Friday, November 28, 2008

The Most God-Awful Franchises in Sports

Watching what passed for football yesterday, the thought came....there are some sports franchises, that, year after year, just stink. They aren't at all fun to watch—you just end up feeling embarrassed and let down. Even in the rare cases, when these franchises happen to be winning a ballgame, deep down you feel a rumbling of doom, as you wait, painfully, for the shoe to drop, for the interception, the rejection, the wild pitch, the whatever to occur, and the inevitable loss. These kind of teams that make you want to kick yourself in the head. They are, in a phrase, God-awful.

Here's a short list of the worst franchises in sports and what makes them so awful.

Atlanta Hawks
This franchise must thank God every day for the Clippers. Just god awful. Were it not for Dominique Williams, would NBA fans even know there was a franchise in Atlanta?

• Their last Conference Title was in 1961
• Their last Championship was in 1958.
• Before last season's first round exit, their last playoff game was in 1999. And that's in the NBA where everybody makes the playoffs.
• Despite having four first round picks in 1999 draft, whiffed on all 4,
• Traded Rasheed Wallace for Bobby Sura, center Zeljko Rebraca, and forward Chris Mills.
• In 1994, traded Dominique Wilkens for Danning Manning, who left at the end of the season.
have not made it past the conference semifinals since 1970.
• Despite consistently drafting high, they hold the longest drought of not drafting an All-Star or Pro Bowl player in North American pro sports (23 years), going back to their 1984 selection of Kevin Willis.
• Once gave Jon Koncak a 6-year, 13 million dollar contract or more than Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson were earning.
• Holds the record for most consecutive 50-loss seasons (four).
• Also has the 2nd longest run (behind the Rochester/Cincinnati/Kansas City/Sacramento Kings) of not winning an NBA title (49 years).

Detroit Lions
A instant groan every Thanksgiving. Just model of failure. A main cause of hockey being the most important sport in an old-time football town. Here's some of their failures.

• Since 1957, their last championship, they have won one playoff game. Yup. One win in 51 years. • They went from 2001 through 2003 without a road win.
• They drafted wide receivers three years in a row, and 4 in 5 years, including Charles Rogers over Andre Johnson (36 career receptions to 452 and counting), and Mike Williams over DeMarcus Ware and Shawn Merriman.
• Kept Matt Millen as GM from 2000 to 2008, despite compiling a .227 winning percentage with no signs of improvement at all.
• Have appeared on Monday Night Football 25 times. By comparison, fellow conference-mates, the Packers have been on 50 times, the Vikings have been on 48 times and the Chicago Bears have been on 50 times. The Lions last appeared on MNF October 8th, 2001.
• Last appeared in 1st place in their division at the end of the season in 1993.

Pittsburgh Pirates
It breaks my heart a little to see these guys here. Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, Doug Drabek, even Bonds and Bonilla....these were guys that, growing up, epitomized the Pirates as a tough baseball town.

Alas, not any more. having not had a winning season in 15 years, tying the 1933-1948 Philadelphia Phillies as the longest in the four major professional sports leagues, the Pirates are in perpetual "rebuilding mode." And they can no longer cry poverty, as Tampa, Oakland, and the Twins have built successful franchises within a small market, proving mismanagement as the main culprit. Here's some folly.

• Traded Aramis Ramirez for nothing
• Wasted what money they had signing Jeromy Burnitz and traded for Matt Morris
• Picked Bobby Bradley in the 1999 MLB Draft, just ahead of Barry Zito and Ben Sheets
• Picked Bryan Bullington with 1st pick of 2002 draft. B.J. Upton was picked next.
• Despite picking in the top half of the MLB Draft every year since 1992, Baseball America last year called the Pirate minor league system the fifth worst in baseball.
• Have ranked 15th or 16th in attendance out of the National League's 16 teams since 2004.

Arizona Cardinals
Just who the heck in the NFL's scheduling department put both the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals on the same Thanksgiving day? I understand the Lions are a tradition, but why then schedule the Cardinals on Thanksgiving—a franchise that hasn't played in a championship game since 1948? Come on.

• Have a 2-5 postseason record. That despite being the oldest professional franchise in football.
• Has not had a winning season since 1998.
• Have had only 2 above .500 seasons since 1984
• Despite picking high in the draft year after year, consistently, one of the worst drafting teams in football. Recent draft picks include draft picks, Tommy Knight, Wendell Bryant (picked before Albert Haynesworth) and Andre Wadsworth.
• Players drafted by the Cardinals often don't accomplish much until after leaving the franchise. Leonard Davis made his 1st Pro bowl in his first year with the Cowboys in 2007. Calvin Pace is having the best season of career in his first year as a Jet. Jake Plummer become a big time QB only when he left Arizona for Denver. Thomas Jones was a first round bust until he left for Tampa Bay when he raised his YPC a full yard.

L.A. Clippers
Just the pinnacle of awfulness. Not only having to share an arena with the Lakers (and seeing the trophies, the pictures of Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Kobe, but having to live with the knowledge that you will never, ever, win anything yourself. here's a list of infamy.

• Drafting Michael Olowokandi from Pacific University 1st overall, over Dirk Nowitski, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce.
• Have had only one season above .500 season in the last 15 years, and only 3 since 1979.
• Since 1970, have made the playoffs only 7 times, including missing the playoffs for the 1980s.
• Drafted Danny Ferry, who left the country to go play basketball in Italy rather than be a Clipper.
• The oldest franchise in the NBA never to appear in a Finals.
• The Clippers have a .365 winning percentage, since their inception.
• Defined in as "retarded."

OK, folks, that's the list. I know I left a bunch of franchises out, so write in with your worst franchises in the comment section.


Travis said...

My favorite is still the Clippers. I remember one of those ESPN shows from a few years ago about the worst teams of all-time, and the commentator said, "The Clippers, not the '84 Clippers, or the '92 Clippers. Just the Clippers."

and even though they just won the World Series. How about the Phillies. 126 seasons, 2 championships. 72 losing seasons.

blmeanie said...

I think you can add the Nationals/Expos onto the list.

Their highlight as a franchise?

"Winning" the World Series less 1994, have we heard how great they were that year before?

Currently managment it doing all it can to continue the spiral (down).