If you ever hang out in the local pub – bar, saloon, whatever you call it – or anywhere with sports fans, the time is going to come when people debate trivia. This article focuses on one of the common issues that comes up: Which professional sports teams have played the longest without winning a championship?
Unlucky Professional Sports Teams
After you read this, you will win that debate. Try to place a bet that makes it worthwhile.
This one comes up, especially in baseball, because the answer used to be the Chicago Cubs until last year, and the Boston Red Sox until they went on a championship tear that started last decade.
National Football League fans remain confused since both the long-suffering Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints won Super Bowls in the first decade of the new century.
So what are the answers? Here’s the last point where you can make your own guess.
Major League Baseball
The answer in the MLB is pertinent in 2017 because the Cleveland Indians are looking good right now. And they haven’t won a championship since 1948. That’s 68 seasons of not getting it done. Just in case there is a bonus round, here are the next three on the list.
- Texas Rangers – 56 seasons and counting without a championship, which they have never won
- Houston Astros – 55 seasons without a champion. They’ve never won one, either
- Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals – A three-way tie with teams that have played 48 seasons and still haven’t won a championship (part of that time for the Nationals was as the Montreal Expos)
In addition to those professional sports teams, the other club that has never won a World Series is the Seattle Mariners, who have played for 40 seasons.
National Football League
This one is somewhat surprising. Let’s face it, when you think “bad ball” in the NFL, the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars spring to mind. But they aren’t the teams with the longest stretch without a championship. That would be the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals last won a championship as the Chicago Cardinals in 1947, 69 seasons ago. They’ve since played in St. Louis and Arizona, but no change in how the season ended (although they made the Super Bowl in the 2007-2008 season, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers).
The next three:
- Detroit Lions – 59 years
- Philadelphia Eagles – 56 years
- Tennessee Titans – 55 years, much of that as the Houston Oilers
A more pertinent question is: Which teams have never won a Super Bowl? In addition to the four professional sports teams listed above, they are: Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans.
And if you really want bonus points, here are the four teams who have never even made it to the Super Bowl: Browns, Jaguars, Lions, Texans.
National Basketball Association
Parity, thy name is not the NBA. This sport is typically dominated over long periods of time by one or two teams, and it shows in the championship droughts of many NBA teams. This one is likely the trickiest of all the Big Three professional sports in this regard.
The “winner”? The Sacramento Kings, who have not won a NBA title since 1951, 66 seasons ago. Raise your hand if you honestly believed they had ever won the title.
The next three:
- Atlanta Hawks – 59 years
- Phoenix Suns – 49 years
- Los Angeles Clippers – 47 years
Twelve teams have never won a NBA title. They are the Suns, Clippers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.
So there you have it. Go forth and win the trivia content. And take a moment to feel bad for the fans of these teams and their many years of suffering. Maybe especially Phoenix, which gets a double whammy with the Suns and the Cardinals.
The Indians? They have a very good chance of ending their decades of woe this October.