Sports Misery

ccasey522

Per varios casus
Some or a lot of you probably hate Bill Simmons with a passion but recently he released his top 15 tortured franchises. Here's the full article but there is a lot of extra crap like emails and stuff in it.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/100129&sportCat=nfl

Here's the list. We have 3 :(
14-15. Seattle Mariners/Seahawks

Last Title: Never.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: None.

Rock Bottom: Losing the Sonics in 2008 sent the city into a spiritual sports funk.

Additional Thoughts: Had to be included after the repeated failures of the Griffey/Ichiro Mariners, Super Bowl XL and the Sonics hijacking. Only a title can snap the city out of it. The good news: They listen to the right kind of music to get through this. "Black hole sun ... won't you come ... and wash away the rainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn."

13. Portland Trail Blazers


Last Title: 1977.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: 2000 Western finals, Game 7, when they blew a 17-point lead to the Shaqobe Lakers as Mike Dunleavy squinted in disbelief and Rasheed threw up bricks. Somehow, those two are still in my life on an everyday basis. Is there a reset button I can hit?

Rock Bottom: The height of the Jail Blazers era.

Additional Thoughts: Even though they shouldn't be eligible until 2012, I'm including them because of the many Drexler Era meltdowns, the 2000 collapse, the Bowie and Oden decisions, and the team's "only child" status in Portland. People in Portland are irrational about the Blazers much like a single soccer mom would be irrational about her only son. What do you mean he isn't starting today, Coach? He's the best player on the team! YOU JUST DON'T LIKE HIM -- THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT! They would not handle a Level 1 loss well.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

Last Title: 1960.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: 2008 NFC title game (to Arizona).

Rock Bottom: Donovan McNabb throwing up during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIX.

Mitigating Factor: The Phillies' 2008 title knocked the Eagles down a few spots. At least the people of Philly know God isn't against their city now. Or, they're reasonably sure.

Additional Thoughts: It's unclear whether Eagles fans could have a Level 1 loss at this point since they keep their guard up at all times. (I watched it firsthand in Jacksonville during Super Bowl XXXIX: As soon as things went wrong in the second quarter, they checked out.) Eagles fans are like those premade dinner bowls from Uncle Ben's or Healthy Choice -- just cut the top, microwave for three minutes and you have a bowl of bitter. Switch McNabb for Favre this past Sunday, and Eagles fans absolutely would have been waiting for that interception to be thrown. To rope them into a Level 1 loss would take a Herculean choke.

11. New York Jets

Last Title: 1968.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: 1986 AFC playoffs against Cleveland, when they blew a 10-point lead in the last four minutes, jump-started by Mark Gastineau's stupid late hit on Bernie Kosar (fast forward to the 2:24 mark).

Rock Bottom: None. Just a nasty habit of starting hot and falling apart.

Additional Thoughts: Like Eagles fans, Jets fans are smart enough to lock out before they get hurt. This past Sunday, it happened when Rex Ryan called for a 52-yard field goal that never had a chance. After that miss, I e-mailed a Jets friend of mine with the subject heading, "THAT WAS A MISTAKE." He e-mailed back, "That was the game." Jets fans are a lot of things, but they're always realistic.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers

Last Title: Never.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: "The Shot" (1989). A true Stomach Punch. They had just taken the lead a few seconds earlier on one of the best inbounds plays ever executed (fast forward to the 3:22 mark). And then ... ooof.

Rock Bottom: Orlando's shocking upset of the Cavs in the 2009 Eastern finals. They never saw it coming. Next time, they will.

Additional Thoughts: For all we know, this season is their last chance with LeBron. It's going to be like a mutant version of the 1992 Pirates during Barry Bonds' last season -- desperation mixed with urgency -- but in this case, Cavs fans won't have the "We Are Family" title from 1979 to cushion the blow if things go wrong. Just writing about this makes me uneasy.

9. Buffalo Sabres

Last Title: Never.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: 1999 Finals, Game 6 (the No Goal Game).

Rock Bottom: Ditto. I mean, they lost the only Stanley Cup finals in which the opposing team cheated to score the title-winning goal in triple overtime.

