50 Worst Teams Ever To Win A Championship
Not all championship teams are created equal. Sometimes there are teams that happen to win a title because they are lucky, or perhaps they get hot at the right time, or perhaps they just play one good game.
This list counts down the worst champions of all-time.
Who did we miss? Are any of these teams your favorite team? Let us know what you think.
50. 2003 USC Football
Let me ask you something. Who won the national title in 2003?
If you answered LSU, you are correct.
If you answered USC, you are wrong.
That is something AP voters failed to understand. LSU beat Oklahoma in the BCS championship game. They won the game that is considered the national championship game for college football.
So USC makes this list because it won a championship out of stupidity more than anything else.
49. 2009 New Orleans Saints
Don't get me wrong, the Saints were a good team. But coming into the season, very few people thought they were Super Bowl good.
The Saints defense overperformed much of the season, playing a bend-don't-break style and really took off because of Drew Brees.
In fact, going into the Super Bowl, not many people were focused on the Saints. Much of the media attention was on Peyton Manning winning a second Super Bowl.
48. 1974 USC Football
USC makes my list again.
This time, again as a split champion,it is because the Trojans split with an undefeated Oklahoma team that was the only undefeated team in the country.
Had the two played, Oklahoma's wishbone offense and nearly 74 rushing attempts a game would have beaten up USC.
47. 2006 Italy National Soccer Team
Granted, Italy did play very well in a weak group stage, only conceding one goal (off the foot of an Italian player). But it was, at best, a five seed in the knockout stage.
And in the deciding match, the Italians got lucky when French legend Zinedine Zidane head-butted Italian player Marco Materazzi. Zidane was given a red card and was not allowed to compete in the deciding penalty kicks.
Italy wins because the French captain was an idiot.
46. 1969 New York Mets
Prior to the 1969 season, the Mets had never finished higher than ninth place in a 10-team league.
However, in the 1969 season the Mets became the first expansion team ever to win a World Series.
The team was built on pitching and defense and they made the NL playoffs by just eight games over the Cubs.
In the World Series, the Mets won four straight over the Orioles after dropping Game 1.
45. 1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics
The 1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics won the last meaningless NBA championship.
Prior to the 1979-80 NBA season, the league was dealing with a diluted league with no real superstars that people could relate to. Enter Magic Johnson and then, a year later, Larry Bird.
But in 1978-79, the Sonics won a bad Western Conference and beat a Washington Bullets team that coasted through the playoffs.
Dennis Johnson was really the only person worth mentioning on the Sonics, but he wasn't a star until he got to Boston.
44. 2010 San Francisco Giants
Coming into this season, the Giants were not considered favorites in their division, let alone in the entire league.
In fact, the Giants needed a win on the final day of the regular season to make it into the playoffs. However, the Giants went on to only lose four games in the playoffs against some good teams.
In the opening round, the Giants beat the Braves, a team that won the NL Wild Card and had almost an identical record to the Giants.
In the NLCS, they beat the Phillies, a team that had won the World Series two years before, played in the series a season ago, and was widely considered the favorites to win it again.
Then in the World Series, the Giants beat a Rangers team that was playing in its first World Series. But many thought Texas was a good candidate out of the AL.
This Giants team embraced the fact that many of their players were picked up off the scrap heap and they rode that team-bonding fact to a championship that no one thought they would get.
43. 1995 Atlanta Braves
The 1995 Braves were the first team to win the World Series after the strike-shortened 1994 season.
During a 144-game regular season, the Braves ran away with a terrible National League East in which no other team won more than 69 games.
The star of the Atlanta Braves in 1995 was pitcher Greg Maddux, who won his fourth-straight Cy Young Award.
This Braves team included a group of young, talented players that had not yet come into their own, but this team was the start of Bobby Cox's 11-straight NL East titles.
42. 1967 Green Bay Packers
Since when is a record of 9-4-1 worthy of a Super Bowl win?
But not only did this team win a Super Bowl, it also won an NFL championship in the historic game known as the Ice Bowl.
But this was an aging team that was on its last leg of a dynasty. This team would have been killed by any Packers team from the three years prior to 1967.
41. 1901-02 Sunderland AFC
The 1901-02 Sunderland team has one of the lowest score differentials in the history of British Football.
