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Cleveland won a championship. What is the new saddest sports town?

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Cleveland is happy! So who is sad?

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After over 50 long, long, long, long, LONG years, Cleveland’s title drought is over. The Cleveland Cavaliers are champions of the world, and all the disappointments -- from the Shot to the Drive, from Jose Mesa to Johnny Manziel -- have been washed away. The saddest sports city in American can finally smile.

But now that Cleveland is happy, somebody must take their spot. Who will we mock when we need somebody to mock? Which city will end the sentence "Well hey, at least we’re not "XXXXXXX?"

We analyzed which cities have waited the longest for anything good to happen, and asked fans from some sad sports towns to briefly explain why theirs is the city deserving of pity. We also asked a Boston sports fan, just to annoy the hell out of you.

Please carry on the debate in the comments -- we want to know why you're sad!

(Unless otherwise noted, city arguments are written by Rodger Sherman)

Washington D.C., by Brittany Cheng

I’m 21, and in my lifetime, none of the D.C.’s "Big Four" sports teams have won a title. You know a city is bad at sports when people brag about how they called it when their teams get eliminated. Collectively, we’re de-sensitized after watching three dozen coaches attempt to lead D.C. to its first title since 1992 and having only one finals appearance (does it even count if they were swept?).

It’s so bad that all the worst moments blend together. But my (least) favorites: when Wizards forward Michael Ruffin foolishly and prematurely threw away the ball in a move that’s only good for SportsCenter’s Not Top 10. When the 2010 President’s Trophy-winning Capitals were eliminated in the first round by coughing up a 3-1 series lead (and let's not be reminded of this year's team either). When the Nationals relinquished their six-run lead in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS. And don’t get me started on the misfortunes of the football team — RG3, Albert Haynesworth and Sean Taylor, to name a few — with the unlikable owner and a name that SB Nation doesn’t recognize.

The problem is that not only do the major professional teams suck, but fans invariably break their banks trying to go to these games. Annually ticket prices just keep. going. up. with zero progress. The Caps (41 seasons) have never won the Stanley Cup. The Nats (46 seasons dating back to the Expos) have never won a World Series. The only title the Wizards won was in 1978. (They were the Bullets then.)

But the saddest part about D.C. as a sports town? Unlike other areas that are united behind their teams, like Philly or Buffalo, D.C. is a city of transients. A D.C. title won’t bring about a cultural moment like the feat in Cleveland. The next day, we’ll probably just go back to yelling at one another to walk on the left and stand on the right on Metro escalators.

Buffalo, by Peter Berkes

Buffalo and Cleveland share a lot of common traits. They’re old Rust Belt cities that were ravaged by the loss of manufacturing over the past 50 years, they’re made fun of relentless by people across the country as cold, desolate ghost towns, and they have a bunch of really horrible sports teams. But now that Cleveland finally won something, it’s time Buffalo took its rightful turn in the spotlight as America’s most tortured sports city.

That’s hard to do with only two professional sports teams, but the Bills and Sabres have provided more than their fair share of misery over the years. This applies mostly to the Bills. The Sabres have had their high moments of misery, namely the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals which ended on a goal that shouldn’t have counted. But it’s the Bills that are responsible for the lion’s share of the fatalism that plagues Buffalo sports fans. They won a pair of AFL titles in the 1960s immediately before the Super Bowl era, and outside of that and their Super Bowl runs in the early 1990s, they have been uniformly terrible. They made the playoffs once in a 13-year stretch from 1967-1980, and have now gone 16 straight seasons and counting without a playoff appearance. I’m 31, and the last time the Bills were in the playoffs, I was in middle school. That game ended with the Music City Miracle.

Oh, and to top it all off? One of the city’s greatest sports heroes was O.J. Simpson.

San Diego

San Diego is a city with no championships. The Chargers have never won the Super Bowl, their loss in the 1995 edition their only championship appearance since the AFL-NFL merger. The Padres have never won the World Series, their losses in the 1984 and 1998 editions their only championship appearances. Their closest connection to an NBA team was the Clippers, who called San Diego home from 1978 to 1984. THE FREAKIN' CLIPPERS.

The city's sports history almost got sadder this past year, as it seemed the Chargers were considering a move to Los Angeles. They stayed! (and went 4-12.)

