The 10 Most Dysfunctional Sports Franchises
First, let’s talk about what this list is not. This list is not just going to be a list of the 10 teams who haven’t won the “big game.” I’m defining dysfunctional as a combination of spending lots of money and seeing no results, so a team could’ve won multiple championships and still be on this list because the rest of the time they’ve been a mess.
#1. The Phoenix Coyotes
They never make the playoffs. If they do, they lose in the first round. In 2009, the NHL had to secretly step in and take over the team because the previous owner went bankrupt. Someone tell me why I need to write more.
#2. The Arizona Cardinals
People forget about the Cardinals, but they’re awful. Actually, that’s kinda the point: people forget about them. They’ve made it to the playoffs just eight times in 80 years, and at one point failed to make it 26 years in a row. More? Fine – this about sums them up. Gramatica tore his ACL during that celebration.
#3. The Toronto Raptors
They’ve won one playoff series in the past 18 years. They make the list because they give fans hope – drafting stars Vince Carter and Chris Bosh at different points – but then rip it away when they meekly bow out in the playoffs. Then the stars leave town because no one wants to stay in Toronto. Then they draft new ones.
#4. The Buffalo Bills
They don’t seem too bad, until you stop and think about them. Who’s the greatest player in franchise history? Uh, well there’s Jim Kelly. Andre Reed’s up there too. O.J. Simpson. Oh. Oh God, it’s O.J. Simpson, isn’t it. Well what about their Super Bowl success? Ah, that’s right, they lost four in a row. Ummm…
#5. The Charlotte Bobcats
I’ve always wanted to own a sports franchise. I’m really not picky – I’d be happy to own any of them. Except maybe the Charlotte Bobcats. Founded in 2004, they’ve redefined terrible. How bad are they? Well, Michael Jordan, the G.O.A.T. with the seemingly untouchable reputation, has been irreversibly tainted. Before the 2013-2014 season began, their record was 250-476. This, in spite of drafting in the lottery eight out of nine possible years. They’re so bad, they’re changing their name next year to make everyone forget.
#6. The Detroit Lions
Ugh, they’ve just been so bad for so long, haven’t they? For most teams, having Barry Sanders play for you would be enough – just build a semi-decent team around him. Not for the Lions. Since 1960, they’re 1-10 in the playoffs. There was the Matt Millen era. The NFL’s only 0-16 season in 2008. Lions fans, if I were you, I’d just watch this over and over and over.
#7. The New York Knickerbockers
Had to write the full name for this post. What’s that quote? “With great money, comes great responsibility not to suck.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it. They won two titles in ’70 and ’73, and since then have made the finals twice, despite having Patrick Ewing, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and Pat Riley coaching at various points. That doesn’t cut it in New York.
#8. The Washington Redskins
Who here feels good about the DeSean Jackson signing? Personally, I’d feel way better about it if the Redskins were, say, the New England Patriots. See, the Redskins may have won three Super Bowls, but ever since Dan Snyder bought the team, they’ve been the biggest laughing stock in the NFL. Think the Raiders or Lions have been worse during that time? I know this list isn’t supposed to rank the teams, but let me give you a three reasons why you’re wrong. Albert Haynesworth. Adam Archuleta. Deion Sanders – and the list goes on. See what I’m saying? The Jaguars and Lions have been terrible with fewer expectations; the Redskins spent money like they were going to the Super Bowl. Whoops.
#9. The New York Mets
They’re like the Redskins of baseball – they’re not afraid to spend money, but they’ll only do it if they’re sure the guy’s about to be awful. It’s a bold strategy.
#10. The Chicago Cubs
This is my favorite way to think about the Cubs. Pros: the team won the World Series in 1907 and 1908. Some teams haven’t won any World Series. Cons: the last time the Cubs won, Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States. America was 0-0 in World Wars, because there hadn’t been any yet. The Titanic was still just an idea.
Honorable mention: The Oakland Raiders, every Cleveland sports franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets, the Toronto Maple Leafs