Sunderland had a plus-15 score differential and won the league crown by just three points over Everton.
40. 1980 Oakland Raiders
The 1980 Oakland Raiders became the first Wild Card team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.
Halfway through the 1980 season, Jim Plunkett became the starter of the Raiders because starting quarterback Dan Pastorini broke his leg against the Kansas City Chiefs.
After starting the season 2-3, when Plunkett became the starter, the Raiders won six in a row and nine of their final 11 to finish the regular season.
The Raiders beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XV, 27-10.
39. 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs
The 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup despite finishing third in a strong NHL with only six teams in the league.
The Maple Leafs only had 75 points, far behind league-leader Chicago, which had 94 points.
The Leafs also had a goal differential of minus-7 and didn't have any player among the league leaders for goals.
However, after upsetting the Blackhawks in Round 1 of the playoffs, the Leafs beat the Montreal Canadians 4-2 in the Stanley Cup finals.
38. 1945 Detroit Tigers
The 1945 Tigers won the American League pennant by a game-and-a-half during a war-time season that saw many of the league's superstars fight overseas in World War II.
The Tigers didn't have a starter who batted over .300 or hit more than 18 homers. Skeeter Webb, the Tigers starting shortstop, was beneath the Mendoza line all season with a .199 average in 118 regular season games.
The Tigers beat the Cubs in the 1945 World Series in what was called "The World's Worst Series" because of how poor each team's roster was due to the war.
37. 2000 Baltimore Ravens
The 2000 Ravens were the epitome of a one-dimensional team. They had an all-world defense and a pretty anemic offense.
The Ravens finished second in their division and were awarded a Wild Card berth and really played unbelievable defense in the playoffs, only giving up 23 points total in four games.
Ray Lewis was awarded Defensive Player of the Year, Jamal Lewis was awarded Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Trent Dilfer won Comeback Player of the Year.
The Tennessee Titans were the closest thing to a dominant team during the 2000 season, but even they were not unbeatable.
36. 1906 Chicago White Sox
The 1906 Chicago White Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series after winning the AL pennant with just 93 wins.
If the Sox had played in the NL, they would have finished third in the league instead of winning the pennant.
The World Series win was a real upset, because the Cubs won an NL-record 116 games, a record that still stands today.
35. 1968 New York Jets
Joe Namath was the only person who genuinely thought the Jets had a chance in Super Bowl III. He even went so far as to guarantee victory over the Baltimore Colts.
In 1968, the Jets played in the AFL, which was considered the red-headed stepchild of the superior NFL.
The win not only made Joe Namath a household name, but it also went a long way toward the merger of the AFL and NFL.
34. 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings
The 1996-97 Red Wings finished second in the Central Division, third in the Western Conference, and actually were only fifth in total points on the season, with 97.
The Red Wings beat a heavily-favored Colorado Avalanche team in the Western Conference finals to reach the Stanley Cup finals.
This Red Wings team had only won 38 games after winning 62 the season before. However, after losing to the Avalanche, the roster was revamped to compete better with Colorado.
33. 2005 Chicago White Sox
I would argue that the 2005 White Sox won the World Series because of a botched dropped third-strike call in the ALCS.
In Game 2 of the ALCS, after an Angels win in Game 1, the White Sox made a comeback after A.J. Pierzynski reached base after a third strike was ruled to hit dirt instead of being caught cleanly.
A batter later, the White Sox won on a walk-off double by Joe Crede.
Had the White Sox lost that game, I would be willing to bet they don't win the World Series.
32. 1993-94 Houston Rockets
This pick is more about principle than whether they were worthy. The way I mean that is simply that the Rockets would not have won the NBA championship if Michael Jordan had not decided to play baseball.
Hakeem Olajuwon was awarded the MVP for the season and was great all year. However, his Rockets were not the dominant team in the West.
The Seattle SuperSonics won 63 games during the 93-94 season but became the first No. 1 seed in NBA history to lose in Round 1 to a No. 8 seed.
31. 2002-03 Syracuse Basketball
The 2002-03 Syracuse team was a third seed in the NCAA tournament and was not really expected to be a threat to win the tourney. However, behind freshman Carmelo Anthony, the Orange beat the Kansas Jayhawks 81-78 in the finals.
