7. Golden State Warriors
Last title: 1975
The 2007 playoffs reminded everyone how great the Warrior fans are. True diehards who hadn't been priced out yet, taking their team to a level not seen in the regular season. That's why they kick off this list. Since they won the title in 1975, the Warriors ownership demonstrated a penchant for bad moves and general apathy that still stinks up the Bay Area to this day. The worst move of all was, of course, the Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for Joe Barry Carroll swap in 1980. You don't recover from that. Or your star player choking your coach, as Latrell Sprewell did to P.P. Carlesimo during the 1997 season. Now the hopes of a collective fan base are hanging on the 135-pound frame of Steph Curry. Fingers crossed.
6. New York Knicks
Last title: 1973
I needed a New York team for this list, and I sure as hell wasn't putting the Jets in here. Besides, the Knicks fans deserve a title from this decade alone. Is Isiah Thomas Voldemort while James Dolan plays Darth Vader, or is it the other way around? Bernard King's 1985 knee injury often gets overlooked during these discussions. Then the Ewing Era came and ushered in 15 years of underachievement and gut-wrenching playoff losses. I searched Youtube for a nice clip that would sum up the Knicks' 37-year (and counting) quest for a title. This will do:
5. Seattle Mariners/Seahawks
Last title: Never
It's been a rough run for those Pacific Northwesterners these last couple of decades. Really, it's been since Brian Bosworth. Seems appropriate. It's just been boringly incompetent on all ends. The 8-8 seasons from the Seahawks followed by an era of pseudo contenders. Only one year (2005) were they an elite team, but the 6th seeded Steelers beat them in the Super Bowl. The Mariners won 116 games in 2001 but didn't get to the World Series. Losing the Sonics two years ago only to watch Durant blossom into a superstar puts this city here.
4. Detroit Lions
Last title: Never
Their 1957 NFL Championship doesn't count. They are one of four teams to never have gone to a Super Bowl. Since 1957, the Lions have delivered exactly one playoff win in nine appearances. They got one of the greatest talents in NFL history in Barry Sanders, and drove him into early retirement through years of apathy and noncompetition. Charles Rogers, Joey Harrington, Mike Williams, and several records of ineptitude (including an 0-16 season). If that's not enough, they get to humiliate themselves on Thanksgiving every year too.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Last title: Never
The poor Vikings lost 4 Super Bowls in 8 years between 1969 and 1976 (including the embarrassing 16 point defeat to the underdog Chiefs from the AFL), only they were so long ago that nobody outside of Minnesota really remembers or cares. Super Bowl caliber teams in 1975, 1987, 1998, and 2010 were abruptly derailed. After this latest debacle, half of Vikings fans are in "I can't believe I rooted for Brett Favre so the season could end like THAT" mode. And to make matters worse their mascot is this guy:
2. Buffalo Bills/Sabres
Last title: Never
Another pair of teams that have slowly sucked the life out of their fan bases after a congo line of disappointing playoff loses. As a Bruins fan, my joy of advancing past the 1st round of the playoffs this spring was somewhat negated knowing that we just wrote another chapter in the book "I Should Have Known They Were Going To Shit The Bed Again: The Memoirs Of A Buffalo Sports Fan".
Everyone knows about the Bills, their four consecutive Super Bowl losses, and the Music City Miracle. Not nearly as many people know about the Sabres, mostly since most Americans would rather pass a kidney stone than watch a hockey game. But it's easy. Really, all you need to do is watch the clip below (where Sabres lost the Stanley Cup at home on an illegal goal) and you'll get it. Buffalo fans consume these moments like you consume vitamins.
1. Cleveland Cavs/Browns/Indians
Last title: 1964
Go back to the Indians' 1948 World Series win for a legit victory (the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964, which doesn't really count). Look, everything that could possibly be mentioned about the last 50 years of Cleveland sports has been mentioned. Between these three squads, Cleveland is the clear #1, and if things continue always will be. But LeBron's upcoming choice is the first moment I can remember where the future of a city could be decided by an athlete. If he bolts we may have to cancel sports in Cleveland for awhile. I hope he stays.