In most sports it feels like it’s the same 4-5 teams every year who can win a title. In the NHL it feels like it’s the Blackhawks, Penguins, or Kings; in the NBA it’s basically the Warriors and Cavaliers, with maybe the Spurs thrown if if you’re feeling generous; NFL, Patriots, Steelers, Seahawks, Packers; and in MLB, the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals, and Giants always seem to be there.
But what about the teams that are at the opposite end of the spectrum? Teams that are just…kind of there and you don’t feel like they will ever be a serious threat to the rest of the league.
With that in mind, let’s pick three teams from each sport that seem like they will never win a title.
Teams without Stanley Cups: St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets.
Picks: St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes.
The Blues have the most history of our picks, making the Final three times, but there should be a huge asterisk next to that. They made it each of their first three years in existance, when the NHL put six expansion teams in one division and the Original Six in the other, so the Blues were the best of the worst. They haven’t been back to the Final since those three trips in the late 60s, despite being in the playoffs as consistently as any team not named the Red Wings.
The Sabres have made the Stanley Cup Final once, and lost on a controversial goal. Even with arguably the best goalie of all-time in Dominick Hasek, they still couldn’t get over the hump. Lately they’ve…just kind of been there. They’ve been bad but haven’t landed the top pick, missing out on Connor McDavid. And they just cleaned house, firing their coach and GM. If this ever happens, it will not be in the near future.
The Coyotes. Where to even begin. They have almost no history of success, making the Conference Finals once, but the big thing is they have no stability. Every year it seems like they are up for relocation, players don’t want to sign there, it feels like there are new owners every year, and a whole list of other problems. The other two teams we picked, I feel like you could make a case for them at some point, but Arizona, it’s hard to make a case for them when they may not exist by the end of the decade.
Teams without a World Series: Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays.
Picks: Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres
The Rangers have been as close as you can be to winning the World Series without winning it…twice. And when that happens, you really have to wonder if it will ever happen. The Rangers kind of strike me like the Blues in the NHL, they’re never outright terrible and are often good, but it’s hard to ever make them your favorite to win it all.
In my lifetime I can’t ever remember the Brewers being good or a serious threat to win it all. They made the NLCS once in my lifetime and made the World Series once back in the early 80s and that’s been about it. They’re a small market, so they’re not a big threat for free agents, and they play in a division with two terrific teams. I just don’t see this one happening.
And the Padres, they’re just so bad annually that it’s amazing they don’t get more love in the terrible team rankings. Must be all that nice weather they get there. They’ve made the World Series twice, but were crushed each time, and really since the days of Tony Gwynn haven’t been competitive. Again, a super tough division makes it even harder for them to ever think of winning a title.
Teams to never win title: Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Pelicans.
Picks: Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets
I sometimes forget that the Suns exist. Aside from Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle, the team has never really stood out, making one trip to the Finals in somewhat recent memory and just…kind of being there in a loaded Western Conference that’s been dominated by the Spurs, Lakers and Warriors over the past 16 years. While the Lakers are now trash, the Spurs and Warriors are great, and the Rockets could be in that discussion. It’s not easy in the west.
The Clippers, hoo boy, I feel like they are unfairly left out of the conversation a lot of times for most incompetent franchise. They’ve never been good, had a racist owner who really didn’t care if the team was good, they got good, but not good enough to ever seriously threaten for a title, and now that window is closing despite having one of the eight or so best point guards of all-time. The Clippers solely exist as a way to see the NBA without having to pay Laker prices.
The Nuggets have never made the NBA Finals, and have only made the Conference Finals three times in 41 years. Even when they were “good” they still had almost no playoff success, with a series of nine first round defeats in 10 years. Again, much like these other teams, they are stuck in what has been the NBA’s dominant conference for nearly 20 years, and I don’t see them breaking through any time soon.
Teams to never win Super Bowl: Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, LA Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans.
Picks: Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills
The NFL has the most teams to never win its title (though if you count titles before the Super Bowl we lose a lot of this list) and honestly, the was the hardest trio to pick, because there are so many that just have no shot at ever winning it all.
The Lions and Browns are the most obvious, because outside of a couple years here and there for each team, they’ve been terrible since the Super Bowl became a thing. Neither team has made it, neither team has had any playoff success in more than 25 years, and both are the butt of just about every NFL joke you can imagine. Look at both franchises now, and they are both legitimately trying to turn things around, but do you really see either team winning, or even making the Super Bowl anytime soon? No.
The Bills. The poor, poor Bills. Four consecutive Super Bowl appearance, four consecutive Super Bowl losses. And they are currently in the midst of the longest NFL Playoff drought in the league. They’ve been forever buried behind the Dolphins and for the past 15 years, the Patriots, and that doesn’t appear to be changing in the near future.
So that’s our list, any teams you think we should have picked over others?