Ask a person what are the best and worst moments of their lives. Usually, they will start out with, “Well, one of the best moments of my life was when I graduated from high school.” Then, they may transition into something like, “One of the worst moments in my life was when the family dog passed away.” It’s normal people stuff that most people can relate to.
The problem is that sports fans are not just normal people. If you were to ask them the same exact question, they would say something like, “Well, the best moment of my life was when the New England Patriots finally won the Super Bowl. The worst? Every single loss since I started watching them.” It would not matter if this person lost his leg in a work accident, had his home foreclosed, and currently has a dog biting his rear end. Sports fans live and die with their teams and it has been that way since the beginning of time.
For a small portion of sports fans, their pain is totally unique. It is because they have been stuck following a team that is not only bad, but they are so consistently awful that they end up on lists like these. Some sports fans have teams that have poor management, substandard talent, and such a lack of commitment to success that losing is just a part of the culture. If asked, these sports fans will say, “Well, the worst moment of my life was when my team took the field for the last 25 years.” So, if your favorite team is not on this list, be lucky, and enjoy the 15 worst teams in sports right now.
15. Tennessee Titans
The year was 2008. This was the last time that anyone associated with the Tennessee Titans even got a whiff of what it meant to be in postseason game. Of course, the team lost to the outstanding Baltimore Ravens in that game, but it does not make up for nearly a decade of ineptitude. For the past seven seasons, fans in the Tennessee area have had to deal with coaching changes and quarterback carousels that are usually the death knell for any professional football team. How bad the organization stinks is starting to become a trend.
For anyone that feels otherwise, take a long look at the coaching changes. Jeff Fisher, the man who took the Titans to the Super Bowl against the Rams in the 1999 season, was fired after the 2010 season. Naturally, the Titans organization believed that another coach who had the ability to take men to the biggest game of their careers was just waiting for them. So far, they have been wrong. Oh, and don’t forget that Jake Locker, the supposed savior of the team, ended up retiring from the league entirely and the man filling his shoes is a skinny youngster from Oregon; Marcus Mariota. For now, the Titans have some hope in them, but every year that passes has that hope fading fast.
14. Calgary Flames
In 1988, the movie Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, was not only the highest grossing film of the year, but it also took home the Academy Award for Best Picture. That was almost 30 years ago. It was also around the last time the Calgary Flames were able to notch 50 wins in the regular season. It was also the last time the team won the Stanley Cup. This has to be a gigantic blow to a region that prides itself on how tough its people are. Sadly, their hockey team does not live up to the image they have of themselves.
Like any bad team, the Flames have been besieged by coaching changes. Since the 2000 season, the Flames have had to deal with 8 different coaches. For those who have never played sports before, this is basically the worst thing that can happen. Picture working somewhere and every 1 to 2 years management decides to change the supervisor. This means that every couple of seasons there is going to be new philosophies, new schedules, and a brand new culture. To be successful, a winning culture that is consistent is the secret to success. Just ask the New York Yankees how they have done since the beginning of time. For the Flames, things may get worse before they get better.
13. Los Angeles Lakers
For most of the teams on this list, it is clear why they are so terrible. For many of them, they have just had inept ownership for decades or they play in a league or division that is so competitive that it will crush your soul. Also, many of these teams have never even experienced what it is like to have a culture of winning so being crappy is a totally common occurrence. Just like the aforementioned Flames, they have won the Stanley Cup only once in their entire history. Basically, their fans have not gotten too comfortable with winning.
This is the worst part about the Los Angeles Lakers. For decades, they had a culture of winning that is like none other in sports. For a few years, downtown Los Angeles had a big, draping photo on one of their large buildings that had Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal. They basically told the whole world that their basketball team produced nothing but legends and championships. Now, the Lakers organization is in total upheaval. The team has struggled to even make the playoffs lately and have lost one of the greatest players in history, Kobe Bryant, to retirement. The Lakers are in danger of living in a world where the Clippers are the team to watch in Tinseltown.
12. Phoenix Suns
For a team who has never won an NBA championship, the Phoenix Suns were a shining example of what a model NBA franchise should be. The team was a staple in the community for decades, due in large part to the fact that the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, and Arizona Diamondbacks did not come into Phoenix until decades after the Suns got started. Their team boasts some memorable talent in their history as well. Charles Barkley put a stamp on his career by winning the MVP in the 1992-1993 season. Steve Nash, a future Hall of Famer, also won back-to-back MVP awards during his time in Phoenix. Smart coaching and a great culture were commonplace in the Valley of the Sun.
Now, the Suns are the personification of a “butt fumble.” The fact they have won zero championships was forgiven until they started losing on the regular basis. The team has not even reached the playoffs since the 2009-2010 season and are beginning to start the coaching carousel that befalls so many bad teams. In 2015-2016, the team recorded only 23 wins (out of 82). This was the second worst performance of the team since their opening season back in 1968-1969. If things do not turn around soon, the Suns will not only lose games, but also fans.
