10 Long-Suffering Fanbases Who Deserve Better from Their Team
Professional sports has had a place in history that goes as back well over a 100 years. Some teams within the professional ranks have established themselves as winners, while others have started out as cellar dwellers and eventually turned around their fortunes.
Of course, there are those who have had the opposite happen and experience a fall from grace. Some teams have just been awful from the start with no signs of getting better.
Every year, fans across the sports world hope for a great season and expect to see something positive from their favorite team. There are quite a few of those fans who were optimistic at the start of the season see the year-end on a disappointing note.
The reasoning behind such a poor on-field product can be chalked up to poor ownership, wrong personnel and even making questionable decisions over the course of several years. Regardless of how you look at it, these teams have been ran into the ground time and again.
Each league has its perennial losers and those who aren't suppose to be anything more than a footnote throughout the duration of a season. Here is a look at several of those teams whose fans have suffered enough and deserve better.
There was a time when the Oakland Raiders were one of the most feared franchises in the NFL. They were a competitive bunch and were generally in the playoff picture from the 1970s to the early 1990s. Times have changed for the silver and black and a team that has three championships to its name hasn't tasted the playoffs in over 10 years.
While Raider Nation is a loyal (if not a rowdy) bunch, they deserve to see a team that can compete in a division that features a strong Denver team and a streaky San Diego club.
There have been some questionable decisions made from the Oakland front office, mostly by late owner Al Davis, and they have typically been on the receiving end of misfortune. Trading for Carson Palmer is just one example of transactions that didn't work out.
However, there could be hope for a change. The team is under new leadership and is hopeful to put together a winning team in the very near future.
If there was ever a fanbase that deserved better from their team, it's the baseball fans of the Miami Marlins. The team was established in 1993 and appeared in the postseason twice, winning the World Series both times. However, much of the team's history has seen low attendance and disgruntled fans angry at the team's handling of their players.
One such issue was over a year ago. Despite signing a lot of marquee names in 2012 and opening a brand new stadium, the Marlins were unable to put together a winning season. As a result, most of the featured players like Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez shipped away.
Most of that is attributed to the ownership of Jeffrey Loria.
Decisions to move favorite players and deny fans a quality experience at games has not gone over too well with most people, and it has shown with the lack of attendance, according to Baseball Almanac, over the past few years. The team had a total of 2,219,444 in 2012. The National League average was 2,592,218.
The Detroit Lions have been considered a team on the rise, but lately, they have been disappointing. That is not to say the current roster isn't capable of winning games. If anything, the team is only a few key players short of becoming one of the better teams in the NFL.
While the arrivals of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh have brought reason for optimism, the team has been victimized by their front office and the ridiculous draft strategy of former general manager Matt Millen.
During the Millen years (2001-2008) the Lions were regarded as one of the worst teams in the league, and the culmination of Millen's tenure came to a head when the team finished winless in 2008, his final season.
The team has made small gains, even reaching the playoffs in 2011. However, the days of mediocrity and disappointment are wearing thin with the Detroit fanbase who deserve to see a better team on Sundays.
While the Lions have the distinction of being one of the teams annually featured on Thanksgiving Day, it's a safe assumption that their fans would trade that holiday game for a few more playoff appearances.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City was once a proud franchise, and during the 1980s, they were one of the toughest teams to take the field. Long gone are the days of George Brett and Bret Saberhagen. Their success reached its peak in 1985 when they won the World Series.
Unfortunately for Royals fans, that would be the last time they would see their team in the postseason.
While the team has made strides to improve, they have ended every season in disappointing fashion. There was a real since of optimism in 2011 when they got off to a strong start, but began to fizzle as the All-Star Game approached. They ended the season with a record of 71-91.
As of now, the Royals are two games below .500 and are five-and-a-half games back in the Central Division. Much like the 2011 season, they started hot, but have cooled off since.
Their fans are hoping for a change when the season enters the second half of the season.
It's never a good thing to relocate a professional sports team. It can only mean one of two things. Either the team is not successful or they are failing to meet attendance. The lack of success has been the driving force behind the relocation talks of Sacramento's only professional sports team.
