Longest Droughts in Sports

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inaisnsIn the wake of the Chicago Cubs’ World Series win versus the Cleveland Indians on November 2nd, which ended a 108 season drought, it may be worthwhile to look at both the MLB and other leagues around the world to see which other franchises have struggled to win a championship. For starters, following the Cubs’ win, it is ironically the Cleveland Indians who now hold the longest drought in the MLB, with their last World Series win in 1948, 68 years ago.

 

 

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Cubs celebrate their 2016 World Series win via ESPN

 

In the MLB itself, there are still 8 franchises that have never won a World Series, all expansion franchises – the Rangers, Astros, Brewers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Rockies and Rays. 4 of these franchises were located elsewhere in the past, and have had a generally weak following, which is one of the consequences of being an expansion team.

mapleleafsIn the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs hold the record for the longest drought, followed by the St. Louis Blues. 12 franchises in the NHL have never won a Stanley Cup, and all of these teams are expansion teams. The Sharks would have won their first Cup last year, but lost to the Penguins last year, unfortunately. As for teams who have been doing rather rough as of late, the Oilers have not reached the post-season in 10 seasons, and the Hurricanes have not reached the post-season in 7 seasons.

 

In the NFL, there are actually 8 teams tied for the longest drought for the Super Bowl crown, who have all not won in 50 years. These are the Cardinals, Lions, Eagles, Titans, Chargers, Bills, Vikings, and Falcons. The Browns, Jaguars, Bengals, Panthers, and Texans have shorter droughts, but still have never won a Super Bowl.

kingsIn the NBA there are also 12 teams who have never won a championship title. The Sacramento Kings have the longest championship drought dating back to 1951, and have not won a title in 65 seasons. They are followed by the Hawks, then the Suns, who have never won a title in their 48 NBA seasons.

 

 

Just to take a look at a sport that isn’t a team game: in golf, there has not been a golfer since Bobby Jones in 1930 who won all four major tournaments in a year. Tiger Woods came awfully close, winning three majors in one year then the Master’s the next year, but even he was not able to win all four major tournaments at the peak of his career. In a sport like golf where one extra swing can cost you a major championship, is it even possible to be so consistent versus the top golfers in the world to win four of these majors? Time will tell, but I would argue it would take a miracle.

Bobby Jones with his four trophies.

Bobby Jones with his four trophies.

In sports, teams that fail to perform can often be locked into a cycle of failure. A consistently underperforming team will lose the hype and fanbase sometimes necessary for a good season, and the profitability lost from less tickets sold will directly affect the money put back into the team to purchase players and create a brand. It is no surprise that newer teams do not have the fanbase necessary to sustain a successful franchise, and sometimes it takes one breakout player or a good collection of players to jumpstart a team. As seen by the amount of teams who have not won a championship ever, some franchises just have not had that start quite yet.

About the author

Harry Kuperstein is 17 years old, hails from Southborough, MA and is a VI Former at St. Mark's School. He will be attending Johns Hopkins University as a member of the Class of 2021, majoring in Neuroscience. He is a captain of the school's boys JV soccer team and robotics team. He is interested in investment strategies, and all things science and writing. Unsure of the future, but motivated and driven, he aims for nothing but success, whatever “success” means.

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