11. Milwaukee Brewers
If the best player on the team has been found to inject themselves with testosterone, then that should give anybody a good idea of where the Milwaukee Brewers are at right now. But that only explains right now. If one looks back into the history of the Brewers, they will find a team that consistently under performs in its expectations and clearly does not have a culture of winning. There is no doubt that the National League Central is a tough division, having to fight off good teams like the Cardinals year after year, but there has been little to smile about with baseball in Wisconsin.
The facts about how bad this team is doesn’t lie either. It would be unfair to compare the Brewers to a team like the Yankees who have been a staple in the World Series for nearly 100 years. However, the Brewers are bad just by any standard in professional sports. It is bad enough that the last time they made it to the playoffs was 2011, where they lost in the NLCS, they have a history of losing that is second to none. In fact, there was a 26 year gap in between playoff appearances at one point in their history and if things continue the way they are, fans can probably wait another 26.
10. Edmonton Oilers
Unlike a lot of teams, the Oilers were certainly not always bad. For those too young to remember, the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s were similar to the Showtime Lakers of the same era. Between 1983 and 1990, the Oilers were complete bad assess in the NHL. The team won five Stanley Cups during that era. This is in a league where the pressure is extremely high and during a time when players had a tendency to stay with their teams instead of going into free agency, giving them the added advantage of chemistry and experience with each passing year.
The problem is that the glory days are far from over for the Oilers. The last 10 years have made the team and organization look more like a YMCA hockey club than a professional team on the ice. The last trip to the playoffs for the Oilers was back in the 2005-2006 season. To help put this into perspective, this was just before the iPhone came out. So, now that the iPhone has seven different additions and has become a standard purchase for so many people, it should give some clue as to how long it has been since the team had anything to get happy about.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets
To be fair, the Blue Jackets are a relatively new team in the NHL. Other teams, like the Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs, started their franchises back nearly 100 years ago. This has given these teams a ton of opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn’t and use that experience to their advantage. The Blue Jackets have only been around since the 2000-2001 season, making them relatively new on the block. Of course, this may only be part of the reason they are so terrible.
After 15 seasons of doing anything, one would expect that a team or group of people would get better. A hotel that opened 15 years ago may have learned a thing or two about guest services. A bar that opened 15 years ago may have learned something about how to satisfy customers. The problem for the Blue Jackets, aside from their stupid name, is that they have seen only marginal improvement since day one. The team consistently hovers only around 28-30 wins per year since they started out on the ice. With a new season comes new hope for most teams, but the Blue Jackets have shown the opposite to be true.
8. Detroit Lions
Every football team marks one opponent on their schedule. The opponent they mark is usually the one team that they know they can have their way with. Even if the football team is awful, they know that for one week they will completely dominate their way to a win. This is why most teams, especially in the NFL, rarely have to worry about not winning a game the whole season. For decades, the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions used to be the team other teams would circle on their schedule and the Cardinals and Lions would circle each other.
This was until the Cardinals started behaving like a team that wanted to win and the Lions started behaving like a team that didn’t. Without the ability to just get out of their own way, the Lions have shown the world would ineptitude looks like at the highest levels of sports. For proof, just look at the 2008 season. This was the same season that the Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl; and the same season the Lions failed to win a single game. In the history of the NFL, no team had ever lost every single game of the season until then. How did the Lions respond the next year? They won 2 games. They just define what being bad all of the time really means.
7. Chicago Cubs
For many of the teams on the list, being awful has been a short term thing. Even for the teams that are bad currently, the fact that they may have had some glory days are what fans stick around for. For example, the New York Jets, despite not winning a Super Bowl in forever, almost never make the list of “bad teams in sports.” Part of the reason is because they won one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history with Joe Namath under center. Other teams have had such a short time in the professional leagues that their success is still waiting for them.
This is not the case with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, having been around since 1876, have combined a lot of losing with a long history of doing it. 2016 will mark 108 years since the team won a World Series championship. At this point, fans have realized they can have more fun just getting drunk at the games then actually hoping for a winning season. After nearly 150 years in business, something has to give with this team before they top this list permanently.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Few fan bases hold onto the glory days like San Francisco 49ers fans. Yes, without question, the 49ers were one of the bright spots in the NFL. Men like Jerry Rice, Steve Young, and Joe Montana became synonymous with success and Super Bowl victories. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the team gave the world a dazzling display of what smart football and good coaching can do to an entire franchise. Then, the team started to suck.
