Every professional sports season, whether it be NFL, NHL, MLB, NHL, MLS, and whatever else I'm forgetting, one team is anointed a champion, and that team's city celebrates happily.
While that is happening, however, the rest of the country looks on in jealousy and various stages of rage. There can only be so many winners, which leaves a lot more losers.
Some lose harder and more frequently than others. Here are those cities, the 20 most depressed fanbases in North America, ranked.
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The Bucks have a bright young star in Giannis Antetokounmpo ... and not a whole lot else going on. The Brewers missed out on a .500 season last year and are stuck in middling ground. The Brewers have never won a World Series, last appearing in the Fall Classic in 1982. The Bucks haven't won a title since 1971. I'd have Milwaukee higher on this list but they've got great beer there and every person I've ever met from Milwaukee seems like a pretty happy person.
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The Predators are frisky this year, so things aren't as bleak as they could be in Nashville. And the Titans went 9-7 this year, which considering their last decade or so, is just about a miracle. Things are looking up!
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I have no idea what the Suns are doing, the Cardinals dropped to below .500 last year in a season when a lot of people (including me) thought they were heading to a Super Bowl, and the Coyotes currently sit dead last in the Pacific Division amid controversy over their future in town. Weather is great there, though.
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The Grindhouse has seen better days. The Grizzlies are clinging to the 7th seed in the West, but with the loaded Warriors, Spurs and Rockets all doing damage, they seem to be stuck in that purgatory of being a tough team that plays in an exciting playoff series and then gets bounced ... every year. Things could be worse, of course, but they could also be better.
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Salt Lake City
The Jazz have an up-and-coming NBA team loaded with exciting young talent and are making a run at the Western Conference ... but everyone is already talking about their best player, Gordon Hayward, leaving the team as soon as he is able. Plus in a loaded Western Conference, title hopes look slim. And as for history? The Jazz have never won an NBA title. Ever.
Jeffrey SwingerJeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
That sign -- "At least we are not Cleveland Browns fans" -- seems to be the most redeeming thing going for Bengals fans at this moment. To be fair, it's no small thing. (Also, with the Cavaliers, Cleveland is off this list for the first time in decades. We're as surprised as any of you.)
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The Maple Leafs are good! The Blue Jays look decent! The Raptors could cause some damage in the playoffs! This is more of a historical award, as Toronto fans have been scarred, built up from years of playoff disappointments, high expectations, and abject misery. To only be No. 14 is a big improvement over most years, however.
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The Buccaneers improved this year to 9-7, so that's a good thing, I suppose. But with the Rays regressing and seeming to lack the magic they long had following the departures of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman, and the Lightning's bright season looking in trouble with injuries to three (!) centers in last night's game, things have been better in Tampa.
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Minneapolis - St. Paul
The Vikings' promising season was derailed before it began with a gruesome injury to the quarterback. Now Adrian Peterson is gone and the team is looking to start fresh (again). The Twins lost 103 games last season. The Lynx lost in the WNBA finals. Prince passed away. It's a rough time in the Twin Cities.
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Two, four, three, five, three.
These are the number of wins the Jaguars have recorded in the last five NFL seasons. Five wins is the high water mark. Good heavens, Jacksonville.
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Their NFL team is in the midst of squandering the career of one of the most talented quarterbacks of the last decade and their basketball team is stuck in no man's land and got rid of its coach for unclear reasons, with a star who is all but openly pining to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
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The Chargers are gone. I'd rank this higher, but these people still live in San Diego. Go outside and go surfing. Life is wonderful there. You'll have an MLS team soon. Whatever.
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The Vancouver Canucks have been in the NHL for 47 years and never won a Stanley Cup. Their fans aren't too depressed because, for whatever reason, they always seem to be hopeful. I don't understand this, but they keep believing.
The Kings have become the circus of the NBA, a running joke for everyone to get a good laugh about whenever you want to talk about mismanagement, ridiculous decision-making, and general incompetence. DeMarcus Cousins is gone, Isaiah Thomas is a star for the Celtics, and the Kings have very little to show for it. Good stuff.
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The Flyers are mired at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, the 76ers just lost Joel Embiid and traded Nerlens Noel, and the Eagles are coming off another 7-9 season. Pair that with a history of disappointment and mediocrity, you've got a pretty bummed out city that is doing its best to trust the process in every way it can.
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You could make an argument that the Orlando Magic have quietly been the worst managed pro sports organization of the last two decades. It's like a minor league team, where future NBA stars go to learn the game and then go succeed elsewhere. The city's MLS team has one of the league's best in Kaka and missed the playoffs last year. I'm not sure how the Orlando Solar Bears are doing and I'm too lazy to look it up.
Reinhold MatayReinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
I was going to leave D.C. completely off this list. I was. The Nationals are loaded, the Capitals look primed for a Stanley Cup run, the Wizards are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and the 'Skins are coming off a promising season.
Then the 'Skins fired their GM, a team official leaked to the Washington Post that he was suffering from alcoholism, fans are marching against the team, and my diehard 'Skins fans friends told me last night they're becoming Raiders fans.
The last championship season for the city was in 2004 for D.C. United. Outside of soccer, it came in 1991 for the 'Skins.
Never doubt Washington's sports teams' ability to ruin everything for their fans. Never doubt it.
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The Rams are gone and the Cubs just won the World Series. Nothing else needs to be written here.
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After that Super Bowl, you could make the argument that Atlanta should be No. 1 on this list. But there is hope there, and they just had 55,000 people turn out for an MLS game, so I'm not putting them No. 1. This city is trying to hold its head high, though they have every right to go bury themselves in the sand.
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The Sabres are second-to-last in their division. Over the last decade, the Bills have finished between 6-10 and 9-7 every year, with one exception, when they went 4-12 in 2010.
They just fired their coach, no one knows if their QB can lead a team going forward, and the team just lost its best cornerback to division rival New England Patriots. And Tom Brady says he's going to play until he's 45. And it's cold there.