You may have heard recently that the city of Cleveland has the longest pro-championship drought in American sports (1964 title with the Browns), but that’s only true if you’re talking about cities with at least three professional sports teams. If you drop that qualifier, one American city does indeed have it worse, and that’s poor two-sport San Diego. That drought is actually the worst in American pro sports, and it’s really only the beginning of the city’s sports woes. Let’s discuss why San Diego deserves a break.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
This image may be all San Diego has ever known of a title celebration
San Diego's lone pro sports championship came in 1963, when the Chargers won the AFL title. For reference, that was before the NFL-AFL merger and before the Super Bowl even existed. Team Hall of Famer Lance Alworth is shown here guzzling some bubbly after that 51-10 win over the Boston Patriots. The Chargers have been basically mediocre ever since and reached the Super Bowl only once, in 1994 (they lost, badly, to the 49ers). So drink in this photo, San Diego. And look on the bright side: Your team decided NOT to move to Los Angeles, at least for now. Hope springs eternal!
NFLCharles Aqua Viva
The Padres probably aren't moving, but they're still not good
The San Diego Padres have reached the World Series only twice (in 1984 vs. the Detroit Tigers and in 1998 vs. the New York Yankees). Detroit nearly swept them, and the Yanks actually did sweep them. Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn -- seen here in Game 4 back in 1998, probably at the moment he realized he was never going to win a ring -- was a legendary, all-time-great hitter. But he played on both World Series teams and it wasn't enough for the Friars, who haven't even seen a division title in nearly 10 years. The team does play in a beautiful ballpark, which makes it an excellent ticket, we'll give 'em that much. But the Pads' championship misery continues unabated.
Sporting News via Getty ImagesThe Sporting News
The Rockets and Clippers did actually move, and both are good now
There is no NBA team in San Diego now, and that's sad, but what's sadder is that the teams that used to be there are both perennial title contenders at this point. The Houston Rockets were once the San Diego Rockets in the late '60s and early '70s, and the L.A. Clippers were for a time the San Diego Clippers in the late '70s and early '80s. From left, Elvin Hayes, World B. Free and Bill Walton all spent time in San Diego, yet none of them brought a championship to town. Maybe big-time pro hoops will one day return to the city, but for now the San Diego State Aztecs are the top basketball draw there.
Vernon Biever (NBAE) Focus on Sp
'San Diego,' of course, in German means ...
Yeah, yeah, we know, Ron Burgundy got it wrong. But sadly, the fake newsman's NSFW tag lines are probably among the first things that pop into many outsiders' heads when they hear the city's name. And without a Super Bowl trophy, World Series title, NBA Finals championship or Stanley Cup to the city's name, the "Anchorman" jokes will never get old, we're afraid.
Getty ImagesFrank Micelotta
But that skyline, though ...
Look, we kid, but San Diego has more going for it than many other cities: gorgeous weather; a vibrant and walkable downtown scene; that world-class and world-famous zoo; a laidback vibe; and don't forget those tasty waves, brah. (And seriously, go see a game at Petco Park because it's beautiful.) But all those riches just may not be enough for the city's serious sports fans, who've now been waiting on a championship for more than a half-century. Isn't it time that San Diego enjoyed a sports celebration befitting of its stature? Wouldn't hold out much hope for that NHL franchise, though.