Guest Blog: The worst sports cities

Courtesy of my classmate over at Sorry Not Sorry about something I have not written a single word about on this blog: sports! Send the hatemail to him, not me, if you’re not a fan.

Sports.

Sports are awesome. They’re the one thing that can unite this country one day and divide it entirely the next. A lot of the heat that surfaces due to sports is because of rivalries between cities. Thinking of city rivalries brought me to the point of this blog post.

What is the most pitiful, dreadfully terrible sports city in the United States? It was tough, but I managed to rank the five worst that America has to offer.

5. Seattle

There is going to be an outcry about Seattle making this list based on the recent success of the Seahawks, but let me tell you something. Historically speaking, Seattle is a shit hole of a sports town.

The Seahawks, historically, are a garbage NFL franchise. Congratulations to the new wave of the “12th man” bandwagoners who jumped on as soon as they realized that Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman gave this grotesque excuse of a football franchise a chance to succeed. Prior to the 2013 season, Seattle had one Super Bowl appearance. One. That was in 2005, the franchise’s 30th year of existence. In fact, the team only made the playoffs seven times in their first 29 seasons.

That’s a .241 batting average for the Seahawks making the playoffs through nearly their first 30 years. Which isn’t bad, if you’re a pitcher.

Speaking of baseball, their baseball team sucks, too! The Mariners existence began a year after that of the Seahawks. They are going on their 40th year of existence and have never even been to the World Series. Seattle has managed to diminish the careers of greats like Ken Griffey Jr. and Ichiro Suzuki by preventing them from ever winning a title, even in the 2001 season when they matched the MLB record of 116 regular season wins.

The one great thing that Seattle had going great was the Seattle SuperSonics franchise. A proud organization, they were blessed with the great coaching minds of Bill Russell, Lenny Wilkens and George Karl in the 70s, 80s and 90s, respectively. The franchise appeared in the postseason in 22 of their 41 seasons in Seattle. However, the Sonics left town in 2008 to pursue a new home in Oklahoma City. I guess that amazing scenery of the Great Plains was just too much to pass up, huh?

As soon as stars like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook began to live up to their potential, Seattle had become a distant memory of the past. Perhaps the city will once again claim a team to add to its proud history as a basketball city. But then again, perhaps not.

The Sounders have a short but proud history already in the MLS, but given the MLS’ youth as a league, that doesn’t carry much weight when it comes to this list.

4. Detroit

If you want to make the argument that Detroit doesn’t belong this high on the list, I completely understand. The Tigers and Red Wings are both viable professional franchises with storied histories;

The placement on this list comes from a terrible bitterness in my soul that has been caused by the Detroit Lions.

Only a team in Detroit can manage to take two once-in-a-lifetime talents like Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, cut their careers short due to lack of success and prevent them from being forever remembered as the greatest players to play their respective positions ever. The case can be made for both on a talent basis alone, however the fact that neither played more than ten seasons hurts that case tremendously.

The Lions are the only team to ever go an entire 16 game NFL season without a single face, causing crying Jordan faces to be everywhere. That despair alone gives them an automatic place on this list, with an honorable mention flying out to Tampa Bay for their astounding 0-14 season as an expansion franchise in 1976. The Lions wish they could use the whole “expansion franchise” thing as an excuse, but they can’t. They were really just terrible.

3. Minneapolis

Surprised? Don’t be. Ask any Marshall Eriksen of the world where they were during the 1998 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons… and they will reply that they were screaming in agony on their couch, as Gary Anderson missed a chip shot field goal with 2:07 remaining in regulation after not missing a single field goal all season prior.

The Vikings are a proud franchise, but their 0-4 record in Super Bowls ties them with the Bills for the most heart break that an NFL team has ever endured. There have been plenty of greats to wear the purple and gold- Anderson, Fran Tarkenton, Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson- but none of them ever got a ring while in Minneapolis.

Adding to the Minneapolis’ claim to infamy are the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves had one “great” eight year stretch of making the playoffs between ‘96 and ‘03. During that time, they only advanced past the first round of the playoffs once.

In their other 19 years of existence, Minnesota hasn’t made the playoffs at all. Not once outside of that eight year gap. “Experts” have been calling them a “young team on the rise” for each of the past 10 seasons it seems like. How can there be any rise for a team that is consistently in the bottom five of their conference?

