Friday, July 26, 2013

Worst professional sports franchises in North America

What do the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Boston Celtics, Green Bay Packers, and the Montreal Canadiens, among other storied franchises, have in common? Well, each of them boast a proven track record of success by sporting high winning percentages and multiple championships. The ability to win has garnered these teams plenty of attention and fan support throughout the years. And it is no wonder why these franchises continue to be some of the most popular franchises in the world of sports.

However, what about all of those franchises who haven't enjoyed the kind of success that their counterparts have? The absence of the thrill and joy of winning have been replaced with the anguish and pain of defeat, instead. Unfortunately, losing has become as central to their image as freedom has to America. 

With this in mind, the following is a list of some of the worst professional sports franchises in North America. These organizations have built a reputation of futility on a level unmatched by any other. For the sake of this list, only franchises from the four major professional sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL) in North America were considered.

Without further ado, here they are:

File:Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Logo.svg

Pittsburgh Pirates

Any list comprising the worst franchises in sports has to include the Pirates by default. The Bucs are currently in the midst of trying to record their first winning season in over 20 years. No franchise in any of the four major North American sports leagues has ever gone that long without posting more wins than losses in a single campaign. However, the end to this amazing skid appears to be near, as the Pirates are on pace to record a winning mark in 2013, in addition to making their first trip to the postseason since being eliminated by the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 National League Championship Series. In fairness, Pittsburgh has won five world championships in its history, but the last one won in 1979 is beginning to look like ancient history, especially considering it was also the last time they have reached the World Series, too.

File:Columbus BlueJackets.svg

Columbus Jackets

Although still a relatively young franchise, the Blue Jackets have yet to win a single playoff game since its inaugural season in 2000. Of course, part of the reason they have yet to emerge victorious in the postseason is the fact that they have qualified for the promised land just once (2008-09). In fact, outside of 2013 where they narrowly missed going to the playoffs by finishing ninth in the standings, Columbus has finished 13th or worst in their conference every season except for one. The only exception being the lone season they went to the playoffs by finishing a modest seventh. They were quickly eliminated after the Detroit Red Wings swept them in the first round, though.

File:Minnesota Timberwolves.svg

Minnesota Timberwolves

There is perhaps no franchise in professional sports that epitomizes mediocrity more than the Timberwolves. Minnesota has compiled a regular season winning percentage of just .397 (762-1,158) since its inception into the league in 1989. In those 25 seasons, Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs only eight times, with those appearances coming in consecutive fashion from 1997-2004. The most telling stat about their mediocrity, though, is the fact that they have advanced beyond the first round of the postseason just once.

File:Arizona Cardinals logo.svg

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have been around for a long time in the NFL, since 1920 to be exact, and have not had much to show for their efforts. They have advanced to the playoffs just eight times throughout the years and none of those appearances have resulted in a Super Bowl victory. And just six times has Arizona won 10 or more games in a single season in their 93-year history. Furthermore, their winning percentage of .414 (501-710) trails only Tampa Bay's winning percentage of .396 (229-350) as the worst among all franchises in the history of the NFL.

File:Chicago Cubs Logo.svg

Chicago Cubs

It has been 104 seasons and counting since the Cubs last won baseball's most coveted prize. And it has been 67 seasons since the Cubs last won a pennant. Both droughts are the longest in Major League Baseball history. This is perhaps part of the reason why the team has become known as the "Lovable Losers" over the years. However, some would be surprised to know that Chicago's .512 all-time winning percentage actually ranks sixth-highest in league history. But that doesn't take away the fact that they have made only six trips to the postseason since winning the National League crown in 1945. 

So, there you have it. Five of the worst sports franchises imaginable when it comes to winning.

But let us not forget about all of the other franchises who were considered yet didn't make the final cut. The following teams received honorable mentions for their propensity to lose at a high rate, too.

Honorable Mentions: Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets, Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, and Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos

Do you have a gripe with the teams listed? Do you believe the list is on point? Feel free to join the debate by chiming in with your opinion in the comments section below.

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