Additional Thoughts: They share a city with the star-crossed Bills. That's like having your house sprayed by a skunk once a year. You can't get that stink off your clothes.

8. New York Knickerbockers


Last Title: 1973.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: Games 6 and 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals were more recent, but 1993's Charles Smith Game might have been the all-time NBA Stomach Punch loss. We've never seen anything approaching that final sequence in a basketball game, before or since. It's remarkable. If you showed that play on a loop in a crowded Manhattan bar, within 15 minutes, it would incite a riot.

Rock Bottom: The Isiah era.

Additional Thoughts: Slowly becoming the pre-2004 Red Sox of basketball. Right down to the 45 shameless writers who would release a quickie book if the Knicks ever turned things around and won a title. Wait, I think I just made fun of myself.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs


Last Title: 1967. Also their last finals appearance.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: Game 6, 1993 conference finals (overtime in Los Angeles). The Leafs have a chance to clinch their first Cup appearance in 26 years and score three in the third period to force overtime, and then Wayne Gretzky gets away with a high stick to Doug Gilmour's face that isn't called ... and Gretzky scores the game winner one minute later. The Leafs go on to blow Game 7 at home. They haven't recovered.

Rock Bottom: Probably a 2008 YouTube video of a Leafs fan breaking up with the team. It's inordinately depressing.

Additional Thoughts: They're the Knicks of the NHL -- giant fan base, huge city, decades of unhappiness, a beaten-down fan base with little hope, and for whatever reason, it's always more fun when they're good.

(Now here's where a sarcastic Knicks or Leafs fan would chime in, "Yeah, and you left out that they both stink and don't have a 2010 first-round pick." Um ... good point.)

6. San Francisco Giants

Last Title: Never (unless you count 1954, when the team was in New York).

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: Game 6, 2002 World Series (sadly, no YouTube clip since MLB knocks any footage off YouTube in its never-ending quest to find ways to suck). Arguably a Level 1 loss. No moniker, though.

Rock Bottom: Game 6 again, though I forgot to mention the thundersticks.

Additional Thoughts: You'd think a 66-year title drought, the Bonds/BALCO fallout, a borderline Level 1 loss in 2002 and having its first World Series home game in 27 years postponed by a devastating earthquake during batting practice of the first-ever Bay Area World Series would get the message out that, "Hey, we need to start including these guys in all future Tortured Sports Cities discussions." Can you be underrated/tortured? Apparently so.

5. Cleveland Indians


Last Title: 1948.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: With apologies to the 1999 Indians (shut out by an injured Pedro Martinez coming out of the bullpen in a wild Game 5) and 2007 Indians (blew a 3-1 series lead to Boston), the answer is still Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Every bit as devastating as the 1986 Red Sox collapse at Shea, but without the fanfare because of residual bitterness from the 1994 lockout. Only when steroids use became mandatory the following year (wait, it wasn't?) did we throw ourselves back into baseball again.

Rock Bottom: Two recent Cleveland aces (Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia) starting Game 1 of the 2009 World Series ... but not for Cleveland.

Additional Thoughts: Lost some "tortured" street cred because "Major League" and "Major League 2" have been on cable so often that 30.9 percent of Americans now mistakenly believe that Charlie Sheen was the 1994 World Series MVP.

4. Cleveland Browns

Last Title: 1964 (also their last NFL Championship Game appearance).

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: The Earnest Byner Game (1987 AFC title game versus Denver). For my money, the most underrated Level 1 loss -- he's running toward the end zone, they're about to tie the game, then BOOM! It's like a sniper took him out. No other fan base has ever swung from total euphoria to total depression that quickly. And how 'bout poor Byner, who carried the Browns that game and was so tormented that he could barely walk back to the sideline? That game still haunts me, and I'm not even a Browns fan.

Rock Bottom: Cleveland losing the franchise in 1995, then getting a much crappier version back a few years later. That was like when the Ultimate Warrior came back as the Not-So-Ultimate and It's-Too-Bad-He-Cut-Down-On-The-Steroids Warrior.

Additional Thoughts: I can't believe the Browns are only No. 4. Three teams are more tortured than this?

