The Ravens are the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Bruins and Blackhawks are playing for a title, same as the Spurs and Heat. Fans of those teams have it pretty good right now.
But which sports cities have it worst? Which fan base has the right to claim the title of Most Miserable Sports City?
Read our rankings and then rank the cities on your own.
(Note: Only cities with three major pro teams -- or two pro teams and one major college program nearby -- are included in the sports misery rankings.)
There's little for a Baltimore sports fan to be miserable about these days. The Ravens are the reigning Super Bowl champs, and the Orioles have been surprise contenders two years in a row behind burgeoning young superstar Manny Machado. If there's any negative at all, it's that Maryland's football team is only a 40-minute drive away. It's probably best if Baltimore fans never venture beyond the city line.
Boston is just a few years removed from an embarrassment of championships in all four major sports, and their fans have no right to complain about anything for, oh ... 10 or 15 years. That won't stop them from complaining if given the opportunity, but there remains little for anyone with dignity to whine about. The Red Sox are in first place, the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup finals, the Celtics are playoff regulars, the Patriots are perennial Super Bowl contenders and, best of all, it remains fairly easy to pretend that Boston College athletics don't exist.
Indianapolis sports fans are spoiled. Granted, the Pacers have never won an NBA title, but they have a lot of hope for the future thanks to Paul George. Meanwhile, the Butler Bulldogs are the underdog darlings of college basketball. Of course, Colts fans had to suffer a lot ... for one year. Then they replaced Peyton Manning with Andrew Luck. No one feels sorry for Indianapolis fans.
22. St. Louis
The Rams could be better. The Blues could be better. But the Cardinals have the best record in baseball. And what sports fan in St. Louis is really miserable? They give standing ovations for hard-hit ground balls.
Things could be worse, and have been, for Cincinnati. The Bengals have some young talent and are coming off back-to-back trips to the playoffs, while the Reds are contending for their third playoff berth in four years. But those playoff trips are getting increasingly disappointing. The Bengals have gone one-and-out both years, and the Reds choked in last year's NLDS after taking a 2-0 lead, losing three in a row to the eventual World Series champion. Maybe the wild card here is the Cincinnati Bearcats, who should immediately become one of the top programs in the new American Athletic Conference. Is that a compliment? Who knows.
No one pities Tampa teams. The Buccaneers have won a championship in their relatively short existence. The Lightning have won a championship in their even shorter history. The Rays contend every year. Many cities with fan bases that actually attend games would kill for a résumé like that.
The Heat are very good. Miami's other teams are not. But Miami fans deal with possible sports misery by simply ignoring the existence of their miserable teams. Attendance figures say the Heat are essentially Miami's only team right now, so a full 100 percent of the city's acknowledged sports teams are reigning champions! Can't beat that.
Pittsburgh fans hopefully enjoyed the Steelers' and Penguins' titles of 2008 and 2009, because there has been plenty of disappointment since then. The Steelers followed up their sixth title by missing the playoffs, losing the Super Bowl, losing in the playoffs (to Tim Tebow!) and missing the playoffs again, only to watch their hated rival Ravens win it all. The Penguins were heavy Eastern Conference favorites this season yet got swept out of the conference finals. The Pirates have made a habit of getting off to hot starts, only to collapse on their way to more losing history. And Pitt, well ... there's no safer bet in college sports than picking Pitt football for the BBVA Compass Bowl and Pitt basketball for an early exit in your NCAA tournament bracket.
Between 1997 and 2008, the Red Wings and Pistons combined for five championships. Since then, it's just been disappointment. The Red Wings have fallen back in the Western Conference. The Pistons have no talent and are awful. The Lions are talented yet awful. That leaves the Tigers to pick up the championship slack, but they can't get it done in the postseason. Perhaps worst of all, Detroiters can't even vicariously date Kate Upton anymore through Justin Verlander.
Atlanta lost its NHL team two years ago to Winnipeg, and the once-proud Georgia Tech basketball program has made one trip to the NCAA tournament in the past six seasons. Then there are Atlanta's "successful" sports teams. The Yellow Jackets football team has lost seven of its past eight bowl games. The Hawks are annually just good enough to make it into the playoffs and just bad enough to quickly exit the playoffs. Then there are the Braves and Falcons, franchises that have essentially created an intense, intra-city competition to see which can have the most disappointing playoff collapse. If there were no postseason, Atlanta would be sports nirvana. Unfortunately for Atlanta teams and their fans, there is a postseason, and once the regular season ends, misery begins.
The Avalanche's glory days are long over. The Rockies have been around for 21 years and have three playoff berths and no championships to show for it. Broncos fans are now cursed with the postseason stress inducer that is Peyton Manning. And the Nuggets are pretty much the Atlanta Hawks West: good for little more than an NBA playoff participant ribbon. Now the good news. Uhhhh.