The city had a legit sports hero in Tony Gwynn, who played baseball and basketball at SDSU, spent his whole career on the Padres even when other teams wanted to pay him more, became one of the greatest hitters of all time, and then after his retirement

San Diego's sports history has been absolutely brutal. On the other hand, it's freakin' gorgeous 365 days a year in San Diego. Go outside and never watch sports again. Us Northeasterners will be trying to burn our various Stanley Cups and Larry O'Brien Trophies for kindling while you bask in beautiful 70-degree December nights.

Atlanta, by Jason Kirk

Our NFL team’s crowning glory was having its Man of the Year award-winner arrested hours before a loss in its only Super Bowl appearance (D.C. has won three Super Bowls BTW). Also, Brett Favre, Michael Vick, Deion Sanders.

Our NBA team’s best season ended in a sweep. Also, we traded our best basketball player ever to the Clippers, back when the Clippers didn’t even try to win games. Meanwhile, our WNBA team has lost three Finals since 2010.

Our MLB team won one title 21 years ago (half as many as Philly ICYMI), losing two World Series before, two World Series after, and many other games otherwise. Basically, every ATL team was terrible until they got OK enough to lose on bigger stages in the 1990s, and the Braves are the peak example.

Our NHL teams keep leaving for Canada. All we ever got in return was Drake ruining a Future album.

Our best boxer got his ear bitten off. We blow up our stadiums and buy new ones every 20 years. WCW lost to WWE. The Olympics turned most of our town into a large mall forever. Our MLS team isn’t even here yet and already has a terrible name. The greatest pro team in state history is the Atlanta Crackers, who won some minor league baseball titles around World War II despite being named "the Atlanta Crackers."

And the sport we care most about, college football, has given our entire state 1.5 top-level national titles since 1952. (Cleveland got to enjoy seven Ohio State football championships in that time. Also, Charlotte fans have like 62 college basketball titles to choose from.)


Not the United States, but it's been a long time for Toronto's fans in primarily American leagues. The Maple Leafs have the longest Stanley Cup drought in hockey, not having won since 1967. The Blue Jays haven't won the World Series since 1993, and went 21 years without making the postseason at all until last season. And the Raptors' trip to the Eastern Conference Finals was the best season in the franchise's history. Toronto FC is probably the worst MLS team historically, with their trip tot he playoffs last year their first ever time qualifying for the postseason.

Some in Toronto even claim the Buffalo Bills. They don't have to! They voluntarily choose to! That says a lot about Toronto sports.

The Toronto Observer chronicled the city's collective sports misery in 2014, calling the city a sports "cesspool" and a "barren wasteland" of professional success. I particularly enjoyed this quote, about the Leafs blowing a 4-1 lead in the third period of a Game 7 against the Bruins:

That was devastating. I have never felt so bad about a game in my life. That just pulled the guts right out of me.

One argument against Toronto's sadness is that they've managed a few CFL titles, as the Argonauts won most recently in 2012.


The Minnesota Lynx are the best team in the WNBA, with three of the past five league titles and a 12-0 start this year. But the Big Four sports have been completely futile in Minnesota, with no championships since the Twins won the World Series in 1991.

The Timberwolves squandered Kevin Garnett's prime, shipping him off to win a title in Boston. The North Stars never won a championship in Minnesota, but they won a Stanley Cup just a few years after relocating to Dallas, and the Wild have never won.

The Vikings couldn't win with Fran Tarkenton, or Daunte Culpepper, or Randy Moss, and they haven't yet with Adrian Peterson. They tried Brett Favre. It didn't work. This year's painful playoff loss on a shanked chip shot field goal was perhaps the worst ending of all.

And the Twins... the Twins are bad.

But our Vikings blog, The Daily Norseman, is optimistic:

Fear not, Twin Cities sports fans. . .at least a couple teams have a very good chance of snapping that drought in the near future. Frankly ... and I'm knocking on wood as hard as I can over here ... it could be as early as February of 2017.

Appreciate the Lynx, Minnesotans. They're really good.

Philadelphia, by Tyler Tynes

Yeah, Philly has had more success than some cities. But so what. Who gives a damn. We’ve seen so much pain recently that I’ve had dreams twice a week that I’m waking up in a hospital bed in pajamas dotted with Sam Hinkie’s face on them.


Oh no? Let me remind you: Chip Kelly got fired for being a genius (and he went 6-9), Sam Bradford was a starting quarterback, DeMarco Murray went from leading the league in rushing to being our 5th running back, the Flyers sold half their defense and hired a new coach and the Union (soccer, y’all) tanked hard as hell to the second worst team in Major League Soccer.

