In recent years, we’ve seen pro sports organizations end streaks of glorious futility. The Red Sox won their first World Series title since 1918 in 2004. The White Sox won their first title since 1917 in 2005. The Cubs just won their first since way back in 1908.
And while the Indians came up short, Cleveland can take solace from the Cavs breaking a citywide title drought that had lasted since 1964.
With that in mind, here are the current franchises with the most claim to misery.
Of course, the Los Angeles Clippers reside in their own special circle of hell, having existed since 1970 and somehow failed even to make a Conference Finals.
It’s now the Cleveland Indians without a World Series title since 1948. But with the Cleve still rejoicing over the Cavs and the Indians getting about as close as a team possibly can to a title, the real frustration belongs to the Washington Nationals, who’ve been around since 1969 and never even reached the Series. (Arguably their best shot came back in 1994 when they were still the Montreal Expos and a strike cut short the season.)
Technically it’s the Sacramento Kings, who haven’t won a title since 1951… when they were the Rochester Royals. We must also give a nod to the Phoenix Suns, who have been in the same city since 1968 and have yet to win a title. Of course, the Los Angeles Clippers reside in their own special circle of hell, having existed since 1970 and somehow failed even to make a Conference Finals.
Anyone who spends time in Toronto will testify to the immense popularity of the Maple Leafs, despite their having failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals since 1967 as they approach what could be a bitter 50th anniversary of that championship. Recognition also goes to the St. Louis Blues, around since 1967 and still Cup-free.
The first Super Bowl was played in 1967. Incredibly, 12 different teams have yet to win it: the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. All these fan bases are fully entitled to be frustrated, but rooting for Cincinnati has become incredibly demoralizing, with 25 years having gone by since even winning a playoff game. Their playoff record in that time: 0-8. Yet Detroit gets the edge, going 0-8 in the playoffs over a 24-year period without a postseason win and not even making a Super Bowl appearance during their entire history. And, of course, Browns fans are still processing the weirdness of watching their team flee to Baltimore, become the Ravens, and promptly win a Super Bowl.
Winnipeg hasn’t won a Grey Cup since 1990. (Dammit, Blue Bombers!)
Portugal’s Benfica hasn’t won a European title since 1962, losing eight championship games in that span. It becomes even more enraging for fans when they remember that, in the last 15 years alone, their national rival FC Porto won a European Cup (now Champions League), two UEFA Europa Leagues and even took down the entire planet with an Intercontinental Cup.
Major League Soccer’s been around 20 years now, and the New England Revolution have been here that entire time, yet still have never won the MLS Cup or the Supporters’ Shield (for best regular season record).
Major League Lacrosse
Both the Charlotte Hounds and the Ohio Machine have yet to win a title, which becomes more excusable when you remember they only joined up in 2012. (Hey, it’s an emerging sport.)