It's a conversation that inevitably comes up when you talk to your friends or to any sports fan in general. You share your sporting allegiances, vent about their struggles and argue about whether you have it worse than your friend's favorite team. OK, maybe you don't argue as much as you come to the realization that your sports team has let you down, but you still talk about it.
And yet, there are some times when a fan of a team that has been particularly bad steps up and shuts down any argument. Immediately, you know that they win this round. Perhaps you make fun of them for continuing to support their team through so much pain. Perhaps you feel sympathy for them because you know that you couldn't quit your favorite team if you were in your friend's shoes. Either way, you go down the path of noting the unique psychology of sports fandom that only other diehard sports fans truly understand.
Here at SB Nation, we root for a variety of teams, both successful and not. There are times when they give you joy and times when they give you sorrow. Most of us are lucky to have experienced some of both this calendar year.
However, there are some who have experienced far more of the former than the latter. Over the next few days, we're going to count down the 16 teams that have done just that. With the help of SBNation.com's editors and our wonderful team bloggers, we will be unveiling the "Could Be Worse" index of 2012.
Maybe it'll help you end the inevitable argument of which fanbase truly has the most reason to vent. Maybe it'll help put your own team's struggles into perspective. Maybe it'll just amuse you. If you're a fan of one of these 16 teams, maybe it'll just provide some sort of closure on just how awful 2012 has been.
Regardless, we hope you enjoy the countdown. A few caveats before we begin.
- Save for a few exceptions where events of past years directly related to what happened this year, this list only discusses what happened in 2012. The fact that the Red Sox have won two titles in the last 10 years doesn't change that 2012 was not fun for Red Sox fans.
- We tried our best to weigh in-game incompetence, failed expectations and off-field tragedy appropriately. Obviously, it's tough to equate the third factor with the previous two, and we understand the difficulty in comparing all three. Just know that this is a list of which fanbase suffered the most in 2012, not necessarily which franchise.
- Most importantly, all 16 of these fanbases had rough years. Some were a little rougher than others, but each of these fanbases are on this list for a reason. You should feel bad for what these fans had to go through this year.