Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Eagles finally got off the schneid and won the first Super Bowl in franchise history. The Eagles ended a title drought that dated back to 1960 – to the days of Concrete Charlie and Norm Van Brocklin.
Philly’s win continued a trend. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year World Series drought – the longest in North American pro sports. The 2004 Boston Red Sox finally ended the Curse of the Bambino. Six years later, the Chicago Blackhawks snapped a 49-year streak by hoisting the 2010 Stanley Cup.
A drought is defined as a prolonged absence of something specified. Today we examine a dozen of the most devastating championship droughts in sports.
The longest overall championship dry spell belongs to the Arizona Cardinals, at 70 years. Led by the Million Dollar Backfield, the Redbirds beat the Eagles to win the 1947 NFL title. In 2007, the Cards were 35 seconds away from breaking that streak in Super Bowl XLIII. Enter Santonio Holmes, who grabbed a six-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to win it for the Steelers, 27-23, and break the hearts of the Cards faithful.
The Cleveland Indians’ last World Series title came in 1948. Since then, the Tribe have made four trips to the Fall Classic but fallen short each time. In 1954, Cleveland won an American League record 111 games, then were swept by the New York Giants in the Series. The Indians most recent appearance came in 2016, when they lost to the Cubs in an excruciating Game 7.
The last championship won by the Sacramento Kings came in 1951, when they were the Rochester Royals. Sacramento is the fifth city to play host to this futile franchise. Other losing stints came in Cincinnati, Kansas City and Omaha.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a charter member of the NHL. With 13 Stanley Cup titles, the Leafs are one of the most storied franchises in hockey. The last time the Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup was on this day in 1967, when the NHL was still a six-team league. Fifty years and counting, Toronto.
In 1957, Detroit introduced the Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe, a two-door hardtop vintage classic. That same year, the Detroit Lions won their last NFL championship. One of four teams never to play in a Super Bowl, the Lions have won exactly one playoff game in 60 years.
Perhaps no city has experienced as much futility as Atlanta. In 51 seasons, the Falcons have never won a Super Bowl. Since moving from Milwaukee in 1966, the Braves have captured only one World Series title. The Hawks take the cake, however, having not won a championship since 1958, when they were in St. Louis.
Three franchises have title droughts dating back to 1961. The Houston Oilers won the AFL championship that year and later became the Tennessee Titans. The expansion 1961 Washington Senators never won anything and the franchise didn’t get much better when they moved to Texas to become the Rangers. The Minnesota Vikings take the futility title. Having appeared in four Super Bowls and losing them all, it appears the Vikes 56-year streak isn’t going to end any time soon.
Like Atlanta, San Diego has suffered many an inept team. The Buffalo Braves landed in SoCal in 1978 as the San Diego Clippers. After six losing campaigns in SD, the Clippers moved up the coast to L.A., where they continue to lose. In 48 seasons, the Clips have not even reached a conference final. The Padres joined the National League as an expansion team in 1969. Nearly five decades later, the Friars are looking for their first World Series title. Led by league MVP, Lance Alworth, the Chargers won the 1963 AFL title. It was the last time the Bolts – or the city – would hang a championship banner. We have news for Chargers owner Alex Spanos: moving to Carson isn’t the answer.
The St. Louis Blues joined the NHL during its first wave of expansion in 1967-68. The Blues were part of the Next Six, when the league added six teams and doubled in size. After reaching the Stanley Cup Finals [losing them all] in their first three years of existence, St. Louis has yet to win a championship.
In 1968, the NBA added the Phoenix Suns as the league’s 14th team. The Suns reached the NBA Finals in their eighth year of existence, then returned again in 1993. After half a century in the desert, the Suns are still parched – and looking for their first NBA title.
The Milwaukee Brewers joined the AL as the Seattle Pilots in 1969. That same year, the Padres and Montreal Expos joined the National League. In those 48 years, the Padres have advanced to the World Series twice, losing both. The Brewers’ only World Series appearance came in 1982. The Expos played 36 seasons in Montreal but never made a World Series. The franchise moved to Washington to become the Nationals in 2005, and is still awaiting its first visit to the Fall Classic.
The Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team? The self-imposed nickname simply doesn’t fit. The Cowboys have gone over two decades without advancing past the divisional round. Their last Super Bowl win came in 1995 – that’s 22 years of watching the confetti fall on someone else.