Oh right, baseball. Well seven years after a World Series the Phillies were so bad our manager quit mid-season. Amidst all of this, the Sixers seem self-explanatory. RIP Sam Hinkie, you silly, maniacal genius.

In 2015 the city went: 129-222-25, with no playoff appearances and a 37.6 win percentage.

Our last 1-to-16 years has caused us enough misery that we deserve (in order) the following: a LeBron James type player to hate until he gives us a championship (Ben Simmons), another World Series title with dope players (Maikel Franco) another few runs in hockeyball so our fans can throw wristbands and people can complain and....


Because we will always remember that dreaded day in history when Donovan McNabb - in our only SuperBowl appearance since 1980 and our second ever - couldn’t even run the 2-minute offense at the end of the game. And lost to basically Boston of all places. A loss so bad that we still think McNabb threw up during it.

So yeah, at this point we don’t want success. We deserve it. And if you see Meek Mill, kick him out of the city limits, for the culture.

Charlotte, by James Dator

Being a sports fan in Charlotte is as bad as it gets. All these other people can talk about not having a championship in years or perhaps decades, but when was the last time Charlotte won anything? The answer is never.

Okay, so maybe you say "Charlotte hasn’t had teams for very long," which is fair. What we have had is a factory of sadness. The Panthers lost on a last-second field goal to the Patriots in 2004, then again in 2016 after getting blown out by the Broncos, following a season where the team showed promise.

Everyone loved the Hornets in the 1990’s, who were destined to sit behind the Bulls, locked in sports limbo. Then the team left. We got back a team that sucked, changed their name and then sucked again. Now the Hornets are too good to get a decent draft pick, too bad to win a title and the only times Charlotte had high enough picks to get someone good the draft sucked. We missed out on Anthony Davis AND Dwight Howard.

If all of that wasn’t enough, you, all of you, turned our biggest sporting legend into a joke. Michael Jordan is synonymous with a crying meme now. He embodies Charlotte sports. Just talking about this makes me want to run to the bathroom and sob — but I don’t have my birth certificate with me so I can’t.

The best thing we have is Ric Flair’s daughter, who is WWE Women’s Champion — but even she doesn’t want to be associated with Charlotte, so she’s announced as being from "The Queen City."

Charlotte sucks.


The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl -- this year they literally cheapshotted themselves out of the playoffs -- and the Reds haven't won since 1990.

This used to be OK since they were only the second-saddest city in Ohio. But Cleveland has finally won something, and Cincinnati is still waiting.

On the plus side, some people in Cincinnati seem pretty proud of being No. 1 in something!

Boston, by Marc Normandin

I know what you're thinking: Boston has so many championships. And really, we do! There are the three Red Sox World Series championships since 2004, the Patriots' decade-spanning -- and then some -- dynasty, the Celtics toppling their long-time rivals, the Lakers, in 2008, the Bruins winning... some number of recent years ago. It's hard to keep track of it all, OK? But I'm pretty sure the Bruins won somewhere in there.

Here's the thing, though: it's been over 16 months since the last championship, when the Patriots defeated the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Before that, the Red Sox won in 2013 -- that was another year and a half in between titles. You get used to a certain kind of lifestyle, a certain level of success, and then other teams start winning instead of yours... it's just not fair, you know.

And did you know that the New England Revolution have never won the MLS title in their entire 20-plus year history? They've come close a few times, but never won, and that means they're associated with the Buffalo Bills. No one needs that in their life. Well, OK, maybe Buffalo does, since it's basically their whole identity as a sports town. But we're here to talk about real struggles, cities that have experienced real loss since they know what winning is like.

And we're struggling right now. The Celtics were unfairly seeded because of the NBA's divisions, and then Avery Bradley was hurt against the Hawks. Maybe Cleveland still doesn't have their first-ever NBA title if the C's rightfully had the three-seed and Bradley was healthy. Maybe if the Patriots didn't have Roger Goodell and the NFL breathing down their necks, they would have been able to concentrate and defeat the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, then moved on to the Super Bowl once more, becoming back-to-back champs like a Boston-based team should. John Cena is back, but he's in non-title feuds. WWE keeps taking Sasha Banks off television, and after she lost the Women's Championship in New York of all places.

The Red Sox our are last, best hope at the moment, as they have a wild card spot in a tightly contested American League East. Maybe they'll be the ones to break this cold streak and end our torture.

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Cavs overcome history to finally win a championship