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Sports Teams With The Longest Championship Droughts Ever

In other words: Sports teams with the most loyal fans!

Cincinnati Reds v Philadelphia Phillies
Getty Images | Hunter Martin

Not all sports fans know what it’s like to see their favorite team win a championship — but pretty much all of us know what it feels like to see our favorite team lose a big game. Losing is something that all professional sports franchises have had in common at some point in their history.

Yes, even the New England Patriots went 41 years before they finally won a championship. But some teams have turned losing into an art form. We looked back through the histories of teams in all of North America’s top pro sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS — and found the ones that have had the longest stretch of years without winning a championship. This list includes streaks that were eventually broken and ones that are still ongoing.

The shortest streak on our list is 49 seasons without a championship, while the longest ones span more than 100 years. These fans have, at one time or another, suffered more than any others.

#30 — Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)


The Drought: 49 seasons (1970-Present)

Billy Crystal, arguably the most famous Clippers fan in the world, was 22 years old when the team played its first season, then as the Buffalo Braves. He’s 71 years old today and has never seen them win a championship. Hell, he’s never even seen them play in the NBA Finals! The best seasons for the Clippers franchise came in 2013 and 2014 but they were unable to go all the way.

#29 — Washington Nationals (MLB)


The Drought: 50 seasons (1969-Present)

The Washington Nationals have only been in our nation’s capital since 2005 but the franchise’s championship drought stretches all the way back to 1969, when they were known as the Montreal Expos. The team only won a single division title from 1969 to 2004, when it was in Canada. Since moving to D.C., the team has been a regular playoff contender but has still yet to even appear in a single World Series.

#28 — Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)


The Drought: 50 seasons (1967-Present)

One of the NHL’s legendary “Original Six” teams, the Maple Leafs have been around since 1917 and won 13 Stanley Cups in the years through 1967 — then it all just stopped. The franchise’s rabid fanbase hasn’t witnessed a title in more than 50 years, leaving generations of them to only hear from older relatives about the glory days. The Leafs have been a regular playoff team in the past few seasons but they’ve been unable to make it out of the first round, leaving fans to wonder how long the NHL’s longest current drought will continue.

#27 — New York Jets (NFL)


The Drought: 50 seasons (1970-Present)

One of the NFL’s longest droughts for a team that’s actually won a Super Bowl belongs to the hapless New York Jets. The franchise was on top of the world when they pulled off a major upset at Super Bowl III in 1969 — but it would all be downhill from there. It’s pretty bad when the team’s fans are still clinging to Joe Namath as their greatest quarterback hero, especially when you consider that he retired in 1977.

#26 — Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)


The Drought: 50 seasons (1969-Present)

Things are finally looking rosy for fans of the Brew Crew, but they’ve still never seen their team win a World Series. The franchise launched in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots before moving to Milwaukee the next year, where its title drought has continued unblemished — if that’s even the right term. In 2018, the team came as close as it ever has to playing in a World Series. And with NL MVP Christian Yelich leading the way, this team might finally be ready to put an end to the misery.

#25 — St. Louis Blues (NHL)


The Drought: 50 seasons (1967-Present)

Tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the NHL’s longest current title drought, the St. Louis Blues are currently playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, trying to end that streak. Interestingly, the Blues made it to the finals in each of the franchise’s first three seasons — in 1968, 1969 and 1970 — but were crushed in all three appearances. The franchise hadn’t been back to the championship series until 2019, and now time will tell if they add another season to their winless skid.

#24 — San Diego Padres (MLB)


The Drought: 50 seasons (1969-Present)

The third NL franchise that launched in 1969 but hasn’t yet won a championship is the San Diego Padres. The Friars won a pair of NL pennants, most recently in 1998, but have never succeeded in bringing home the World Series trophy, despite the help of legendary players like Tony Gwynn. Incredibly, Padres fans also have the dishonor of being the only fanbase in MLB that has yet to see any of its team’s pitchers throw a no-hitter.

#23 — Phoenix Suns (NBA)


The Drought: 51 seasons (1968-Present)

I hate to rain on this fan’s parade, but the Suns do not, in fact, rock. In fact, the franchise holds the NBA’s championship drought record for a team that has never won a title before. Despite having had Hall of Fame stars like Charles Barkley and Steve Nash over the years, the Suns have never been able to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy. The franchise has had plenty of winning in its history and has made the NBA Finals twice — but with the most recent trip being in 1993, many fans don’t ever remember them ever playing ball in June.

#22 — Cincinnati Bengals (NFL)


The Drought: 51 seasons (1968-Present)

Despite being an NFL franchise since 1968, the Cincinnati Bengals have never been able to hoist a championship banner. The franchise was founded by legendary coach Paul Brown and even he couldn’t turn them into a powerhouse. Bengals fans were spoiled in the 1980s, watching the team play in two Super Bowls that decade, but they haven’t been back to the big game since 1988. With a changing coaching staff and fans clamoring for other big changes to the team’s makeup in 2019, it seems that this drought will continue a little longer.

