10 Most Divinely Tortured Teams in Professional Sports
According to a recent poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, one quarter of Americans believe God influences sporting events.
Needless to say, if this truly is the case then God clearly has favorites.
In fact, some teams have suffered so much over the past couple of decades that you sometimes wonder if the only possible explanation could be divine intervention.
Here’s a list of the 10 most tormented teams in professional sports.
10. Charlotte Bobcats
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The Charlotte Bobcats have been in the league for about a decade, but it has been nothing but misery so far. The Bobcats filled the void left by the Hornets when they moved to New Orleans in 2002.
While the Hornets have certainly struggled, they need only to look at the Bobcats’ record to feel good about themselves.
The Bobcats have only posted one winning season in franchise history. That happened during the 2009-10 season, but Charlotte ended up getting swept by the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs.
Michael Jordan took over the franchise in 2010, but so far he has not had the same impact he used to have on the basketball court.
Last season, the Bobcats ended the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Despite that, the team lost out on the No. 1 pick in the draft, which in a cruel twist of fate went to the Hornets.
9. New York Mets
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Team owners are only humans, and you can’t expect them to always make the right trade or pick the best option in the draft. However, you would expect them to be able to stay clear of one of the largest Ponzi schemes the world has ever seen.
Despite being in the largest media market in the world, the Mets are always in trouble when it comes to money.
The last time the Mets were in the playoffs, they lost Game 7 of the 2006 NCLS after Carlos Beltran looked at a third strike with the count 0-2. It’s a memory that still haunts Mets fans to this day.
8. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have come to embody the saying “close but no cigar.” The Vikings went to four Super Bowls in the '60s and '70s and lost all of them.
Minnesota thought 1998 was going to be their big year, but in reality they were about to succumb to one of the toughest losses in NFL playoff history.
After posting a 15-1 regular season record, the Vikings faced off against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. In the final minutes of the game, the Vikings kicker Gary Anderson, who had not missed a field goal all year, missed a field goal that gave the Falcons a chance to come back.
The Falcons went to the Super Bowl and the game ended up as a punch line on How I Met Your Mother years later.
After Brett Favre’s career ended, the Vikings didn't have a quarterback to compliment one of the best running backs of all time, and it seems unlikely that anything will come of the Adrian Peterson era.
7. New York Islanders
The early 1980s were a great time to be a New York Islanders fan. All the other years were not quite that successful.
In fact, the Islanders have not won a playoff series since the 1992-93 season. Their last winning season came during the 2006-07 season, and for the past six seasons the Islanders have finished fifth in the division.
The Islanders attendance record is abysmal. They can only fill about 83 percent of Nassau Coliseum, which is barely more than 13,000 fans.
The team is moving to Brooklyn in 2015, and only time will tell if relocation can turn the franchise around.
6. New York Knicks
With apologies to the Brooklyn Nets, the Big Apple’s one true basketball love is the New York Knickerbockers.
The Knicks have been desperate for a championship for four decades running, but has been cursed with bad luck. The team is starting to pick it up this season, which means it’s only a matter of time before Carmelo Anthony’s knees give in and Jason Kidd announces his retirement.
The name Isiah Thomas has become so toxic in New York that I am pretty sure he’s banned from entering the city limits.
During the 2000s, Thomas’ contributions made sure the Knicks always had one of the highest payrolls and one of the lowest records.
His signature achievement was taking on Eddy Curry’s $60 million dollar contract, which was mentioned as one of the reasons there was a lockout last season.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates have posted a losing record for 20 straight seasons, and there’s no reason to believe that they don’t have what it takes to keep the streak alive.
From 1990 to 1992, the Pirates went to three straight NLCS but that era has been tainted by Barry Bonds’ presence just like every other achievement in his career.
The only reason Pittsburgh isn’t higher on this list is because it's won a championship as recently as 1979.
With so many other franchises who haven’t won a championship since the moon landing, it felt unfair to pick the Pirates, no matter how poorly they’ve been playing for the last two decades.
4. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions and the Super Bowl era do not go hand in hand. The last time the Lions won the NFL Championship was in 1957, and since then there hasn't been much to cheer for in Motor City.
The Lions have only had five seasons with winning records in the past 20 years.
The absolute low point of the franchise came during the 2008 season, when they became the first franchise in NFL history to lose all 16 games in a single season.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
In 1989, the Cavaliers found themselves on the receiving end of one of Michael Jordan’s greatest clutch moments.
But that’s not even half the reason why the Cavaliers are on this list. For the first 30 years of their history, the Cavaliers never amounted to much. They won the division only once, in 1976, and that was it.
Then along came LeBron James. The Cavs rode the coattails of their homegrown star to become one of the best teams in the league. The fans felt that it was destiny that King James would bring a championship to the historically struggling franchise.
Now Cavs fans have to watch LeBron win championships in Miami while they have no other choice but to hope that they can find solace in the Kyrie Irving era.
2. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns have the honor of being the last team from Cleveland to win a major title. That happened in 1964. Since then, the Browns have found themselves on the wrong side of many historic moments in NFL history.
The two most storied of these were “The Drive” and “The Fumble,” both of which happened in AFC Championship games against Denver Broncos.
The Browns jumped a few spots in the rankings due to the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl victory this year. The two franchises have taken quite different routes since the relocation controversy from almost two decades ago.
Since 1999, when the Browns re-emerged after a long hiatus, Cleveland has only had two winning seasons. Meanwhile, the Ravens have won the Super Bowl twice.
1. Chicago Cubs
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Did you really think I was going to pick a team other than the Chicago Cubs?
The most tormented franchise in sports history has not won a title since 1908.
To put that in perspective, when the Cubs last won the World Series, Pluto was not a planet; it hadn’t been discovered yet.
The Steve Bartman incident would never have had the same impact on any other ballclub.
Had it been the Yankees, the New York tabloids would have cursed him out on the front pages for a week, but that would have been it.
The most depressing aspect of the winless streak for the Cubs is that other so-called tormented franchises have shed the monkey off their backs.
With the way Bryce Harper is playing, it wouldn't be a surprise if even the Washington Nationals win a title before the Cubs do.