3. Buffalo Bills

Last title: 1965 (AFL).

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: The Music City Miracle (1999 playoffs). Also the worst gambling loss of the past 10 years for anyone who bet on Buffalo. The rare double whammy.

Rock Bottom: Let's go with this one -- a while back, I wrote that Buffalo had lost three straight Super Bowls, and my editor corrected me that it was actually four. I know I'm getting old, and I've been having a ton of brain farts lately ever since my son decided it would be a good idea to start getting up at 5:15 every morning like he was a CEO. But still, the Bills lost so many Super Bowls in a row that someone who writes about sports for a living couldn't remember the exact number. We'll never see anything like that again. I'm convinced.

Additional Thoughts: They've had so many crushing defeats that Vincent Gallo made "Buffalo '66," about a Bills fan who loses so much money on a Buffalo Super Bowl that he can't repay his bookie so he takes the fall for a crime the bookie committed, spends five years in prison, then gets out and decides he has to kill the kicker who cost the team that Super Bowl. They had to change the name of the kicker from "Scott Norwood" to "Scott Wood" for legal reasons. This actually happened.

2. Minnesota Vikings


Last Title: Never.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: This past Sunday.

Rock Bottom: Hard to top four Super Bowl losses in eight years. (Although we just topped it with the Bills, so I guess it's not THAT hard.) But since there were so many rock bottoms, let's go with the first one: Super Bowl IV, when the Vikes were favored by 12 and ended up losing by 16 to the Chiefs. Before the game, a Vikings mascot tried to take off in a hot air balloon, failed and nearly crashed into the stands. Don't believe me? Go to the 20-second mark of this clip. It's like a deleted scene from a Christopher Guest movie. Not a good omen for the Vikes and big games. Call it a retroactive rock bottom.

Additional Thoughts: As Geoff said on my podcast, "If there's any upside [from Sunday's loss], it's that no city will be willing to lure the Vikings away." I bumped them ahead of Buffalo only because of their unparalleled streak: Every 10 years or so, they rip the intestines out of their fans. Happened in 1975 (the Hail Mary), 1988 (Darren Nelson), 1998 (Gary Anderson) and 2009 (12 men). ... By the way, none of those were the four lost Super Bowls. Not even the Red Sox annihilated their fans at such a consistently efficient pace.

1. Chicago Cubs

Last Title: 1908.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: Bartman.

Rock Bottom: Ditto.

Additional Thoughts: Cold weather, a 102-year title drought, a checkered history, a Level 1 loss that happened recently, self-loathing fans, a nagging sense that it can never turn around ... the Cubs really bring everything to the table. They get my "fan base that's wired the most tightly" vote for this reason: Remember Game 1 of the 2008 playoffs at Wrigley, when the Dodgers jumped out to an early lead and the crowd died immediately? No faith at all. It has been beaten out of the fans.
 

ccasey522

Per varios casus
Here's the criteria:
1. You need at least a 35-year drought without a title.

That is two solid generations of fans and covers anyone in the 35-to-50 age range who has spent his or her entire life tortured by the same franchise ... only now they've brought their children under that same haunted spell. Just look at the difference in desperation between Mets fans (last title: 1986) and Knicks fans (last title: 1973). Starting with Dwight Gooden's positive coke test in 1987, Mets fans have suffered as much as any fan base in sports over the past 23 years: the Scioscia homer, the fall of Doc and Darryl, the Bobby Bo era, the Kenny Rogers Game, the 2000 Subway Series, Yadier Molina's homer and the Collapse of 2007. Brutal. But 1986 wasn't THAT long ago. No Knicks fan younger than 40 can remember winning a title, and any Knicks fan older than 40 can barely remember because it happened so long ago. Even worse, they feel guilty for putting a Knick Stink on their kids. That's the difference.

2. That 35-year rule doesn't apply to relocations.

We just entered our sixth straight decade without the Royals/Kings franchise making an NBA Finals. But the Kings moved to Sacramento in 1984, making them ineligible for Level 1 because anyone who cares about them could start caring only 26 years ago. (And it's too bad, because the 2002 Western Conference finals unquestionably greased the skids for Level 1 status.) In 2019? They become eligible. No, Dick Bavetta didn't make this ruling.

