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The 30+ Years of Misery Club

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In a couple of weeks we have the chance to witness something none of us have seen before (I assume we have no one in their 60's on this board) and that is see the Cardinals as champions of the NFL. This got me to wonder about how many franchises in the four major North American professional sports leagues have never won their league's championship in my lifetime. I also wanted to know who would replace the Cardinals as the most moribund franchise in the NFL (I know you will all be shocked!) and who in the NBA and NHL have the longest run since their last championship.

 

In total there are 47 teams who have failed to win a single "world" championship in the last 30 years, of course that does not include expansion franchises who have come into existence since. Note I do count championships won in the AFL, ABA, and WHA for those franchises who were grandfathered in to their current leagues. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Phoenix Coyotes (won the last ever Avco Cup in the WHA as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979) are set to join this list after this year. The Seattle Supersonics would have also joined the list if they hadn't had their franchise stolen away.

 

1. Chicago Cubs - 100 years

1908 World Series Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Have not played in a World Series since 1945 which is a longer drought for playing for a championship than any other franchise has gone without winning a championship (current streak).

 

2. Arizona Cardinals (Chicago/St. Louis) - 61 years

1947 NFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Before this year had won one playoff game since last championship.

 

3. Cleveland Indians - 60 years

1948 World Series Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Had a 41 year World Series drought between 1954 and 1995.

 

4. Sacramento Kings (Rochester Royals/Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City) - 57 years

1951 NBA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Haven't played in a NBA Finals since '51 championship.

 

5. San Francisco Giants (New York) - 54 years

1954 World Series Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Haven't won a championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958 and hopefully never will.

 

6. Detroit Lions - 51 years

1957 NFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: One playoff win since last championship.

 

7. Atlanta Hawks (St. Louis) - 50 years

1958 NBA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Last conference/division finals appearance was in 1970.

 

8. Philadelphia Eagles - 48 years

1960 NFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Have now lost four conference championship games this decade.

 

9t. Chicago Blackhawks - 47 years

1961 Stanley Cup Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Only one playoff appearance in last 11 years, although that will change this year.

 

9t. Minnesota Vikings - 47 years

Misery Fun Fact: 0-4 in Super Bowls and 0-4 in conference championship games since their last Super Bowl in 1976.

 

9t. Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers) - 47 Years

1961 AFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: 1-4 in conference championship games.

 

9t. Texas Rangers (Washington Senators) - 47 years

Misery Fun Fact: Oldest franchise in the Big Four leagues to never reach the championship round of it's sport. Zero playoff series wins.

 

13. Houston Astros - 46 years

Misery Fun Fact: Took 43 years win their only NL pennant.

 

14. San Diego Chargers - 45 years

1963 AFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: 1-5 in AFL/AFC Championship games since '63.

 

15. Cleveland Browns - 44 years

1964 NFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: 0-6 in NFL/AFC Championship games since '64.

 

16. Buffalo Bills - 43 years

1965 AFL Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Only franchise in the Big Four to lose in the championship round of it's sport in four consecutive years.

 

17. Atlanta Falcons - 42 years

Misery Fun Fact: Advanced past divisional round of playoffs only twice.

 

18t. New Orleans Saints - 41 years

Misery Fun Fact: Did not win a playoff game in their first 33 years of existence.

 

18t. Toronto Maple Leafs - 41 years

1967 Stanley Cup Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Haven't played in a Cup Final since '67 championship.

 

20t. Cincinnati Bengals - 40 years

Misery Fun Fact: One playoff appearance in last 18 years.

 

20t. Denver Nuggets - 40 years

Misery Fun Fact: Have yet to reach the NBA Finals since merger in '76-'77.

 

20t. Los Angeles Kings - 40 years

Misery Fun Fact: Reached Cup Finals only once.

 

20t. New York Jets - 40 years

Misery Fun Fact: If Brett Favre couldn't bring them a Super Bowl, who can????

 

20t. St. Louis Blues - 40 years

Misery Fun Fact: Last Cup Finals appearance was in 1970.

 

25t. Kansas City Chiefs - 39 years

Super Bowl IV Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Have only reached conference championship game once since Super Bowl IV win.

