The New York Yankees. The Dallas Cowboys. The Los Angeles Lakers.
Each of those teams inspires visions of grandeur and represents the pinnacle of sporting achievement. They are teams who have established themselves as a relevant force in their sport for the distant future.
Then there's the bottom feeders.
For every Yankee, there is a Kansas City Royal. For every Cowboy, there is a Jacksonville Jaguar. For every Laker, there is a Los Angeles Clipper waiting to take the Staples Center court, as well as a host of other teams that aren't just bad, but reach new levels of futility.
Here are ten of these teams.
I was debating back and forth between whether or not I should put the Wizards or the Charlotte Bobcats on this list. I eventually went with the Wizards for the 10-spot, because:
1. Charlotte is still a fairly young team.
2. They didn't have their star player arrested for gun possession.
Like other teams I will later mention on this list, the Wizards have an opportunity to remove themselves sometime in the near future.
John Wall is a budding young talent who will eventually begin to exhibit Derrick Rose-type of ability. For now though, the lack of talent and national interest keeps the franchise down a few pegs.
As an avid Mariners fan myself, it really pains me to put this team on the list.
However, the Mariners are in a complete state of disarray. When you have a rotation consisting of Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, and since-departed Doug Fister, you would expect to at least come close to approaching .500.
Yet the M's have one of the most historically inept offenses in baseball, and this regressed further this past year when longtime star Ichiro finally started to show his age.
In a few years, this team might begin to make some noise like they did on a yearly basis from 1995-2002. In the meantime, Mariners fans have to be "treated" to a whole bunch of uninspired baseball.
There are only two other teams I can think of that have been as bad as the Royals for as long of a period of time (Unsurprisingly, they'll both be mentioned later on in this countdown).
Once the Tampa Bay Rays finally climbed out of the cellar to become playoff contenders, the title of "Laughingstock of the AL" fell to these boys in blue, who are constantly feeling the blues.
Like the Mariners, though, there is hope for the future. Their farm system is one of the best in the majors. With a little patience and perseverance, the Royals might become the next Rays themselves.
It really sucks to be a sports fan in Missouri at the moment.
The afore-mentioned Royals are inept as always, but now even the once-great football teams (the Kansas City Chiefs [Honorable Mentions for the list] and the St. Louis Rams) are beginning to falter.
There was a glimmer of hope at the start of this season after a gutty rookie year turned in by No. 1 pick Sam Bradford made them contenders for the NFC West crown.
However, the Rams have since reverted back to their pre-Bradford form. The only real offensive threat they have is Steven Jackson, who is oft-injured and at 28 years old, worn down in his own right.
Excluding last year's performance, the Rams have amassed a total of six wins dating back to 2007. That simply won't cut it if you want respect in the NFL.
Hockey simply doesn't work in the Southeast.
As evidenced by the departure of the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets), the sport doesn't hold enough fan appeal for it to be a success in the region.
Such is the case of the Florida Panthers. Apart from their miracle run to the Stanley Cup Final in the '95-'96 season, the Panthers have a lone playoff win in their entire team history dating back to 1993.
They have completely missed the playoffs for 11 seasons in a row, a feat that is hard to accomplish when eight teams are accepted per conference for the postseason.
The Panthers are likely candidates to be the next hockey team to move for colder climes.
It is obvious now that Kevin Garnett meant as much to the Timberwolves as Peyton Manning does to the Colts: Without that player, the team is a shambles.
Sure, the void in one half of the Twin Cities has been partially filled by the emergence of Kevin Love and the hope of finally seeing Ricky Rubio play, but ever since Garnett left for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota has fallen from being an annual title contender into the bottom of the barrel in the NBA.
Watching post-Garnett basketball in Minnesota has become painful to T-Wolves fans, and while they remain in the stacked Western Conference, this ineptitude will continue.
It is quite ironic that the man solely responsible for the failures of the Oakland Raiders franchise might be the inspiration that propels this team to the playoffs this year.
This shows how much Al Davis truly represented the soul of the team—for better or worse. Even though his past successes are to be admired and respected, there is no question that his obsession with fast players and lack of faith in his coaches is what has derailed the team since their Super Bowl run in 2002.
A playoff appearance this year would remove them from the list, but for now the debacle of the past decade is too recent and influential to bump the team any lower.
19 losing seasons in a row.
Contemplate that fact for a moment.
The Pirates have been losers for longer than I have been alive.
For a team with a pedigree to rival any other franchise, the fate of the Pirates is one of the most tragic.
Consistently out-shadowed by their in-state Phillies and Steelers brethren, genuine Pirates fans come few and far between.
After their impressive performance in the first half of the 2011 season, everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon, hoping that they would finally escape that record of futility. But, since they are the Pirates, they let everyone down, and finished the season with a 72-90 record, content to remain mired in ineptitude.
Marvin Lewis might be the greatest coach in NFL history for what he is doing with the Cincinnati Bengals this season.
It is beyond comprehension and understanding how the Bengals are sitting pretty at 4-2, only a half-game back in their division.
One thing for sure is that their successes this year should not be attributed to owner Mike Brown.
Son of the legendary Paul Brown, Mikey exhibits absolutely none of the traits that made his father successful. The aptly-named "Bungals" often lead the league in arrests per year (a title that has been challenged this year by division rival the Steelers), and managed to drive away their franchise QB Carson Palmer.
The only thing that is keeping this team from being 0-16 is the wonderful job done by Lewis and the surprising emergence of rookie quarterback Andy Dalton as an effective NFL starter.
Two words: Donald Sterling. Blake Griffin's dunks may be high-flying and immersed in the spectacular, but that No. 1 draft pick spent on Michael Olowokandi just be scrubbed away.