Readers' list: Worst teams to be a fan of
From the Page 2 mailbag

Do you get strange looks at games and sports bars because you're cheering for your favorite team?

Here's how Page 2 editors ranked our top 10 worst franchises to be a fan of:

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Arizona Cardinals
5. Kansas City Royals
6. New York Islanders
7. New Jersey Nets
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Florida Marlins
10. Boston Bruins

Honorable mention: Oakland Raiders, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors/Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks

Well, you're not alone. For example, Page 2 editors are loyal fans of such hard-luck franchises as the Seattle Seahawks, Vancouver Canucks and New York Knicks (take 'em out of the Big Apple, and they're the Warriors) -- and reasonably proud to admit it.

After we offered our choices for the 10 worst franchises to be a fan of, we asked you to send us your suggestions. Page 2 readers responded with more than 2,000 e-mails, and below are the top 10 choices. Vote in the poll at the right for your top choice.

1. Detroit Lions (268 letters)
Hands down. I've been a die-hard fan since I can remember, and am surprised I'm not just hard and dead from a stroke. Two words: "Super Bowl." Ever heard of it? Not if you're a Lions fan.

How about Andre Ware, Rodney Peete, Scott Mitchell, Wayne Fontes, Aaron Gibson? How about a cheap owner, and a management group that consistently mistreats some of the franchise's best players. The Herman Moore fiasco? Not only is he the Lions' best receiver ever, he holds the league record for most receptions in a season! And they treated him like dirt in possibly his last few seasons in the NFL.

How about one stinkin' playoff win in 50 years? I love 'em, but I can't quite figure out why. Pity me. Pity us.
Antonio Ramon Garza
Ann Arbor, Mich.

You missed the Detroit Lions. The never-been-to-a-Super-Bowl Detroit Lions. Their best finish since the merger? A massacre loss to Washington in the 1991 NFC championship game, coming off their only playoff win in a generation (over Dallas, who would go on to win three Super Bowls, as the Lions never got close again).

The worst knock on the Lions ... they can't even lose right. On pace to a perfect 0-16 season, they picked an expansion year in which they couldn't get the top pick. Then they close the year on a two-game winning streak, and now pick third, sealing a fate of several more years of losing.

The only team on a perpetual five-year rebuilding plan.
Krishan Fotedar
Cary, N.C.

2. Chicago Cubs (142 letters)
Not only do Cubs fans have to put up with a pathetic team every year, the one joy we do get, Wrigley Field, is being remodeled/destroyed. Thank you, Tribune Co., for providing Cubs fans with nothing to root for! Just look at the players this team has gotten rid of recently -- Greg Maddux right after he won his first Cy Young, Luis Gonzalez (nice that the organization decided his bat was a little too good for our lineup) and Mark Grace, who had a Grace-like year last year while the Cubs struggled at the first-base position for half of the year.

It angers me even more that I have to listen to Red Sox fans gripe about their team. Not only did they win a World Series just 84 years ago, but they go to the playoffs all the time. They gripe about Bill Buckner letting a ball go under his legs in the World Series, but you never hear Cubs fans gripe about a similar incident with Leo Durham in the '84 NLCS (Cubs fans know), and at least they got to a World Series recently. Then they gripe about playing in the Yankees' division while the Cubs play in the only six-team division in baseball. Forget the Sox fans -- Cubs fans have it the worst.
Brent Morgan
San Antonio

Being born and raised in Chicago, I've been a Cubs fan since 1967. Next time some "long-suffering" Red Sox fan starts whining about not winning since 1918, ask them who they beat in 1918? That's right, the Cubs.
Frank Nova
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Being a Cubs fan is like going on a blind date every year. At the start, you are convinced that "This is it!" But after a little teasing, you just end up crying yourself to sleep while watching SportsCenter.
Andy Lurie
Evanston, Ill.

3. New Orleans Saints (120 letters)
Thirty-five years of hell.

We just won our first wild-card game two seasons ago, our only one. We were the only team in the NFL at the time to have never won a playoff game, and we've only been to five of them.

Some of the teams you mentioned won a championship, even if it was eons ago. We wish we had that. We've had lots of talent over the years, but there's always some reason we choke, especially in big games. The team always has internal conflict and a very low level of pride. They are pathetic.

If there's one thing this team can do, it's make this list.
Elliott Sarpy
Metairie, La.

The fact the Saints didn't even make your list is proof that they are the worst franchise to be a fan of. They're so bad they aren't even considered a real team.
Kreg Overstreet
Gulfport, Miss.

4. Boston Red Sox (76 letters)
Seeing where I am from, you know what is coming next. The Red Sox are the worst franchise to be a fan of. Although the idea that they have not won a World Series since 1918 weighs heavy on the fans, we can take solace in the fact we frequently put together a good team that could make the playoffs ... could win the pennant ... could win the Series...