One of the reasons the 49ers make it so high on this list is because of how sharp their turnaround from greatness to where they are now. Just as recently as the 2012 season, the 49ers were competing heavily for a Super Bowl victory, but just barely lost out to the Baltimore Ravens. Colin Kaepernick was the talk of the town. No one could stop Frank Gore. Jim Harbaugh was viewed as a genius. However, their success was extremely short lived and the team is coming off a 5-11 2015 NFL season. With teams like the Cardinals and Seahawks competing against them, it is unlikely that they will ever return to glory.
5. Cleveland Browns
Thankfully, fans in Cleveland have something to cheer about with LeBron‘s return. With a championship finally looming over the city, Cleveland sports nuts can now walk into any bar in America, lift their Lebron jersey with their thumbs to other patrons, and nobody can say anything. That is, of course, until the subject turns from basketball to football. At that point, the Cleveland fan must still shrink in their chair and apologize for getting ahead of themselves.
To help illustrate this point, few people remember that Bill Belichick, the now famous New England Patriots coach, was the man in charge of these saps for five seasons. He was only able to take them to the playoffs one time during his tenure, but it was a division round loss of course. Now, if a team that has a legendary coach who knows football inside and out at the helm and they still can’t win, what does that say about what is going on in Cleveland? Seems like Drew Carey might have been a little bit off when he said that “Cleveland rocks.”
4. Minnesota Twins
The Twins are kind of like that homeless guy on the corner in any neighborhood in America. No one really hates him. No one really loves him. He is just kind of there. Sure, he can be annoying from time to time when he drops his pants for passing motorists. Other times he can be really nice and draw you a picture of a flower in chalk on the ground so he can earn a few bucks. Most of the time, he is harmless. Kind of like a baby without teeth.
This is what the Minnesota Twins are in the baseball world; a baby without teeth. For a team with so much history and so many amazing players to pass through a clubhouse, they have substantially underachieved. They have had a few flashes of brilliance over the last 10 years or so, making the playoffs 3 times since 2006. But the past five seasons have really been more telling. The team has not made the playoffs once and has not even won at least 85 games in any of the past five seasons. No one in the AL Central considers them a threat and their prospects do not look to good right now. Maybe if the Twins do a little jig on the corner like a homeless guy people will take more pity on them? Probably not.
3. Arizona Coyotes
The problems with the Coyotes run so deep there may not be enough space in this list to really help them figure out what all of the problems are. For starters, the team plays in Phoenix, Arizona, where the average temperature in the summertime is somewhere around a zillion degrees. Now, think about who plays on the team. Usually, they are guys who grew up in the cold climates of Europe, Canada, or the northern United States. Suffering in the heat can zap the energy out of any NHL player with ice in their veins.
The other big problem is the management. The owners moved the team from Winnipeg, a city so in love with the team that they decided to reinvent them after they left to Phoenix. In 2008, it became clear to the NHL that the Coyotes were just hemorrhaging money at a super-fast rate that the team moved into bankruptcy. In 2009, the Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, essentially putting the team up for sale like an abandoned tract home in the Phoenix area. Ultimately, the team was sold to the NHL who then sold the team to another group of Canadian investors. With really bad management, really bad teams, and a really bad place to play hockey, the Arizona Coyotes have a bleak future.
2. San Diego Padres
Some fans cling to history when people start badmouthing their team. Like the Lakers or the 49ers, there is at least some argument that the teams were good at one point. Other, more pathetic fans, will cling to the history of just one specific player and wave their greatness around like a flag at the Olympics. This is what San Diego Padres fans have to do when the subject of how terrible their team is right now comes into play.
Tony Gwynn, God rest his soul, was one of the greatest athletes to ever put on a uniform. San Diego born and raised, Tony Gwynn helped take a team that was hopeless and turn then into competitors against teams with more money, more star power, and more history. But that’s it. Tony Gwynn. Well, Tony Gwynn, zero World Series championships, and players with bloated salaries, bloated egos, and nothing to show for it. At least the players and owners get to live in sunny San Diego, which is probably the only thing that they have to be proud of at all.
1. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have one thing going for them: the cool factor. Every rapper or person from southern California will gladly wear an Oakland Raiders cap everywhere they go to remind people how tough they are. The Raiders have an image of toughness that is totally boosted by their fans and their history. The unfortunate part is that if being cool actually equaled success, then the Raiders would be the most successful team in the world. Unfortunately, they are probably the worse.
The Raiders have one of the most unbelievable franchises in all of sports. Not only are they used to losing, they are used to their management and fans looking so bad that it is any wonder if they even care anymore. Aside from the miracle Super Bowl appearance in 2002, the Raiders have done little else to show the world they plan on competing in one of the toughest leagues in the world. The total number of wins since the 2003 season:63. That’s an average of 4.8 wins per season. How awful. It’s too bad that dark colors and swagger won’t translate into touchdowns.