#21 — Cleveland Browns (NFL)


The Drought: 51 seasons (1965-Present)

Between the Bengals and Browns, Ohio’s NFL teams have a combined 102 seasons without winning a single Super Bowl title. Browns fans are a famously miserable bunch but the Browns used to be the NFL’s most dominant franchise, winning eight league championships from 1946 to 1964. But it all stopped there. The drought for the Browns would be 54 seasons, except the team didn’t exist from 1996-1998. The team hasn’t even won a division title in 26 seasons, which is the NFL’s longest such skid. After garnering a 1-31 record in the combined 2016 and 2017 seasons, fans are optimistic about 2019 thanks to the team’s exciting play last year.

#20 — Brooklyn Dodgers (MLB)


The Drought: 52 seasons (1903-1955)

The first lengthy drought on our list that actually came to an end was that of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The famously unlucky team was a loser for 52 seasons — and even longer if you go back to the pre-World Series days — before finally snapping that streak in 1955. Baseball legends like Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson and Tommy Lasorda helped the team finally get over the hump. And to make it even sweeter, they won the World Series over crosstown rivals the New York Yankees.

#19 — Atlanta Falcons (NFL)


The Drought: 53 seasons (1966-Present)

Falcons fans thought their misery had finally come to an end in 2017, when their team was up 28-3 in the third quarter of the Super Bowl — but boy were they in for something vicious. Despite many memorable seasons and some of the most talented players in football history, the Dirty Birds have yet to win a championship in all 53 years the franchise has existed. If star quarterback Matt Ryan ever does earn a ring there, expect him to be elevated to sainthood in the ATL.

#18 — Buffalo Bills (NFL)


The Drought: 53 seasons (1966-Present)

Fans of the Bills have had a tough road in the past 53 years, especially those who lived through the 1990s. In that decade, the team played in an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowls, losing every one of them. The franchise’s last championship win came in the 1965 AFL Championship Game, far before many current fans — or their parents — were watching the team.

#17 — New York Rangers (NHL)


The Drought: 53 seasons (1940-1994)

No team in NHL history has ever suffered through a longer championship drought than the New York Rangers. The team’s streak without a Stanley Cup lasted from 1940 to 1994, when it was finally snapped. The team won three titles before 1940 but just couldn’t get back to the top for another 53 seasons. In 2014, fans watched the Rangers play in another Stanley Cup Final series but it wasn’t to be.

#16 — San Francisco Giants (MLB)


The Drought: 55 seasons (1955-2010)

Giants fans have been spoiled recently, seeing their team win three World Series titles since 2010, but there was a lot of misery before that. After winning five titles from 1905 to 1954, the team went on a drought that spanned 55 seasons and two home cities. Barry Bonds and all his controversial home runs couldn’t even get the team over the hump in his prime.

#15 — Los Angeles Chargers (NFL)


The Drought: 55 seasons (1964-Present)

Back when they were known as the San Diego Chargers, this long-suffering NFL franchise won the 1963 AFL Championship. The team hasn’t captured a league title since then, never once winning a Super Bowl. The team did play for a Super Bowl in 1994, losing to their in-state rival the San Francisco 49ers, and came pretty close to going back after the 2018 season, but couldn’t pull it off. If any starting quarterback deserves a chance at playing for the title at least once, it has to be Chargers workhorse Philip Rivers.

#14 — Houston Astros (MLB)


The Drought: 55 seasons (1962-2017)

Astros fans had to be mighty patient to finally see their team win a World Series title in 2017. The franchise launched as the Houston Colt .45s in 1962 and it would be 55 seasons before they’d finally hoist a championship banner. Back when they played in the NL, the team made it to a World Series in 2005, which they lost, but 12 years later they’d get it done as members of the AL.

#13 — Tennessee Titans (NFL)


The Drought: 57 seasons (1962-Present)

The Tennessee Titans franchise has never won a Super Bowl, even going back to its days as the Houston Oilers. That team won the AFL Championship in 1961 but the franchise hasn’t earned a league title since then. In those 57 seasons, brilliant players like Earl Campbell, Eddie George and Steve McNair have come and gone, with no championships to show for the team’s fanbase. The Titans came within a single, heartbreaking yard of winning a Super Bowl in 1999 but the St. Louis Rams crushed their hopes.

#12 — Texas Rangers (MLB)


The Drought: 58 seasons (1961-Present)

One of the longest droughts in MLB history belongs to the Texas Rangers, who have never won a World Series. The franchise started as the Washington Senators in 1961 before moving to Texas in 1972. Despite the new name and location, the team’s fortunes didn’t change much. Rangers fans saw their team play for its first World Series in 2010, then another in 2011, and suffered through both losses.