The worst part of being a Red Sox fan is the Yankees. Even when we spend the kind of money the Yankees spend, we still can't beat them. And it is incredibly demoralizing to sit back every year and watch the Yankees build teams with centerpieces who used to be the centerpieces of other organizations: Giambi, O'Neill, Lyle, Jackson, Clemens, Wells, Cone, Tino Martinez ... the list goes on and on and on ...

All due respect to Cubs fans, the Red Sox have been close. It's analogous to dating. Cubs fans are the computer nerds who never get dates and are blissfully ignorant of the charms of women. Red Sox fans are the other kids, the ones who get the girl into the back seat of the car, get hot and heavy, then have her stop and say, "It's getting late, take me home," seconds before you reach the promised land. I ask you, who feels worse during "Saturday Night Live?" Now you understand.
Brendan Hanlon
Westwood, Mass.

What has to be worse than never being in contention is to repeatedly have your team's expectations get the hopes up of your fans up, only to rip their hearts out when you fail.

In addition to the historic Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner-esque moments, failing has become even more agonizing when Red Sox fans see their stars of the recent past, Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens, finally get their world championship rings wearing the uniform of your most hated rival.
Jeff Goldberg
Bardonia, N.Y.

5. Golden State Warriors (63 letters)
Right now, it's hard to be worse. A brief moment of greatness in the mid-'70s, followed by one personnel gaffe after another: JB Carroll for Robert Parish and a No. 1 draft pick started the downward slide. Then, just to mention the highlights, there was the whole Chris Webber fiasco; management picking the wrong side in the Sprewell-Hardaway feud; and more recently they matched a ridiculously inflated offer for Marc Jackson and then sat him on the bench for three months.

Now they seem to be trying really hard, but they still stink. It's one thing when management doesn't seem to care if the team wins or loses. But when it tries this hard and the team still loses, that takes suckiness to a whole new level.
Jim Stoddard
Reno, Nev.

There is not a team that makes worse trades, signs the wrong people to big contracts, or passes over more talent in the draft -- this is the team that took Joe Smith instead of Kevin Garnett, Todd Fuller instead of Kobe Bryant, and Adonal Foyle instead of Tracy McGrady.

Just to borrow from Bill Walton: "They're terrible!"
David P.
Burlingame, Calif.

6. Detroit Tigers (52 letters)
How is it possible that the same owner of the Detroit Red Wings can be the owner of the Detroit Tigers? The current Wings could have their own branch of the Hockey Hall of Fame, yet the Tigers seem to avoid talent like the plague.

Even when we develop decent players, we trade them off for their benefit and to our detriment. The only thing worse than watching the Tigers wheel and deal their way to obscurity is to drive through Detroit to get to Comerica Park. It's disgraceful!
Greg Briner
Grand Rapids, Mich.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (47 letters)
Exhibit A: Elvis Grbac would rather make nothing than make millions and wear the stripes.

8. Chicago Bulls (42 letters)
Right town, wrong team. Without a doubt, the very worst team to be a fan of is the Chicago Bulls. For one stretch, they were the best team in basketball -- but were it not for the greatest player of all-time, that stretch would never have happened. Barring the Jordan years, this team has been as bad as any team in basketball over the same stretch of time.

And while the passing on Jordan in the draft is on oft-cited misfire in the NBA, only one team (and owner) has ever been stupid enough to not give His Airness everything and anything he wanted to keep him in red.
Eric Odgaard
New Haven, Conn.

9. Milwaukee Brewers (38 letters)
Not only do we have a lousy baseball team (take a look at their track record for a .300 hitter -- once they get one, they are gone within a year), we have to put up with another Selig.

And worst of all, we are taxed so we can pay for the new ballpark while the Brewers make a profit. We should tax the public so private industry can make money? Where do I sign up for that program?

10. Montreal Expos (34 letters)
I have been an Expos fan ever since I was little. I remember watching the likes of Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Gary Carter and Tim Wallach play. Then it was just Dawson, Raines and Wallach ... then just Raines and Wallach ... then just Raines ... and then he left. It was brutal.

Then they got a fresh group of home-grown boys like Marquis Grissom, The Big Cat, Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Delino Deshields and Pedro Martinez. They had all the pieces and the damn league goes on strike. They have had more All-Stars leave their team then they have people come to their games.

They always have talent, but the talent always leaves. I guess they are taking the fans with them. Now they don't even have a freaking owner.

They have reached the playoffs only once, and now they have absolutely no hope. It is like they are in the movie "Major League," without the happy ending but with all the crappy sequels.
Jeff Campbell
St. Joseph, Mo.

Also receiving votes (10 or more letters)

  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Washington Wizards
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Texas Rangers
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • San Diego Chargers
  • Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers
  • Boston Bruins
  • New York Knicks
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tampa Bay Devil Rays
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • New York Islanders
  • Washington Redskins
  • Kansas City Royals
  • New York Jets
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Chicago White Sox


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