The Wolves do finally have an established young core of guys between Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine, but the franchise as a whole is one of the biggest jokes in the NBA.

That leaves us with the Minnesota Twins, a historically relevant team residing in the wasteland that is Major League Baseball. While the Twins are the one thing that Minneapolis should be able to hang their hat on after World Series wins in 1987 and 1991, their issue is that the franchise has only made it past the ALDS once in the 24 years since, despite two MVPs that had floated onto the roster (Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer) and a 2x Cy Young award winning pitcher(Johan Santana).

It’s not fair to call the Twins pathetic over that span of time, but they certainly haven’t been anything special. They’ve simply existed as a semi-competitive baseball team in the AL Central. That’s all.

2. Buffalo

Let me tell you, Buffalo is one terrible MLS or MLB team away from being a lock for the number one team on this list. In recent history, both the Bills and Sabres have been, bar none, the most laughable franchises in their respective sports.

For the Bills, it’s been constantly downhill since Scott Norwood missed that 47 yarder wide-right. The team made four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s, only to have some type of monumental collapse in each of those games. Nevertheless, the four straight conference championships are an NFL record in the Super Bowl era, and are something that the #BillsMafia can hang their hat on. Just one win in those four games would likely switch their position with Seattle on this list.

The Bills are holders of back-to-back AFL Championships in the years 1964-1965.Those days are too long gone now to provide any sort of excuse for the recent performance of the franchise, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999.

Buffalo used to have a basketball team, in case you hadn’t heard. The Buffalo Braves occupied downtown Buffalo in the 1970s, only to be carried away from Buffalo to a better market in Southern California. Originally that was San Diego, but they relocated to Los Angeles in 1984. You may now know this franchise as the Los Angeles Clippers, the second most historically important basketball team in the city of LA.

Escaping Buffalo hasn’t provided the franchise an escape from futility, though. It took a dozen seasons after leaving Buffalo for the Clippers to make a postseason appearance, and prior to the arrival of talents like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul in the 2010s, the franchise had a stretch of 35 years where they only made the playoffs three times. That’s in a league where more than 50% of teams make the playoffs.

Ouch.

The other major sports team currently in Buffalo is the Sabres, who have never captured a Stanley Cup in their 47-year history. Recent years haven’t been kind to the Sabres, either.

In fact, due to the manner in which the NHL regular season scoring system is set up, it is mathematically possible for a team to lose each of their games(given those losses occur in overtime,) and finish the season with more points(82) than the highest number of points the Sabres have accrued in any of their previous four seasons(81).

The Sabres stink and the Bills stink, but seeing as Buffalo only has two failing teams in major sports, it’s impossible to rank Buffalo the highest(or lowest) on this list.

Don’t worry Buffalo fans, at least your city isn’t…
1) Cleveland

And the gap between 1 and 2 wasn’t even close. I mean, it really wasn’t.

Here’s a notable list of athletes Cleveland really has to be proud of:

1) Jim Brown
2) Jesse Owens

That’s it. No LeBron, No Peyton Hillis. Nope. It’s kind of hilarious how big the drop is between LeBron and the next “relevant” Cleveland athlete that I could name from the last decade, huh? I can’t tell which is more funny; that drop off or the fact that LeBron had to skip town just so he could get a ring!

Cleveland is such a dumpster fire of a sports town that they haven’t been able to win a championship in any major sports since 1964. That’s 52 years, or in SportsCenter measurements, 1.67x the length of LeBron’s life. The lack of championships isn’t without effort; The Cavaliers have made two finals appearances since 2007 and the the Indians made the World Series twice in the 1990s.

The Browns haven’t done much in the quest to get Cleveland another trophy, but to their credit, they were responsible for the last one won in 1964. The Browns are currently onto their 24th quarterback(Robert Griffin III) since 1999 and could draft number 25 next week with the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The jokes you can make about the Browns are endless, but my main concern for the franchise is the mental state of whomever chose to name the team the “Browns” but then decided to make their own logo an orange helmet. My second biggest concern is the fact that they’ve been doing this for more than a half century and not one person in the organization has attempted to change it. Not a single one.

By comparison, the city of Green Bay has five titles since Cleveland last had one. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Green Bay only has one sports team, and they’re represented by a bunch of fans drunk on Miller who wear cheese on their heads. So it could be so much more embarrassing.

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Author: woatblog

Project for COMM 347 at Fredonia State. I have an extensive collection of bobbleheads.

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