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10 Most Irrelevant Teams in Sports

Jarrad SaffrenCorrespondent IMay 27, 2011

10 Most Irrelevant Teams in Sports

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 17:  Starting pitcher Tim Stauffer #46 of the San Diego Padres stands on the mound with teammates before being removed from the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizon
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    It’s the daily struggle that defines a free-spirited capitalist society.  It’s a struggle defined by the subconscious mental track of a surrounding system of consumer judges.  It’s the struggle to be relevant.  In a sporting context, relevance is a figurative cross between historical and modern contexts. 

    For example, the Philadelphia 76ers are a mediocre NBA franchise.  They have no front-line superstar and they’re lucky if they fill half the arena against an average opponent.  But the Sixers have also left an indelible stamp on the history of the NBA.  Wilt Chamberlain redefined the center position as a Sixer.  Julius Erving introduced the concept of playing “above the rim” as a Sixer.  Philadelphia’s two championship teams (1966-67, 1982-83) are two of the most legendary single season forces in NBA history.  So even though they haven’t won a playoff series in seven years, the Sixers will never be in the bottom tier of teams that come to mind when you think of the NBA. 

    An even better example are the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Pirates have suffered a modern sporting record of 18 consecutive losing seasons.  Postseason baseball is about as foreign to a Pirates fan as sobriety and motorcycle helmets are to Ben Roethlisberger.  But their streak is so epically futile that Pittsburgh has become impossible to ignore.  Sports Illustrated dedicated a five-page article last August to the current state of the franchise.  That’s more pages then the eventual World Series champion Giants got all season.  

    As the Pirates and Sixers represent, it’s harder to stay irrelevant than to become relevant.  You can be a historical juggernaut, a current champion or a talented title contender.  You can have the No. 1 draft pick, get caught in a controversy or be mired in an epic title drought.  Once you’re relevant, you’ll hang onto that point of relevance as a historical reference point.  The challenge is pinpointing the irrelevant teams.

    Even in an era where relevance can stretch as far as a gunfight in the locker room (Washington Wizards) or a century-long title drought inspired by a mythical Billy goat (Chicago Cubs), these teams are never quite important enough to push themselves to a subconscious forefront.  But I’m going to do it anyway.

10. Milwaukee Bucks

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    23 Jan 2001: The Milwaukee Bucks mascot waves the team flag during the game against the New York Knicks at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bucks defeated the Knicks 105-91.    NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights A
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The rare franchise whose material shortcomings are capable of outweighing a mild semblance of historical substance. 

    But perpetually ugly uniforms, a perpetually boorish nickname and a perpetually irrelevant home city is too much for that glorious 1971 title team (featuring Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson) to overcome.                                                  

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    09 Sep 2001:  A replacement official discusses a call with Jaguar Head Coach Tom Coughlin during the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.  The Jaguars defeated the Steelers 21-3. DIG
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    It’s hard to be irrelevant in a league as popular as the NFL. 

    But when the biggest legends in your history are Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell...  

8. Colorado Rockies

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    DENVER, CO - MAY 10:  Dramatic skies loom over the stadium as the sun sets as the New York Mets face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Before their 2007 World Series run, the Rockies were known solely as the only steroid-era team where the players only needed to juice on the road (ahem, Coors Field).             

7. Milwaukee Brewers

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    PHOENIX - MARCH 05:  Fans compete in the sausage race during a break from action at the MLB spring training game between the Oakland Athletics and the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 5, 2005 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Brewers won 3-1.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    They’ve switched leagues as many times (once) as they’ve won their division. 

    In the first seven years of Miller Park (before the team's 2008 playoff appearance), the sausage races garnered more highlights on Baseball Tonight than the actual team. 

6. San Diego Padres

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 17:  Starting pitcher Tim Stauffer #46 of the San Diego Padres stands on the mound with teammates before being removed from the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizon
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Petco Park?  Seriously?

5. Golden State Warriors

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 3:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Golden State Warriors elevates for a dunk in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Dallas Mavericks during the 2007 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2007 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    From the “Run T-M-C” days of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin to the early 90s team featuring Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell to even the early 00s bunch featuring Jason Richardson, Antwan Jamison and Gilbert Arenas, the Warriors California history is like a trash dump of unfulfilled athletic potential.   

4. Phoenix Coyotes

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    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Head Coach Wayne Gretzky of the Phoenix Coyotes manages his team from behind the bench during his game against the St. Louis Blues on February 28, 2009 at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Get
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Quick.  Name one thing that stands out about this franchise besides the fact that Wayne Gretzky spent five embarrassing seasons trying to prove that great players can be great coaches. 

    But the Great One is the only reason the Coyotes warrant their own spot…  

3. Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers

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    UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 17:  A large American flag is unfurled prior to the game between the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Nassau Coliseum on November 17, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. The Lightning defeated the Islanders 4-2. (Pho
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Just a shout-out to the NHL’s failure to spread its sport to regions that never cared in the first place.

2. Every MLS Franchise Besides LA Galaxy

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    CARSON, CA - MAY 25:   The Houston Dynamo starting eleven pose for a photo before the game with the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on May 25, 2011 in Carson, California.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Soccer in the US?  Why don’t we try democracy in the Middle East while we're at it?  

1. Florida Panthers

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    SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 31: Michal Repik #32 of the Florida Panthers is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators on March 31, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Floridians won’t even sit outside to watch the Marlins. 

    Why would they go inside to watch a hockey game? 

    Would you vacation in Antarctica if you lived in Hawaii?                

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