3. During that 35-plus years without a title, it's not enough to lose. You need to have your guts wrenched a few times.

A great example: Heading into 2005, the White Sox hadn't won a World Series since 1917 and the Cubs hadn't won since 1908, but only Cubs fans were considered "tortured." And with reason. Maybe White Sox fans hadn't won anything, but they didn't have a ton of scars, either. Cubs fans were scarred like tribal warriors. Big difference.

4. Only teams in cold-weather cities are eligible for Level 1 unless the situation is so cruel/unusual/unforgiving that it's practically unprecedented.

Cold weather and losing go together as easily as John Travolta and horrendous haircuts. You're already bitter about getting crushed, and then you wake up and it's 9 degrees outside, the skies are gray and you have to scrape ice off your windshield as your ears slowly freeze. It's almost like a background for your mood, no different than listening to Elliott Smith albums after a bad breakup.

Warm weather mellows you out, removes that life-or-death dynamic and puts sports in somewhat proper perspective. Suns fans are a good example. On paper? Level 1 eligible. Forty-one seasons, no titles. Lost the Kareem/Neil Walk coin flip. Lost the famous triple-overtime game in 1976. Lost three agonizing games in the 1993 NBA Finals, as well as Mario Elie's "Kiss of Death" 3-pointer that ended their season in '94. Their Nash era stretch from 2004 to '07 was basically one long liver punch. And yet, how could Suns fans be truly tortured? They live in Arizona! They have things to do!

It's the same reason San Diego, Miami or Atlanta fans can't be tortured. The elements will always make them feel better. The weather is a natural elixir. And maybe being a Saints fan (as I wrote last week) hasn't been a barrel of laughs, but there's a spiritual optimism around that team -- something tied to the festiveness of Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras and the city in general -- that was beaten out of Jets/Bills/Vikes/Browns/Eagles fans a long time ago. I can't have the phrase "spiritual optimism" associated with my Level 1 teams.

Back to the Vikes for a second. Imagine being a die-hard living in Minnesota or South Dakota after Sunday's loss. It's three degrees outside, you have one year left with Joe Mauer, your basketball GM choked with Ricky Rubio, you have a .500 hockey team, and your football team is coming back nine months from now with the same bumbling coach and a 41-year-old QB ... and that's before we get to the fact that God might legitimately hate your team, or that it's going to be 20 degrees or colder for the next two months, or that everyone around you is just as depressed as you are. How do you get out of bed? How do you function that Monday? So much for spiritual optimism.

5. You need to be just pessimistic enough to keep your guard up for a sucker punch but just optimistic enough to keep lowering your guard at the worst possible time.

Two days before Vikes-Saints, I wrote the following: "Jets/Bills/Vikes/Browns fans expect to get punched, contort their faces into a giant wince, wait for a punch that never comes, say to themselves, 'Cool, I'm not gonna get punched, it's gonna be OK!' ... and then they get clocked." That sequence usually leads to a Level 1 loss. What's amazing is how many fans know this and lower their guard anyway. On Wednesday's podcast, I asked my buddy Geoff (die-hard Vikes fan) whether he actually thought Minnesota was going to win on the final drive of regulation. This is someone who started rooting for the Vikes at age 6, the year of the Hail Mary play, and spent the next 35 years getting kicked in the teeth. What was his answer?

YES!

First down, New Orleans 33, less than a minute to play ... Geoff thought they had it. He dropped his guard. The rest was history. He spent the rest of the night kicking himself for dropping his guard. That's an essential emotional sequence for Level 1: self-loathing.

6. Outsiders need to instinctively empathize during a Level 1 takedown.


Going in, they already know, "Wow, that team's fan base has been brutalized in a variety of ways; this is becoming unfair." So when that brutalization kicks into motion again, even casual fans with no real interest instinctively start rooting for that team to NOT get brutalized. It cannot be up for debate. There are no degrees. It's like how we should figure out prospective Hall of Famers -- either you know or you don't.