#11 — Atlanta Hawks (NBA)


The Drought: 61 seasons (1958-Present)

The Hawks have been in Atlanta since 1968 and have never won a title in that city. The franchise’s only NBA championship came in 1958, when the team was located in St. Louis. Since then, 61 seasons of fruitless basketball have followed. The team’s last NBA Finals appearance came in 1961, also when they were in St. Louis. It’s safe to say Atlanta basketball — and football — fans have waited long enough for a title.

#10 — Detroit Lions (NFL)


The Drought: 61 seasons (1958-Present)

I think this guy’s shirt sums up what football fans in Detroit have been thinking since Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House. The Lions haven’t won an NFL title since 1957, despite having once-in-a-generation players like Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson on their rosters. The franchise hasn’t even won a division title in 25 seasons and has had some truly amazing seasons for all the wrong reasons, including a historic 0-16 season in 2008.

#9 — Minnesota Twins (MLB)


The Drought: 62 seasons (1925-1987)

Like the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins actually started their lengthy championship drought as the Washington Senators. That team won a World Series in 1924, which would be the franchise’s last for 62 seasons. After becoming the Twins in 1961, it took nearly 30 years for them to finally rule again, winning the 1987 World Series and taking the crown again in 1991. Since then, the team hasn’t played in another Fall Classic.

#8 — Baltimore Orioles (MLB)


The Drought: 63 seasons (1903-1966)

The Baltimore Orioles were fantastic starting in the 1960s, winning three World Series titles from 1966 to 1983, but it took them a while to get there. The franchise started its drought in 1903 as the St. Louis Browns before moving to Baltimore in 1954. The Birds took 63 seasons to finally win a World Series crown, using help from legends like Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer to get it done. Orioles fans have suffered since 1983, with the team not even going back to another World Series since then.

#7 — Sacramento Kings (NBA)


The Drought: 68 seasons (1952-Present)

Now we’re getting into next-level suffering. The droughts from here on out begin to approach the average lifespan of Americans, so there’s a good chance even lifelong fans have never seen these teams win titles. The Sacramento Kings hold the longest championship drought in NBA history, with 68 seasons of misery under their shorts. The team’s skid dates back to 1951, when they won their only NBA Championship as the Rochester Royals. Since coming to Sacramento in 1985, they’ve never even played in the NBA Finals and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.

#6 — Cleveland Indians (MLB)


The Drought: 70 seasons (1949-Present)

Even more than Browns fans, members of the Tribe have felt the sting of a championship drought for many years. The Indians have won two World Series titles in their history but the last one came in 1948. In the 70 seasons since then, the team has gone to four World Series, losing in heartbreaking fashion more than once. The team has been back to full power in recent years, making the Fall Classic again in 2016. But fans are still waiting on a championship.

#5 — Arizona Cardinals (NFL)


The Drought: 71 seasons (1948-Present)

The longest drought in NFL history — and the longest active drought for any North American sports team — belongs to the Arizona Cardinals. The team has gone 71 seasons without winning a league title, with its last coming via the 1947 NFL Championship when the team was called the Chicago Cardinals. The franchise has only been in Arizona since 1988, so fans there haven’t suffered quite as long as others on this list, but anyone who’s been linked to this squad since 1948 has been waiting a while for that next title.

#4 — Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)


The Drought: 77 seasons (1903-1980)

One of baseball’s most historic franchises, the Phillies, went a very long time without knowing the thrill of ultimate victory. The team’s fans suffered for 77 long summers, from 1903 to 1980, when they finally got over the hump. The team would go nearly 30 years before winning another World Series in 2008, but that drought must’ve felt like child’s play after that initial slump.

#3 — Boston Red Sox (MLB)


The Drought: 85 seasons (1919-2004)

As far as championship droughts go, the Boston Red Sox had one of the most legendary in history. The 85 seasons that fans suffered through included mishaps like Bill Buckner’s infamous error in the 1986 World Series, leading many to believe the team was cursed. After snapping the skid with an epic World Series win in 2004, the Red Sox have become one of the most reliable teams in baseball, winning additional titles in 2007, 2013 and 2018.

#2 — Chicago White Sox (MLB)


The Drought: 87 seasons (1918-2005)

The year after the Boston Red Sox snapped their 85-year drought, the Chicago White Sox broke an even longer streak. From 1918 to 2005, the White Sox endured the longest championship drought in AL history. After the team won the 1917 World Series, the White Sox became infamous as the “Black Sox” when it was discovered that the team threw the 1919 World Series at the behest of gambling kingpins. The team would go 87 seasons without a title, finally winning another one in 2005.

#1 — Chicago Cubs (MLB)


The Drought: 107 seasons (1909-2016)

For a while, the Windy City had baseball misery on lockdown. There may never be another championship drought that comes close to the one endured by Chicago Cubs fans for more than a century. After the franchise won back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908, it was 107 seasons before they’d finally be on top of baseball again. When the Cubs won the 2016 World Series — over the still-suffering Cleveland Indians, no less — it closed the most frustrating chapter in North American sports history.