Where Did it All go Wrong? How the Bad Teams Became the Bad Teams

Josh APContributor IJuly 5, 2008

I listen to people talk and say, "I can't believe this!  How can the Lions be this bad?" or, "Can the Grizzlies ever win a playoff game?" 

Now, we know that these teams and others are just, plain....awful.  I mean, there's no denying it.  But when did the worst teams of the past few years become, well, the worst teams?  Let's take a look at what I believe are the worst teams in each major sport in North America.


The Memphis Grizzlies are, by far, the worse team in the NBA.  Yeah, you can argue that the Knicks, or the Bucks, or the Bobcats are the worse team, but if you look at history and recent seasons, the Grizzlies are just plain awful.

  • They have ten losing seasons out of 13 seasons of existence.
  • They never reached 30 wins in any of those ten losing seasons.
  • The three times they were actually in the playoffs, they were swept, which means they have a 0-12 playoff record.
  • They have a franchise regular season record of 340-694
  • In the past two seasons, they have a record of 44-120.

Now, when did they start losing so badly?  Well, it actually started when they were first formed as the Vancouver Grizzlies.  The Grizzlies, whether in Vancouver or Memphis, just were never very good. 

Until 2001, they were just a laughing stock.  They mad bad personell decisions and poor player signings. 

In 2001, they drafted future NBA All-Star Pau Gasol.  They then named former Laker star Jerry West General Manager.  It looked like the franchise was beginning to turn around because from 2004-2006 they made three straight post seasons. 

However, in 2007 they went 22-60, and in 2008 they traded away the only All-Star they ever had, Pau Gasol, for NBA draft bust Kwame Brown. 


The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the worse, if not the worse, franchise in pro-baseball for as long as many of us can remember.  Some may say, "Well, they don't have a chance because they're in the same division as some big-market teams like St. Louis and Chicago." 

Yeah, but the Pirates don't even finish .500. 

The Pirates have seven 100-loss seasons in their franchise and only two 100-win seasons.

But the question is, when did the Pirates become so bad?

In the 80's, the Pirates had the "Outfield of Dreams" which included Barry Bonds.  They were even considered contenders under Jim Leyland in the late 80's.  But in 1993, everything changed, eventually leading to the embarrassing Pirates franchise that we know today.

In 1993, Jim Leyland opted to manage a younger club instead of the veteran club he had the past few years.  In choosing to do this, Leyland also chose to get rid of Major League's Baseball eventual home run Champion, Barry Bonds. 

Since that year, the Pirates have struggled and finished last or close to last in the NL Central.  They have gone 15 years since having a winning record.


Though a young team, the NHL's worse franchise in this past decade or so has been the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The Blue Jackets were founded in 2000 and has yet to find any success in the NHL.

When did they become such a bad team? Probably when they were founded.  

Since they joined the NHL, the Blue Jackets have never finished higher than third in their division, thus being the only team in the NHL to never make the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

They may have never been able to find success because they are yet to get a big-name player who is both talented and who has post season success.

Yeah, they had Federov who won the Stanley Cup with the Redwings, but he never fit Columbus's system.  They have Nash, who's a good player, but is no Zetterberg.

If you look at the past Stanley Cup Finals, you can see both the Wings and Penguins had several big name players who had talent.


There is no question who the worse franchise is in the NFL.  I mean, it could be a question on a common sense test, and if you got it wrong, well, that would be hilarious. 

But seriously, the Detroit Lions have been the punch line of every NFL joke, for, a really, really,long time.  I mean, not only have they been the worse team in the league as of the past few seasons, but they have been one of the worse, forever!

Now, in the 90's, they were OK.  I mean, they weren't Superbowl material, but they were o.k.  But what has made them worse than an AFL Team today?  Well, let's just look at their history. 

  • They have one playoff win since their last NFL Championship, which was in 1957.

Yeah, that's it.  That's the exact reason why, as a franchise as a whole, the Lions are horrible.  But here are a few more that have made the Lions worse then any franchise in sports in recent memories.

  • In 1999, the great Barry Sanders unexpectedly retired, leaving the Lions shocked.
  • After finishing the 2000-2001 season at nine and seven and barely missing the playoffs, Lion's owner William Clay Ford Sr. hired Matt Millen, a former player and broadcaster, as President to take the Lions to the Superbowl.
  • During Millen's first three years, they went 0-24 on the road. 
  • In 2002, Matt Millen choose Joey Harrington to become his quarterback of the future.  In 2008, Joey Harrington will be playing for the Atlanta Falcons.  That basically tells you, things didn't work out in Detroit for him.
  • Matt Millen signed a five-year extension with the Lions, despite recording a 31-81 record.

So, if you want to try to figure out what went wrong with the Lions, well, they signed their 31-81 President to a five year extension.  Hey, at least he never went win-less.