A good example: On Sunday, I parlayed the Colts/Saints money lines and needed a Saints victory to cover the bet. After the 12-man penalty and Favre's pick, I started rooting against my own wager just because, as a Red Sox fan with two Level 1 scars, you never want to see anyone else suffer a Level 1 loss. Empathy trumped my other interests in the game.

Possible factors that could negatively affect this empathetic assessment: success of other teams in the same city (for instance, nobody is feeling bad for Boston Bruins fans after the other three Boston teams won a combined six titles this past decade); lack of media attention; unwavering optimism within the fan base; and steady losing devoid of playoff nightmares (like the Lions or Saints). This clause unfortunately rules out fans of the following teams: the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Lions, Houston Astros, Kansas City Chiefs, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Kings, Miami Dolphins, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Blues, Texas Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals ... even if it's not totally fair.

So who's left? By my count, only 15 teams are currently eligible for a Level 1 defeat at any time. Just for fun, I thought we could rank them.
 

ccasey522

Per varios casus
No Clippers or Lions?

reading helps :uhh:

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Possible factors that could negatively affect this empathetic assessment: success of other teams in the same city (for instance, nobody is feeling bad for Boston Bruins fans after the other three Boston teams won a combined six titles this past decade); lack of media attention; unwavering optimism within the fan base; and steady losing devoid of playoff nightmares (like the Lions or Saints). This clause unfortunately rules out fans of the following teams: the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Lions, Houston Astros, Kansas City Chiefs, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Kings, Miami Dolphins, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Blues, Texas Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals ... even if it's not totally fair.
 

Shibby3.8

Page 9 Club
yep, both the Bills and Sabres...

until Ralph Wilson kicks the bucket the Bills won't have a chance. Ralph won't bring on a coach/front office that will win championships, just one that will do what he wants.

The only thing that team has is its idiot fanbase that keeps selling out the stadium every week and then wonders why nothing ever changes. TO was the best marketing gimmick ive seen in a long time.

And the Sabres? In 15+ years of watching the Sabres they've never been able to put together a solid 60 mins of hockey on a consistent basis. They however do consistently fall apart in the playoffs.
 

2K1stang

New Member
2. Minnesota Vikings

Last Title: Never.

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: This past Sunday.

Rock Bottom: Hard to top four Super Bowl losses in eight years. (Although we just topped it with the Bills, so I guess it's not THAT hard.) But since there were so many rock bottoms, let's go with the first one: Super Bowl IV, when the Vikes were favored by 12 and ended up losing by 16 to the Chiefs. Before the game, a Vikings mascot tried to take off in a hot air balloon, failed and nearly crashed into the stands. Don't believe me? Go to the 20-second mark of this clip. It's like a deleted scene from a Christopher Guest movie. Not a good omen for the Vikes and big games. Call it a retroactive rock bottom.

Additional Thoughts: As Geoff said on my podcast, "If there's any upside [from Sunday's loss], it's that no city will be willing to lure the Vikings away." I bumped them ahead of Buffalo only because of their unparalleled streak: Every 10 years or so, they rip the intestines out of their fans. Happened in 1975 (the Hail Mary), 1988 (Darren Nelson), 1998 (Gary Anderson) and 2009 (12 men). ... By the way, none of those were the four lost Super Bowls. Not even the Red Sox annihilated their fans at such a consistently efficient pace.

:mad:
 

goldstang2k

Made in Canada
yessss made number 7...

that 1993 game still hurts and i was only 6... LOL... **** man its hard to be a leafs fan
 

jadedpony

From 3.hate to 3.heaven
yep, both the Bills and Sabres...

until Ralph Wilson kicks the bucket the Bills won't have a chance. Ralph won't bring on a coach/front office that will win championships, just one that will do what he wants.

The only thing that team has is its idiot fanbase that keeps selling out the stadium every week and then wonders why nothing ever changes. TO was the best marketing gimmick ive seen in a long time.

And the Sabres? In 15+ years of watching the Sabres they've never been able to put together a solid 60 mins of hockey on a consistent basis. They however do consistently fall apart in the playoffs.
Except for, when Ralph dies, his son inherits the team and doesn't care whether or not they stay here so you're wrong, we will never have a chance.

But you're absolutely right about the Sabres :facepalm:
 
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