The Orange were led by Anthony, fellow freshman Gerry McNamara and super-athletic sophomore Hakim Warrick, from an unranked preseason and an opening-game loss to Memphis to a championship.
Syracuse had a real scare in the Sweet 16, beating No. 10 seed Auburn 79-78.
30. 1994-95 New Jersey Devils
The 1994-94 Devils won just 22 games during a strike-shortened season. They finished second in their division, but fifth in their conference.
In the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils swept the touted Red Wings in four games.
The Devils went on a surprising run after starting the season 9-11-4.
29. 2007 Boston Red Sox
The 2007 Red Sox World Series win is almost the forgotten World Series win. After so much was made of the 2004 Red Sox breaking the curse of the Yankees, the 2007 Sox are still overshadowed by the historical 2004 win.
This Sox team also was overshadowed by a number of other occurrences in the 2007 season like Barry Bonds breaking the home-run mark, the Mets' monumental September collapse, and the Rockies torrid run to the NL Wild Card.
The Sox weren't a bad team, but they were in no way favorites to win the Series and were not the memorable story of the year.
28. 2005-06 Florida Basketball
The 2005-06 Florida Gators started the season unranked but entered the NCAA tournament after winning the SEC tournament.
The Gators had peaked at No. 2 in the country but struggled down the stretch of the regular season and dropped to No. 14 prior to the SEC tournament.
No one viewed the Gators as contenders when the NCAA tournament started.
Many people viewed UConn as the favorites, but the Huskies were upset by 11th-seed George Mason. In fact, this was only the second time in the history of the tournament that none of the No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four.
27. 1902-03 Sheffield Wednesday FC
The 1902-03 Wednesday Football Club, which is now called Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, won the English Soccer league in 1902-03 by just three points. The difference was a tie.
The Owls goal differential was plus-18, which was actually worse than the second-place team, Aston Villa.
26. 2002 Anaheim Angels
Game 7 of the 2002 World Series was by far the most memorable sporting event that I have ever attended, but even I know that the Angels weren't a great team.
My Halos set the franchise record for worst start, but somehow turned their season around to be the AL Wild Card. A lot of people were impressed when the Oakland A's went on a 20-game winning streak, but what many forget is that, during the same stretch, the Angels won 20 of 23.
But like I said, most didn't think the Angels were contenders. However, they became the first ever Wild Card team to win a World Series and did so by beating the Yankees, Twins and Giants in the playoffs.
25. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had always been a bit of a joke around the league after they became the first team in league history to go winless. However, in 2002 they had built a good defense, but they were trying to improve, not necessarily win a Super Bowl.
Prior to the 2002 season, the Bucs fired Tony Dungy and traded for head coach Jon Gruden. In the trade, Tampa Bay gave up two first-round and two second-round picks. A steep price to pay.
24. 2008 Philadelphia Phillies
The 2008 Phillies got into the playoffs because of a shaky Mets bullpen. In a telling stat, if all the Mets games during the 2008 season ended after the eighth inning, the Mets would have won the NL East by 12 games.
Many people thought the Phillies would lose to the Dodgers in the NLCS, but when they advanced to the World Series, even fewer thought they would beat the Tampa Bay Rays.
23. 1996 New York Yankees
The 1996 Yankees were the start of the Yankee dynasty of the 90s. Prior to the '96 season, the Yankees hadn't won a World Series since 1978.
Many of the Yankee legends of recent times were young guns on this team. Current manager Joe Girardi was the starting catcher, Derek Jeter was a young shortstop making a name for himself and Jorge Posada was a young catcher who was fighting for playing time.
22. 2005-06 Miami Heat
In 2006 the Detroit Pistons were widely considered the team to beat in the East, while the Heat were still struggling to assimilate Shaquille O'Neal to the roster.
Throw in the fact that the Heat were dealing with a coaching change from Stan Van Gundy to Pat Riley and the Heat were not a popular pick for an NBA championship.
In the Finals, the Heat overcame an 0-2 hole against the Mavericks to win the franchise's first NBA championship.
21. 2006-07 San Antoinio Spurs
In a season when the Dallas Mavericks were the dominant team, the Spurs flew under the radar for most of the season.
They had won titles in '05, '03, and '99 and it seemed to many observers that the Spurs time as a title contender was over.
