The 10 longest championship droughts in professional sports
Brad Hardcastle, Media General – (MEDIA GENERAL) -- After 108 years of waiting for another World Series ring, the Chicago Cubs ended the longest championship drought in major American professional sports history. Though no other American sports franchise has reached the century mark for years without a title, there are 10 teams that have gone more than 50 years without winning it all. Some of these teams have resided in more than three cities, but their trophy cases are devoid of championship hardware. Others have been competitive for decades but have been unable to claim a title for more than half a century.
Here's a list of those 10 teams that have gone more than 50 years without a championship:
10. San Diego Chargers
Unlike some of these teams on the list, the Chargers have remained fairly competitive over the years, but the playoffs have been a challenge for the franchise. The Chargers have made the playoffs 15 times since winning their last championship 53 years ago when they were still in LA and played in the AFL. But the team's only Super Bowl appearance came in 1995 when they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in a 49-26 blowout.
9. Tennessee Titans
The Titans came just a yard short of having a chance to send Super Bowl XXXIV to overtime against the St. Louis Rams. If the Titans had completed the comeback, it would have been the franchise's first league championship in franchise history, which includes the 47 years it spent in Houston. Sixteen years after their Super Bowl loss in 2000, the Titans have made the playoffs just five times. The franchise's championship drought currently sits at 55 years.
8. Houston Astros
The Astros are another original Houston team that's been close to a title in the last couple decades but have been unable to win the World Series in the franchise's 53-year history. They won the NLCS in 2005 but were swept by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. For nearly a decade after the 2005 World Series sweep, the Astros became cellar dwellers, but after bringing up some good, young talent, there's been a glimmer of hope for the franchise to get back to its winning ways.
7. Texas Rangers
The Rangers were perhaps the closest of any team on this list to ending their championship drought. In Game 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series, the Rangers were just a strike away from their first-ever title. But the Cardinals were able to rally late to win the game and would go onto to win Game 7. The Rangers haven't been back to the World Series since thus they still do not have a championship in their 56-year history as a franchise.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have also gone 56 years without a title since they last won the NFL championship in 1960. However, the team has been competitive in the NFL's modern era. They've been to the Super Bowl twice since their last championship. The Eagles lost to the Raiders in Super Bowl XV and came up short once more in 2004 in Super Bowl against the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick led New England Patriots. Although the Eagles have yet to win a Super Bowl, they've made the playoffs in 10 of their last 16 seasons.
5. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks franchise has been located in four different cities, but the team has won zero championships in their 58-year history. The Hawks went through a rough patch of not making the playoffs from 2000 to 2007, but they've managed to make the postseason in a weak Eastern Conference for nine consecutive years. Atlanta finished the 2014-15 season with their best record in franchise history (60-22) and won the East, but lost in the Conference finals to the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers.
4. Detroit Lions
There aren't too many professional teams that share a past as futile as the Detroit Lions. After winning their last championship 59 years ago in 1957, the Lions have won just one playoff game and that was in 1991. And since that last playoff win, they've managed to lose the NFC Wild Card game seven times. After missing out on the post season for eight consecutive years, the Lions set a league benchmark for futility in 2008 when they became the first team in the NFL to go 0-16. In recent years, the team has been competitive since head coach Jim Caldwell took over in 2014, but the team still has a long way to go before it becomes a Super Bowl contender.
3. Sacramento Kings
Like four other franchises on this list, the Sacramento Kings have relocated more times than they've won championships. The Kings lone NBA title came 65 years ago in 1951 when they were known as the Rochester Royals. The team would eventually move to Cincinnati, then to Kansas City before making Sacramento its home. The Kings were at their best in the late-90s and early 2000s when they had stars Mike Bibby, Chris Webber, and Peja Stojakovic, but were never able to make it past the Western Conference Finals. Since the team's last playoff appearance in 2006, it has yet to finish the regular season with a winning-percentage better than .500.
2. Cleveland Indians
Oh, how close the Cleveland Indians were to ending their 68-year World Series drought. If it weren't for the would-be No.1 team on the list, the Cubs, the "Tribe" may be celebrating with LeBron and the Cavs, who won their franchise-first title in June. Some may call it karma after all the "Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead" jokes made their rounds on social media after the Cavs came back to beat Golden State in the NBA Finals. But Indians fans have a lot to look forward to after many experts thought this year's team only had Wild-Card potential, at best. It's an exciting time to be a sports fan in Cleveland unless you only pull for the Browns, who haven't won a Super Bowl in 48 years.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Fans who just started following the NFL probably wouldn't think the Arizona Cardinals would top this list, given their recent success. But the Cardinals franchise bests the Indians by one year in the "consecutive years without a championship" category. Sixty-nine years and two relocations ago, the Chicago Cardinals won the team's second NFL championship in 1947. The following year, the Cardinals lost in the championship game before missing the playoffs for 26 consecutive seasons. During the past three decades, the Cardinals have made the playoffs just five times. However, things have never been going a lot better for one of the league's oldest franchises. Arizona made it to the Super Bowl in 2008 and won the NFC West just last season. This year, they've been up-and-down, as they're off to a 3-4 start. But as history suggests, things could be much, much worse.
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