The White Sox stink, the Cubs remain the national avatar for sustained sports failure, the Bears remain also-rans, Bulls fans got to watch their team get knocked out of the playoffs while the franchise player watched from the bench, and Northwestern athletics remain essentially irrelevant. A whole lot of misery hinges on whether a hockey team that started the season 21-0-3 can win the Stanley Cup. If it falls short, a whole city might just sit there and stare blankly out into nothing, like Derrick Rose.
It took 10 years for the Texans to figure out how to make the playoffs. Now it seems it might take them another 10 years to figure out how to get through the divisional round. While the Rockets are marketable with both Jeremy Lin and the novelty-bearded James Harden, they're nowhere near being able to market themselves as champions. And then there are the Astros. Sigh. What their fans wouldn't give to go back to when the Astros were like the Texans of today and had disappointing playoff exits.
Although you personally may find the Jerry Jones-Tony Romo, soap-opera Dallas Cowboys to be hilariously entertaining, the nearly two decades of big-spending failure since their last Super Bowl title has probably been less entertaining for Dallas fans. Unfortunately the Rangers have been no help. In recent years they've merely prepped Dallas fans for the November and December collapse of the Cowboys by collapsing in September and October. The Mavericks won a championship just two years ago, but it feels closer to 10, while the Stars finished last in their division this season. But don't worry. This is the year the Cowboys definitely put it all together and win another Super Bowl. Definitely. It's totally happening this year. Yep.
11. New York City
The Rangers, Knicks and Nets all successfully completed highly publicized regular seasons capped by playoff flameouts. The Yankees are in the process of completing a $200 million .500 season, the Mets are the Mets and the Jets are the Jets. It's probably a bad sign when New York's up-and-coming team is the Islanders. New York fans may have to sustain themselves for a while on DVDs of the Giants' Super Bowl victories over the Patriots. Luckily those DVDs are extremely entertaining to watch.
Google the following names to gain a good understanding of the current state of Philadelphia sports:
Roy Halladay and/or Ryan Howard
Ilya Bryzgalov and/or Sergei Bobrovsky
9. Los Angeles
The Lakers' and Clippers' seasons were massive disappointments. The Dodgers and Angels have somehow both figured out how to build losers with unlimited funds, and the Kings and Ducks both fell short in the postseason. Then there are the college failures. Lane Kiffin. Ben Howland. Yikes. And don't forget that Los Angeles still doesn't have an NFL team. It's probably for the best, though. A Los Angeles NFL team would probably just let everyone down.
8. Washington, D.C.
The Wizards are consistently one of the worst franchises in sports. The Capitals are consistent playoff losers. And the Redskins consistently make headlines for stuff that has nothing to do with football. At least there are the Nationals, who are set with so much young talent that they should win championships for years to come. [Checks standings.] Oh.
The Titans and Predators have provided Nashville with 31 combined seasons of titleless sports. At least Vanderbilt is in town for fans who are really into ... let's say ... SEC debate team championships maybe?
Quiz time! Which of the following teams do you think is on the cusp of a championship?
- Minnesota Golden Gophers football
- Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball
Yes. The correct answer is "none of the above." Poor Minneapolis. Poor St. Paul, too. How he's not the patron saint of lost causes is a mystery.
The Suns have zero championships and had the worst record in the Western Conference this season. The Coyotes have zero championships and missed the playoffs this season. The Cardinals have zero championships and are pumped for the arrival of Carson Palmer. How depressing. At least there's the Diamondbacks?
Welp. The Sacramento Kings aren't coming to town. And Kevin Durant isn't coming back to town. And the Mariners are apparently never getting anyone who can hit. And the Washington Huskies aren't exactly BCS or NCAA tournament title contenders. Granted, the Seahawks have generated justifiable excitement. Except, until they win a championship, they're still a Seattle team. It will be hard to overcome that bad karma.
The Brewers are in last place behind the Cubs -- the Cubs! -- and are facing a long period of games without star Ryan Braun. Then there are the Bucks, who have faced a long period of years without any stars at all. Marquette basketball is always good for an NCAA tournament run, but Milwaukee has had no college title since the Golden Eagles won it all in 1977 and no pro title since 1971. There's simply very little that is more depressing than thinking of the 1970s as "the good old days." The 1970s is like the Milwaukee Bucks of decades.
Poor Maple Leafs. Poor Raptors. Poor Blue Jays. At least Torontonians have a mayor who can distract them from some of their sporting misery.
It seems rude to even list the reasons for Cleveland's misery. There are the last-place Cavaliers, stuck watching LeBron James play in another NBA Finals. There are the last-place Browns, with their nearly 30-year-old second-year quarterback and new owner who is under federal investigation. And then there are the Indians, who are in second place -- hooray! -- after starting the season in first place at 26-17, only to go 8-17 since then. Booooo.
It's all just depressing. Just go and vote for which sports city you think is the most miserable. And pray for Cleveland.