The Dolphins haven’t won a championship in 45 years, the Panthers last won a hockey playoff series 22 seasons ago and the Marlins haven’t made the postseason in 13 years or had a winning record in 10. The Heat, which failed to make the playoffs, champion South Florida sports sort of by default.
So today we accentuate the positive by emphasizing the negative. What’s that about misery loves company? Sure, we’re bad, but we’re not the worst!
The Dolphins’ title drought? Of 123 teams in the Big Four sports, astonishingly, 11 are experiencing an even longer drought, and 12 others have played more seasons without ever winning a championship. See. It isn’t so bad! Crank up that song! “And when you say Miami...”
And the Panthers’ 22 seasons since advancing in the playoffs? That doesn’t even make the top five for such futility.
The Marlins’ current streaks of 13 years out of the playoffs and 10 without a winning record — these aren’t the worst, either.
We present the Sultans of Stinking, a nationwide search for the sports fans who have the right to feel the most miserable about the state of their team, or at least the most impatient. We added up how many seasons it has been since each team last won a championship, last played for one, last advanced in the playoffs, last made the playoffs and last had winning record. This was only in that city, so if a franchised moved — like the Arizona Cardinals — the misery started when the team arrived in Phoenix.
The higher the number, the stinkier your team. Let’s go!
Sports Fan Misery Index Leaderboard: 1. Detroit LIons 153 points; 2. Cleveland Browns 149; 3. Seattle Mariners 123; 4. New York Jets 119; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs 116; 6. tie, Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Padres 115; 8. Pittsburgh Pirates 112; 9. tie, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings 109. Others unfortunately in the Hundred Club: Minnesota Vikings 105, Buffalo Bills 103, Kansas City Chiefs 101, Miami Dolphins 101 and Phoenix Suns 100.
Five worst by sport:
NFL: Detroit Lions 153, Cleveland Browns 149, New York Jets 119, Cincinnati Bengals 115, Minnesota Vikings 105. Note: Dolphins at 101 tie for seventh worst.
NBA: Atlanta Hawks 109, Sacramento Kings 109, Phoenix Suns 100, Denver Nuggets 95, Milwaukee Bucks 93. Note: Heat scores 16 points; only the Warriors, Cavaliers and Spurs score better. Bucks will leave this notorious list should they reach the Finals.
MLB: Seattle Mariners 123, San Diego Padres 115, Pittsburgh Pirates 112, Cincinnati Reds 94, Milwaukee Brewers 90. Note: Marlins tie for eighth worst with 74.
NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs 116, Buffalo Sabres 95, Florida Panthers 73, Vancouver Canucks 72, New York Islanders 69.
By category, each featuring top 10 including ties:
Most seasons since previously winning a championship: 65: Cleveland Indians; 61: Detroit Lions; 53: Buffalo Bills (AFL/NFL); 51: Cleveland Browns and Toronto Maple Leafs; 50: New York Jets; 49: Kansas City Chiefs; 48: Milwaukee Bucks; 46: Indiana Pacers (ABA/NBA) and New York Knicks; 45: Miami Dolphins.
Most seasons without ever winning a championship: 58: Minnesota Vikings ; 53: Atlanta Falcons; 52: Denver Nuggets; 51: Atlanta Hawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Phoenix Suns, St. Louis Blues and San Diego Padres; 50: Milwaukee Brewers; 48: Buffalo Sabres, Texas Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.
Most seasons since last appearing in a championship game or finals: 61: Detroit LIons; 51: Atlanta Hawks* and Toronto Maple Leafs; 50: Cleveland Browns and New York Jets; 49: Kansas City Chiefs; 45: Milwaukee Bucks; 43: Denver Nuggets and Seattle Mariners*; 42: Minnesota Vikings. Asterisks indicate no such appearances. (Note: Dolphins’ 34-season gap ties for 16th).
Most seasons since last winning a playoff game or series: 28: Cincinnati Bengals; 27: Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Pirates; 24: Cincinnati Reds; 23: Buffalo Bills; 22: Florida Panthers; 21: Cleveland Browns and San Diego Padres; 18: Atlanta Braves, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Mariners.
Most seasons since last making the playoffs: 18: Seattle Mariners: 16: Cleveland Browns and Miami Marlins; 13: Sacramento Kings and San Diego Padres; 11: Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 9: Phoenix Suns; 8: Buffalo Sabres, New York Jets and Philadelphia Phillies.
Most seasons since last winning record: 13: Sacramento Kings; 11: Cleveland Browns; 10: Miami Marlins; 9: San Diego Padres; 8: Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Phillies; 7: Arizona Coyotes and Chicago White Sox; 6: Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
Teams the rest of the country hates (Best-scoring teams in each league by our measure): Golden State Warriors 1; Washington Capitals 3; Boston Red Sox 5 and New England Patriots 5. Booo!
This might not make you feel better about the state of your team, South Florida. Just know that lots of other folks elsewhere can commiserate and feel your pain.