However, the Mavericks became just the second top seed to lose to a No. 8 seed in the NBA playoffs and the Spurs got a matchup in the Finals with a young Cavs team led by a baby-faced LeBron James, a team they swept.
20. 2000 New York Yankees
The 2000 New York Yankees lost their last seven games of the regular season and won the AL East with just an 87-74 record.
While this was the Yankees' third-straight World Series title, they were not a dominant team by any stretch of the mind and were the only team to make the playoffs with fewer than 91 wins.
19. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
The 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers were the lowest seed in the 2005 playoffs and had to win three road games in the playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl.
Rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became the youngest player to start at quarterback for a Super Bowl champion.
The running back duo of Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis overperformed in the playoffs and a key trick play really catapulted the Steelers to the Super Bowl crown.
18. 2003-04 Detroit Pistons
The 2003-04 NBA season started with the thought of the Lakers fourth championship in five years when they added legends Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
However, in the finals, the Lakers were tripped-up by the defensive-minded Pistons.
The third-seeded Pistons beat the second-seeded Nets and top-seeded Pacers before taking on the Lakers, a team that was battling turmoil in the clubhouse.
17. 1984 BYU Football
The 1984 BYU Cougars started the season unranked, but that quickly changed after they beat consensus top-10-ranked Pittsburgh.
However, that was the only win over a ranked opponent for the Cougars all season. They did finish the season undefeated, but the quality of opponents that they faced was not championship caliber.
The Cougars won the Holiday Bowl over Michigan.
16. 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins
In the 1991-92 season, the Penguins repeated as Stanley Cup champions. So why are they on the list?
Two reasons: In 1990-91, the Penguins weren't viewed as contenders but somehow came away with the Cup.
In 1991-92, the Penguins finished third in the Patrick Division but somehow turned it on in the playoffs and won a second straight Stanley Cup.
This team shouldn't have won one Cup, let alone two.
15. 1982-83 NC State Basketball
In 1983, NC State was a No. 6 seed that made a magical run behind beloved coach Jim Valvano. In Rounds 1 and 2, the Wolfpack won their two games by a total of three points. In fact, the Sweet Sixteen was the only round the Wolfpack won by more than seven.
In the championship game, NC State was matched up against power house Houston and Hakeem Olajuwon. The game came down to a buzzer-beating dunk by Lorenzo Charles.
The most memorable thing about the game was after the winning shot, watching Valvano run around the court looking for someone to hug.
14. 1998-99 San Antonio Spurs
The 1998-99 season was a lockout-shortened season and it was the first season after Michael Jordan retired from the Bulls. Many experts thought the Jazz would be the team to beat after falling in the last two NBA Finals.
A few others thought the Lakers could make a leap as a great Western Conference team. However, the Spurs emerged as an undervalued team that built on their success in the 1999 playoffs to win three more championships in the next eight years.
13. 1974-75 Golden State Warriors
During an era when the Eastern Conference was the dominant conference, the Warriors were able to steal an NBA championship despite only winning 48 games.
The 1974-75 Warriors were led by all-world jerk Rick Barry, who constantly berated his teammates.
The Warriors swept the heavily-favored Bullets who had played in a much tougher Eastern Conference playoffs.
12. 2009 Real Salt Lake
The 2009 Real Salt Lake team finished the regular season with a losing record of 11-12-7. It finished fifth in the Western Conference and qualified for the MLS playoffs as the eighth and final team.
In the playoffs, Real Salt Lake beat the top-overall seeded Columbus Crew twice to advance to the second round against Chicago Fire, which it beat in penalty kicks, before advancing to the MLS Cup against favorite LA Galaxy.
In the MLS Cup, Real Salt Lake took on the LA Galaxy and the MLS' two biggest stars, David Beckham and MVP Landon Donovan. The game went to a shootout and Salt Lake won the MLS Cup because of a missed penalty kick by Donovan.
11. 1984-85 Villanova Basketball
The 1984-85 Villanova Wildcats became the lowest-seeded team to ever win an NCAA championship when they did so as a No. 8 seed.
The Wildcats were huge underdogs in the NCAA finals when they took on top-ranked Georgetown and Patrick Ewing.
In the championship game, the Wildcats shot an incredible 78.5 percent from the floor, only missing six shots in the game. A perfect game-plan was the only reason for a Nova win.
10. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks were in just their fifth year of existence, but with the pitching duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the D-Backs put together a good season.
However, the story of the 2001 season was the Seattle Mariners, a team that won 116 games but failed to pass the Yankees in the playoffs.
In the World Series, the Yankees were considered heavy favorites but fell to Arizona in a seven-game classic in which Luis Gonzalez had a walk-off hit.
9. 1997 Florida Marlins
In 1997, the Marlins surpassed the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the playoffs and the dominant Atlanta Braves in the second round of the playoffs.
In the World Series, the Marlins were facing the Cleveland Indians.
The series went to seven games and the Marlins, just four years into their existence, won their first World Series.
8. 1994-95 Houston Rockets
Another example of a team that wouldn't have sniffed an NBA championship had Jordan decided to stick with basketball. The 1994-95 Rockets won just 47 games. They finished third in their division and sixth in the Western Conference.
However, in the Finals they were matched up with a young Orlando Magic team. The real matchup for the series was Hakeem Olajuwon against Shaquille O'Neal. Hakeem killed Shaq in pretty much every game.
7. 1987 Minnesota Twins
The 1987 Minnesota Twins won 85 games during an era without a dominant American League team and took on a Cardinals team that won 10 more games than the Twins in a seven- game World Series.
After winning the first two games at home, the Twins lost their next three, all in St. Louis.
Down three games to two, the Twins needed to sweep their remaining games at home to win the series. Needless to say, they did so.
6. 2001 New England Patriots
In 2000, the Patriots had finished fifth in their conference and were not expected to do a lot better in 2001. However, when franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe was knocked out of the second game of the season, second-year player Tom Brady stepped in to the starting lineup. He led the Pats to an 11-5 record and the second seed in the AFC.
The Pats defense and offense were both considered very average units that over performed when they got in the playoffs and somehow ended up in a Super Bowl against the Rams, who were known as "the Greatest Show on Turf."
5. 1985 Kansas City Royals
The 1985 Royals were winners of 91 games and were led by Cy Young-winner Bret Saberhagen. However, the Royals were considered huge underdogs in the World Series when they were matched up with in-state rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Royals overcame an 0-2 start in the series to win in seven games.
4. 2006 St. Louis Cardinals
The 2006 Cardinals were not considered favorites when the playoffs rolled around. They had struggled with losing months in June, August and September, but somehow the Cardinals advanced out of the National League to the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.
In the World Series, the Cardinals took their 83 wins and went up against extreme favorites, the Detroit Tigers a team that had won 95 games. However, the Cardinals took the series in five games against an under-performing Tigers team.
3. 2007 New York Giants
The 2007 New York Giants were considered an average football team at best. However, a magical playoff run saw them matched up against the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl matchup was a rematch of a Week 17 matchup that the Patriots won 38-35.
The Super Bowl was expected to be another win for the Patriots. However, an incredible pass from Eli Manning to David Tyree set up the game-winning touchdown.
2. 2007 LSU Football
The only thing that you need to know about what sets this LSU team apart from the other BCS champions is that this is the only team to win a BCS championship with two losses.
The Tigers lost in triple overtime against No. 18 Kentucky and lost in triple overtime again against Arkansas, a team that was not ranked.
1. 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers
The only way to explain this pick is to show you their starting lineup and their key stats.
C Mike Scoiscia - .257 avg 3 HR 35 RBI
1B Franklin Stubbs - .223 avg 8 HR 34 RBI
2B Steve Sax - .277 avg. 5 HR 57 RBI
SS Alfredo Griffin - .199 avg 1 HR 27 RBI
3B Jeff Hamilton - .236 avg 6 HR 33 RBI
LF Kirk Gibson - .290 avg 25 HR 76 RBI MVP
CF John Shelby - .263 avg 10 HR 64 RBI
RF Mike Marshall - .277 avg 20 HR 82 RBI
P Orel Hershiser - 23-8 2.26 ERA 178 SO Cy Young
OK, a few things. Those batting averages are terrible for a World Series team in modern baseball. Orel Hershiser was dominant and had a streak of 59-and-one-third scoreless-innings that carried a mediocre baseball team. Lastly, Kirk Gibson was an MVP. Really? He also only had one World Series at bat and it was a home run that, for whatever reason, put a steak in the heart of the far-superior Oakland A's.