Top 5 Most Tortured Sports Cities

In light of last night’s Capitals loss, I thought to myself that DC sports fans may have it worse than any other major market city.  So, I decided to look at cities across the country to determine which cities are in the worst shape and have no hope with their teams.  This list will include cities with at least three major professional franchises.

Honorable Mention:

Chicago:  Bulls, White Sox, Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks

Last Championship: Blackhawks 2010

Chicago shouldn’t have too much to complain about right?  I mean they are less than a year removed from the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup, the Bulls are on the way back up with the youngest MVP ever in Derrick Rose, and the Bears made it to the NFC Championship game.  Heck, even the White Sox won the World Series in the last decade.  However, the pain and suffering of Cubs fans alone is enough to at least get them honorable mention status.

Phoenix: Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Coyotes, Suns

Last Championship: Diamondbacks 2001

The Cardinals fans came agonizingly close against the Steelers a couple years back and other than that, it’s been pretty tough for the Cardinal fans.  However, the team that really disappoints for Phoenix is the Suns.  One of the worst feelings as a sports fan is seeing a team constantly get close, but fail to get over that hump.  The Suns during the Nash, Marion, Stoudemire days were a great team that just wasn’t built for the playoffs.  So, while the Cardinals consistent losing is tough, the heartache of the Suns coming up short is much worse.

Buffalo: Bills and Sabres

Last Title: Never won Super Bowl or Stanley Cup

Buffalo does not qualify for the top five because it only has two professional franchises.  But make no mistake, when it comes to suffering, Buffalo fans are at the top of the list.  In a hockey town like Buffalo, the Sabres are 0-2 in their Stanley Cup Finals appearances.  However, nothing comes close to losing four Super Bowls.  In a row.  I cannot even imagine how painful that is.  Buffalo fans deserve a title, but the possibility of the Bills having to move increases every year, meaning Buffalo may never get to see their Bills win a Super Bowl.

5.  Toronto:  Raptors, Maple Leafs, Blue Jays

Last Championship:  Blue Jays 1993

Yes I am including Canadian cities in this list.  The Blue Jays haven’t been relevant since Joe Carter hit his walk off World Series homer.  The Raptors have literally no hope.  What NBA superstar wants to flock to Toronto?  But it is Canada, so at least they’ve got their hockey team right?  Well, the last time the Maple Leafs won or even played in a Stanley Cup is 1967.  Can you imagine being a hockey fan in Canada and having to go that long since an appearance in the Stanley Cup?

4.  Minneapolis: Timberwolves, Vikings, Wild, Twins

Last Championship: Twins 1991

The Twins are a constantly over-achieving team that finds its way in the playoffs every now and then, only to lose to the big payroll teams.  Minnesota Vikings fans have had to suffer through agonizing NFC Championship games with Brett Favre’s untimely interception against the Saints last year and the memories of that Gary Anderson missed field goal back in ’98.  The T-Wolves are known for their string of first round playoff losses during the Kevin Garnett era.  They haven’t been the same since he left.  (seeing him come through with Boston had to sting).  And it must be torture for hockey crazed fans in Minnesota to see teams like Carolina and Tampa, which are hardly hockey hot beds, have success, while the Wild struggle.

3. Dallas: Cowboys, Stars, Mavericks

Last Chamionship: Stars 1999

As I’ve already discussed, there’s two types of pain as a sports fan.  The pain of having no hope and the pain of coming agonizingly close.  Dallas fans fall into the second category.  All three franchises seem to have consistent success.  With two of the highest profile owners in sports in Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban, they have the men willing to spend the money to win.  The Mavericks, much like the Phoenix Suns, have been a great regular season team that couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs.  (at current time the Mavericks are playing well in this year’s playoff though).  But in Dallas, football is the name of the game.  The Cowboys look great on paper every year.  Unfortunately for Jerry Jones, games aren’t played on paper.  The frustration amongst Dallas fans continues to build every year the Cowboys fail to win in the playoffs.

2.  Washington DC: Wizards, Nationals, Capitals, Redskins

Last Championship: Redskins 1992

Okay, so Washington does not come in at number one.  Unlike Dallas, DC sports fans qualify under the category of having no hope.  After another early exit from the playoffs, and in embarrassing fashion nonetheless, the Washington Capitals look like they need major changes.  The team does not seem to be built for playoff hockey.  Which is too bad, because the Caps have been the cities best hope.  The Nationals are still a young franchise and have some great young prospects in Harper and Strasburg, but they are still light years away.  The Wizards are garbage.  And last but not least, the Redskins.  Washington is still a football town.  And as long as Dan Snyder is still owner, there is literally no hope.  Running a franchise like a fantasy football team is no way to win Super Bowls.  The only owner as insane as Snyder is Al Davis.  And Davis’ shortcomings can be attributed to his age.  Bad news for Skins fans:  Dan Snyder is young and healthy, so look forward to decades of misery to come.