 

25t. Milwaukee Brewers (Seattle Pilots) - 39 years

Misery Fun Fact: Won only two division championships.

 

25t. Phoenix Suns - 39 years

Misery Fun Fact: Despite a .559 all-time winning pct., only reached NBA Finals twice.

 

25t. San Diego Padres - 39 years

Misery Fun Fact: 1-8 in World Series games.

 

25t. Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos) - 39 years

Misery Fun Fact: Only playoff appearance was in the bizarre '81 split season.

 

30t. Buffalo Sabers - 37 years

Misery Fun Fact: Only two Stanley Cup Finals appearances.

 

30t. Cleveland Cavaliers - 37 years

Misery Fun Fact: 35 year wait for their only NBA Finals appearance.

 

30t. Los Angeles Clippers (Buffalo Braves/San Diego) - 37 years

Misery Fun Fact: .364 all-time winning percentage and never reached a conference final.

 

30t. Milwaukee Bucks - 37 years

1971 NBA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Advanced past first around of playoffs only once in last 19 years.

 

30t. Vancouver Canucks - 37 years

Misery Fun Fact: Their two Stanley Cup Finals appearances are the only two years they've reached the conference finals.

 

35. Boston Bruins - 36 years

1972 Stanley Cup Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Only one playoff series win since 1995.

 

36t. Indiana Pacers - 35 years

1973 ABA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: 1-5 in Eastern Conference finals series.

 

36t. Miami Dolphins - 35 years

Super Bowl VIII Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Best all-time winning pct. of any active NFL franchise (.583) but haven't played in a Super Bowl in 24 years.

 

36t. New York Knicks - 35 years

1973 NBA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Seven straight losing seasons.

 

39t. Golden State Warriors - 33 years

1975 NBA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Haven't reached conference finals in 32 years.

 

39t. Philadelphia Flyers - 33 years

1975 Stanley Cup Champions

Misery Fun Fact: 0-5 in Stanley Finals series since '75 championship.

 

39t. Utah Jazz (New Orleans) - 33 years

Misery Fun Fact: Only one losing in last 25 years but only two NBA Finals appearances to show for it.

 

39t. Washington Capitals - 33 years

Misery Fun Fact: Reached conference finals only once.

 

43t. New Jersey Nets (New York) - 32 years

1976 ABA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: Only advanced past first round of playoffs six times since NBA merger.

 

43t. Seattle Seahawks - 32 years

Misery Fun Fact: Just two conference championship game appearances.

 

45t. Portland Trail Blazers - 31 years

1977 NBA Champions

Misery Fun Fact: 8-17 in first round playoff series since '77 championship.

 

45t. Seattle Mariners - 31 years

Misery Fun Fact: 14 straight losing seasons at their inception and played in the ALCS only twice.

 

47. Washington Wizards (Bullets) - 30 years

1978 NBA Champions

Miser Fun Fact: Advanced past first round of playoffs only three time since '78 championship.

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If it wasn't for that MLB Strike in 1994, The Expos would've not only made their 2nd playoff appearance, but probably could've made it to The W.S. with the team they had that year. Poor Montreal.

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The Brewers have one division title, the other was a wild card berth.

 

It's a shame that the Expos' run from 1979-81 has been forgotten. They won the division title in 1981, and lost the pennant races on the final weekend in both 1979 and '80. They had Gary Carter and Andre Dawson in their lineup, Steve Rogers as their ace. A couple breaks and they might (might) have been a dynasty.

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The Brewers have one division title, the other was a wild card berth.

I counted their '81 season as a division title since they did finish first overall during the regular season but then lost the official title to the Yankees in a playoff series. Maybe it's just best to pretend that season never happened.

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I always counted the division series winners as division champions. That's pretty standard in leagues that utilize the split season format every year, typically in A ball. If it helps, it gives Montreal another division title, and Oakland retains their's.

 

Besides, if I had to explain how the Cardinals and Reds won division titles and neither made the playoffs, my head would explode.

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Well yes the official division champions from that season are the ones who the playoff series. The A's saved one embarrassment by preventing a 4th place Royals team with a losing record being crowned AL West Champions.

 

Again it's probably best just to pretend that season never happened, kinda like '94.

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