The Kings have never been a tough team having to play in a division that features the Los Angeles Lakers and the revamped Los Angeles Clippers. They last won their division in 2003 but have since become a non-factor in their conference.
Luckily, the Kings fanbase earned a small victory when it was revealed the team would remain in California and not move to the Pacific northwest. Still, they will need to put together a few winning seasons and maybe make a couple of deep playoff runs to really give their fans something to celebrate.
For a team that was a dynasty in the 1980s, times have been very tough for the Edmonton Oilers fans over the past decade. Once led by the "Great One," Wayne Gretzky, the Oilers have been disappointing their fans with only two playoff appearances since the 2001-02 season.
Making things worse for the Edmonton faithful is seeing their team practically sit in the basement of their division for much of the past few seasons. However, this past year's third-place finish could be a reason for optimism as the fans are hopeful the Oilers can return to the playoffs and reclaim that lost glory that once made their team so great.
It should be noted that Canadian-based franchises have struggled to win the Stanley Cup, as the last team to do so was Montreal in 1993.
Needless to say, Edmonton has its work cut out for them.
Like Sacramento, the Jacksonville Jaguars have the distinction of being their city's only pro sports team, and they too have been the focal point of relocation talks. Unlike their basketball counterparts on the West Coast, they have seen the postseason a little more recently (2007).
That is not to say the team hasn't seen its share of struggles.
After a disappointing 2008 season and a rebuilding phase since that has included a change in ownership, the fans in Jacksonville haven't had much to be excited about in recent years. Right now, there is some doubt surrounding the immediate success of the team.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert is still unproven, running back Maurice Jones-Drew and wide receiver Justin Blackmon have had some off-field troubles. If the Jags can get it together and channel the talent they have on the roster, they may be in line for a shot at the postseason.
Whether it's a curse or just plain bad luck, the Chicago Cubs have been letting down their fans for years. Of course, it doesn't help when one of their own practically ruins a legitimate chance to reach the World Series, but that is another subject altogether.
You have to give the Cubs fans credit; they love their team and support a team that is rich in history and tradition.
However, none of that has translated into wins or success.
Their last trip to the playoffs was in 2008, when they took the division title, but were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.
In an effort to turn the team around, the Cubs hired former Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to do for them what he did in Beantown. So far, the results have been disappointing. Things aren't looking much better this season, as the Cubs are 15 games back in their division and could be in for another long summer.
The NBA gave the city of Charlotte a new team to replace the Hornets who left town for New Orleans, and given the results of the Bobcats, it may have been a good idea to have left the city without a basketball team. Since arriving in 2004, they have made only one playoff appearance and have been just a major disappointment for much of their history.
Charlotte earned the dubious honor of sporting the worst record in NBA history with a .106 winning percentage during the 2011-12 season. The constant losing has not gone over too well with the fans who once saw the likes of Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues play on the hardwood.
While the old Charlotte Hornets were never a powerhouse team, they were more competitive than the Bobcats have ever been, and that's probably one of the reasons fans haven't been too thrilled about basketball in a long time.
Owner Michael Jordan has been getting a lot of grief about his decisions regarding personnel, but it doesn't seem he will change his style anytime soon.
The Bobcats will play their final season under that moniker, as they will return to being the Hornets for the 2014-15 season.
Will it change the team's fortunes? Maybe not, but for fans in Charlotte, it could be a positive first step.
Once upon a time, there was a great Cleveland Browns team that ruled the AFC in the 1980s. When they reached the AFC playoffs, they seemed to be denied, but always fielded a good team.
A lot has changed since then.
If there was ever a team that has been consistently disappointing, but had some of the most loyal fans, it's the Cleveland Browns. The original Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996 and have won two Super Bowls in the process.
Meanwhile, the current Browns who returned in 1999 and have had only one playoff appearance. This has no doubt left a bad taste in the mouths of the Cleveland fanbase who have shown love and support for their team, but have been left disappointed constantly.
It is difficult to determine how well the team will fare in 2013 with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, but both have a reputation for re-invigorating offenses, and that could be what the Browns need to be competitive in the AFC North.
They are probably a few seasons away, but Browns fans deserve a little better for their years of unwavering support and Cleveland needs to repay them by putting together a few successful seasons.