It’s no wonder they’re nicknamed the Lovable Losers. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in an astonishing 102 seasons, when they beat the Detroit Tigers four games to one in the 1908 finale. They have won the NL pennant seven times since then, but never since 1945. Whether you blame the Curse of the Billy Goat (named after a 1945 incident in which a ticket holder predicted futility for the Cubs after he and his ticket-holding goat were ejected from Wrigley Field), the Curse of Steve Bartman (a fan who infamously interfered with a crucial play that was followed by a colossal Cubs collapse in the 2003 NLCS), or just plain old fashioned organizational ineptitude, the Cubs’ ceaseless quest for another title lingers on.
Starving for a trophy
The Canucks have now been in existence for 40 NHL seasons without a championship trophy thanks to Wednesday’s Game 7 loss to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. Believe it or not, that’s not even one of the 25 longest active streaks. Check out the top title-less runs currently going on in the four major American sports.
Getty ImagesRich Lam
Toronto Maple Leafs – 43 seasons
Surprisingly, one of the winningest teams in NHL history is also tied for the longest-suffering. The Maple Leafs have racked up 13 Stanley Cups in their illustrious history – second only to the Montreal Canadiens’ 24 Cups – but has not won since 1967.
St. Louis Blues – 43 seasons
The Blues joined the NHL in 1967 when the league expanded to 12 teams. The team made three straight Stanley Cup finals in its first three years of existence, getting swept in all three. Their best regular season was in 1999-2000 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy for league’s best record before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings – 43 seasons
Like the Blues, the Kings joined the NHL in 1967 and also have never won a Stanley Cup. They have made 24 playoff appearances since but only once made it past the second round – their Wayne Gretzky-fueled 1993 run to the final, where they lost to the Canadiens in five games.
New York Jets – 43 seasons
The Jets have one of the proudest histories of any NFL franchise, despite not winning a title since Super Bowl III in 1968. The team has been to the playoffs just 13 times since, with six of those coming between 2001 and 2010. They have lost in the AFC Championship Game each of the past two seasons.
Cincinnati Bengals – 43 seasons
Established in 1968, the NFL’s Bengals are still seeking their first-ever title. They have made only nine playoff appearances in that time and twice appeared in the Super Bowl – in 1981 and 1988 – losing to the San Francisco 49ers both times.
Phoenix Suns – 43 seasons
A near perennial contender, the Suns always seem to come up just a little short. Phoenix has a lofty 29 postseason appearances in 43 years of existence, but has been to the NBA Finals only twice and has not won it, losing in 1976 to the Boston Celtics and in 1993 to the Chicago Bulls.
Atlanta Falcons – 45 seasons
The Falcons have few highlights in their 45-year existence, making the Super Bowl only once – a loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII – and appearing in the playoffs just 10 times. They were the NFC’s No. 1 overall team in 2010 before being routed by the eventual champion Green Bay Packers in their first playoff game.
Buffalo Bills – 45 seasons
The Bills franchise is most notorious for losing four straight Super Bowls in the 1990’s, but now the title-less years are really piling up too. Buffalo hasn’t won since the days of the AFL, taking back-to-back crowns in 1964 and 1965. They have not been to the playoffs at all since 1999.
Cleveland Browns – 46 seasons
The city of Cleveland’s sports suffering is the stuff of legend, and the Browns are a big part of that. The eight-time league champions haven’t added to that total since winning the NFL title in 1964 and have been to the playoffs just once since 1994. The 46-year figure includes the three years the team was inactive after it was relocated to Baltimore following the 1995 season before the new Browns franchise was established.
San Diego Chargers – 47 seasons
The Chargers won the AFL title in 1963 and are still after another crown. They’ve certainly had their chances. San Diego lost Super Bowl XXIX to the 49ers and has won 15 division titles overall, including five since 2004. They were an NFL-best 14-2 in 2006 before losing their first playoff game at home to the New England Patriots.
Houston Astros – 49 seasons
The Astros – one of two Texas baseball franchises to have never won a title – have had a bumpy existence, winning only one NL pennant and making the playoffs just eight times in their 49 years. They have never won a World Series game despite making it in 2005 – a four-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox.
Tennessee Titans – 49 seasons
Like many teams on this list, the Titans have had plenty of contending teams over the years. They have been to the playoffs 21 times and won AFL titles in 1960 and 1961. But since that second championship, the franchise (which includes their stints as the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Oilers) has made just one title game – a heartbreaking loss to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Texas Rangers – 50 seasons
Up until the 2010 season, the Rangers would certainly have qualified (and may still) for most futile team on this list. Before that year’s run to the World Series, the Rangers had just three playoff berths in their history and had lost nine out of their 10 postseason games – all first-round exits against the Yankees.
Minnesota Vikings – 50 seasons
In 1969, the Vikings won the final NFL title game before the AFL-NFL merger, but went on to lose Super Bowl IV – the first of four lost Super Bowls in a span of seven years. Still without a title in their 50-year history, the Vikings have been one of the most successful never to reach the pinnacle, winning 18 division titles and making the playoffs 26 times.
Philadelphia Eagles – 50 seasons
The Eagles haven’t tasted glory since winning the NFL championship in 1960. They’ve been to the Super Bowl twice since – losing in 1980 to the Oakland Raiders and in 2004 to the Patriots. Philadelphia has been a perennial contender lately, making the playoffs nine times since 2000.
Atlanta Hawks – 53 seasons
The Hawks franchise moved to Atlanta in 1968, but you have to go back another decade to find their last title. They won the NBA championship in 1958 as the St. Louis Hawks and since then have had nothing but struggles. They haven’t been to the NBA Finals since moving to Atlanta and have just three division titles in the city, the last coming in 1994.
Detroit Lions – 53 seasons
One of the most futile teams in the last decade of sports, the Lions haven’t claimed a championship since 1957. They have just nine playoff appearances since then, none since 1999. They have lost 10 or more games in nine of the last 10 seasons, lowlighted by an 0-16 campaign in 2008.
Sacramento Kings – 60 seasons
The Kings have been one of the most nomadic franchises in sports, starting as the Rochester Royals in 1945, then making stops in Cincinnati and Kansas City before settling in Sacramento in 1985. They won the NBA title in 1951 and since then have just three division titles to the franchise name. Despite 29 playoff appearances, the 1951 crown is their only trip to the finals.
Cleveland Indians – 62 seasons
The flagship franchise of Cleveland’s sports woes, the Indians last celebrated a World Series title in 1948. They have won three AL pennants and seven AL Central division titles since then but have yet to win the big prize a second time. They famously blew a three-games-to-one lead against the Red Sox in the 2007 ALCS.
Arizona Cardinals – 63 seasons
One of the longest running sports outfits (founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898), the Cardinals haven’t exactly converted their senior status into success. They won the 1947 NFL championship as the Chicago Cardinals and since then have been to the playoffs just seven times. They came agonizingly close to ending the streak in 2008, losing Super Bowl XLIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a last-minute touchdown.