1.  Cleveland:  Indians, Browns, Cavaliers

Last Championship: Indians 1948

Washington DC fans have nothing on Cleveland when it comes to pain.  Let’s start with the good.  It’s only been 63 years since the Indians won the World Series.  So, they are the most successful team in the city.  And the Browns….well they were playing real well in that game against the Broncos back in the ’88 AFC championship game until Ernest Byner fumbled.  At least they had that great game back in the ’86 AFC chamionship game against the Broncos…..until Elway drove 98 yards down the field for the game tying TD pass.  The Browns lost that game in OT.  Since those two heartbreaks, the Browns have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL….at losing.  But there was hope.  Lebron James.  The local Ohio product.  He was the one who would save Cleveland sports fans.  And well, I don’t have to tell you how that turned out.  So, when you think your teams are cursed, just be thankful for not having been born in Cleveland.  (though I hear it’s a beautiful city).

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8 Responses to Top 5 Most Tortured Sports Cities

  1. Joe says:

    2 elements that need to be added to the discussion: 1) how much does it suck to reside in that particular city and 2) how much the fans actually care about their teams.

    with that logic, Phoenix has to get bumped from the mix on both considerations (decent enough place to live and, come on, with the exception of maybe the Suns, Phoenix fans aren’t rabid enough). Buffalo and Cleveland still top the list though due to severe suckage of both teams and city quality in general.

    • kevinjfisher says:

      good point. Phoenix reminds me of Miami in the way they don’t particularly care about their sports teams. They’ve got too much great weather to worry about sports teams. you really can’t feel too bad for them.

      • Ross says:

        I agree with Houchin, you have to take into account the dedication of the fans. Not only are the D’Backs like 10 years young, the Cardinals have only been there since 1988. The Coyotes are also incredibly young, no one cares about them and odds are that franchise will be moved soon anyways.

  2. Ross says:

    I don’t think Chicago belongs anywhere near this list. The Bulls have been way too successful, the Blackhawks just won a championship and the White Sox have been pretty competitive and ended their World Series draught in 2005. The Cubs misery alone isn’t enough to drag down all that other winning, though I would say this was the most tortured baseball town until 2005, and still is to some degree.

    Also, don’t forget about the Rangers in Dallas. They just went to the World Series last year, but were pretty horrible before that.

    • Joe says:

      I can agree with that. Even as a Cubs fan, their misery isn’t enough to drag down an entire city. Besides, the North Side seems to almost relish the lovable loser label…the Cubbies don’t win and the fans still manage to love the team and sell out ballgames regularly. Not the case in cities like Cleveland where they’re just plain miserable.
      In the same way, Dallas can’t approach the conversation because of the success of the Cowboys. I know its a while ago, but historical success still has to carry over for a while.

      • Ross says:


        I know Seattle no longer has three teams, but don’t they belong somewhere on this list? I mean the Seahawks, apart from a small run with Hasselbeck and Homlgren in the mid-2000’s have been terrible. The Mariners, despite their regular season success in the 90’s and early 2000’s, never won anything. The SuperSonics teased everyone for a short period before Shawn Kemp went insane and then they were stolen from the city (right before the franchise landed Kevin Durant I might add).

        I’m appealing to Judge Houchin for a ruling on this. According to Houston vs. Oilers/Titans (1997), a team may not be smited based on them having a team stolen from the city, especially if that team moves on to future success.

      • kevinjfisher says:

        I have no sympathy for Seattle losing the Sonics. They’d still be in Seattle if their fans had showed up. Seahawks fans are great though. I’d put Buffalo and Cincinnati ahead of Seattle as far as the two-sport cities are concerned.

  3. HeavyD2544 says:

    I feel like you should make a top 10 most tortured sports franchises based off of loyalty, length of history, and recent championship success of the teams. Mine would be:
    1. Chicago Cubs. Haven’t won since 1908. Enough said.
    2. Detroit Lions. No Super Bowls and their 4 NFL titles came in the 50’s. 0-16 season in 2008.
    3. Cleveland Indians. Haven’t won since 1948. Some appearances, but usually surprise success.
    4. Toronto Maple Leafs. Leafs Nation are hockey’s most loyal. No Cup appearances since 1967.
    5. Cleveland Browns. No Super Bowl appearances, but won multiple NFL titles in the 60’s.
    6. Philadelphia Eagles. No Super Bowl and 2 attempts. NFL title in 1960 and two in the 40’s.
    7. Buffalo Sabres. No Stanley Cups and only 2 appearances. Some playoff spurts.
    8. Buffalo Bills. No Super Bowl, but 4 straight losing tries. 2 AFL titles before merger in the 60’s.
    9. Vancouver Canucks. No Stanley Cups and two attempts thwarted in game 7’s.
    10. New York Knicks. Two NBA titles in 1970 and 73, with 3 losing attempts in the 90’s. 2000’s marked the franchise’s all time worst decade with 8 straight losing seasons.
    Hm. LA Clippers. They’ve never been much of anything. The Lakers little malnourished brother.
    The NBA has few cities with loyal fans and long droughts; therefore, I couldn’t find many worthy for this list. Sorry if I missed any. I’m sure I’ll hear it so throw in your opinions on my list.

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