Winning a championship is the hardest thing to do in team sports. Every year, one team succeeds and every other team fails at that goal. Teams like the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Steelers, Boston Celtics and Montreal Canadiens have dominated their respective sports and won regularly. Most teams eventually win a championship, but some teams get heartbroken every year and have never won a championship. (For football purposes, we define a championship as a Super Bowl victory.)
Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
The Vikings started playing in the NFL in 1961 and after a couple of rough expansion years, they got very competitive fairly early in their existence. The key to their rise was a powerful defense that was nicknamed “The Purple People Eaters.” The Vikings became one of the dominant teams in the NFL in the late 1960s, but when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, it started a pattern for this team. They would eventually lose four Super Bowls and while they have had some strong teams since the 1970s, they have never returned. The 1998 Vikings were one of the most explosive offensive teams of all time, but they got beaten in the NFC Championship game by the Atlanta Falcons.
Phoenix Suns (NBA)
The Suns were an expansion team in the 1968-69 season. The next year, they were involved in a coin flip with the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 1 draft pick. The Bucks won the flip and selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and lead the Bucks to the NBA title in 1970-71. They have been to the NBA Finals twice and the Western Conference Finals seven times. Some of the great players in Suns history include Paul Westphal, Connie Hawkins, Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and Steve Nash. But despite those talented individuals, no titles have come to Phoenix.
Indiana Pacers (NBA)
The Indiana Pacers were the most successful of the ABA franchises that were absorbed by the NBA in 1976-77. They won three championships in the old ABA, but they have never won an NBA title. Reggie Miller brought the Pacers to prominence in his playoff battles with the New York Knicks and the Pacers made it to the NBA Finals in 1999-2000, but they lost a 6-game series to the Lakers that year. The Pacers made it to the NBA playoffs 16-of-17 years between 1989-90 and 2005-06.
San Diego Chargers (NFL)
The Chargers won the American Football League title in 1963, but the Chargers have never won a Super Bowl. The Chargers have traditionally had one of the most exciting and explosive offensive teams, Their only Super Bowl appearance was a one-sided 49-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX. The Chargers have had superior quarterback play from John Hadl, Dan Fouts, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. They have been involved in some of the most famous games, including AFC title game losses to the Oakland Raiders in 1980 the Cincinnati Bengals in 1981.
Texas Rangers (MLB)
The Texas Rangers started off as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961. When the team could not draw a successful following in the nation’s capital, the team moved to the Dallas area to become the Texas Rangers in 1972. While they often struggled, they became an explosive offensive team and when they added pitching they won American League pennants in 2010 and 2011. Their loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 was among the most heartbreaking in World Series history because they were one out away from winning the World Series before the Cardinals rallied.
Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
The Canucks entered the NHL as an expansion team in 1970-71. The Canucks got pounded for years, but they built a loyal following and eventually put together a dynamic team. The Canucks lost a 7-game 1994 Stanley Cup Finals to the New York Rangers in a series that is considered one of the most exciting in NHL history. They made it back to the Finals in 2010-11 and were favorites to beat the Boston Bruins. However, the Bruins had more toughness and grit and a higher skill level than the Canucks expected and Boston won the seven-game series. Vancouver fans were so upset about both championship losses that they rioted on both occasions.