One of the hardest parts of being passionate about any sports team is that fortune and luck can fluctuate like the stock market, and you experience all the emotional fallout without having any control over the team that makes those emotions happen.
So it might be a little cathartic to check out these nine teams, some of the most pathetic in sports right now. And if you happen to be a fan of one of these teams – cheer up, because there are worse things to be than “pathetic.” Like “evil,” or “dead,” or “Evil Dead.” One of the keys to life is maintaining perspective.
And for the record, we left off the Cubs because at this point, it’s not worth repeating.
Most Pathetic Sports Franchises Right Now
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the longest-running teams in the NFL, which has given them plenty of time to accrue as much name recognition/pity as possible. Their long-standing status as underdogs is enhanced by the fact that it's not unusual for them to make the playoffs, only to lose their first game. Like they say in The Dark Knight Rises, true despondency isn't possible without a little hope.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable franchise in professional hockey, valued at around $1.15 billion. Luckily for the team, that value isn't calculated in Stanley Cup wins, since they haven't brought one home since 1967. Check out the video above. Even The Rock hates them.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Charlotte Bobcats are going to change their name to the Charlotte Hornets for their next season. This is good news, because the Bobcat name seems to be tainted, lending the team nothing but a lot of losing seasons, bad draft picks, and generalized terrible luck.
What can you really say about the Cleveland Browns? They seem to be committed on a fundamental level to the thankless job of failing to distinguish themselves in any way as a professional football time, right down to their blank, logo-less helmets. And they've mostly been successful in that endeavor, staying away from every Super Bowl to date.
There was a time when the Edmonton Oilers were one of the most respected teams in hockey. That time is generally referred to as "the 80s," and since then it's been a long, slow, and pretty pathetic decline. Even after concerted efforts to rebuild, the Oilers still haven't managed to pull it together yet. Maybe one day, guys.
If you measure a team's Pathetic Quotient by how far they've fallen, it might be tough to find a Major League Baseball team that can top the Kansas City Royals in that arena. Since winning the World Series in 1985, the team hasn't made one post-season appearance. The reasons for this are up for debate, but the end result is indisputable: Thinking about the Royals just makes you sad.
Kansas City Royals
If we're going by the dictionary definition of "pathetic," the Orlando Magic deserve at least some of your sympathy since they're from Florida (I'm from Florida too, so I ought to know). But their 20-62 record in the NBA last season, the worst in the league, probably deserves even more pity.
When it comes to mustering up pity for the infamous New York Islanders, it requires some business sense - the business of the NHL Draft, I mean. To put it as simply as possible, the Islanders' oft-maligned General Manager Garth Snow made some terrible trades and lost his team (among other things) a prime first round draft pick. Don't you feel a little sorry for them now?
New York Islanders
Back in 2008, the Detroit Lions made headlines for their completely winless season. Since then, it's been a constant struggle for improvement, and they've managed to at least win some games since that embarrassing year. But for those that remember the glory years of the Lions, it's hard not to feel a little sorry for them.