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Top 10 Losing Streaks in Sports

VO: Rebecca Brayton
There are lots of ways to make a name for yourself in the sports world: you can throw a perfect game, score the winning goal, take home championship after championship, or break a longstanding record – for example. But, there are some records you don’t want to break. On July 16th, 1941, Joe DiMaggio hit safely for the 56th consecutive game – and that record still stands. However, we’re not interested in winning – we wanna hear about the biggest losers. So, in this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 losing streaks in sports. For this list, we’ve excluded college teams and have decided to focus not necessarily on the longest losing streaks in sports, but the ones we’ve deemed the most heartbreaking.
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Top 10 Losing Streaks in Sports


These are the records you don’t want to break. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 painful losing streaks in sports.

For this list, we’ve excluded college teams and have decided to focus not necessarily on the longest losing streaks, but the ones we’ve deemed the most heartbreaking.

#10 – NBA – Sacramento Kings: No championships (or Finals appearances) since 1951

As the Rochester Royals, this NBA franchise brought home the championship in 1951. They immediately capitalized on that success by… Never winning again. Worse yet, they haven’t even returned to the finals since ’51, and don’t have much luck in the playoffs either. This isn’t the worst championship drought ever, but it’s certainly not helping the team win fans as it keeps switching cities.

#9 – NFL – Cleveland Browns: 24 quarters without a TD

All told, 2008 wasn’t a great season for Cleveland: the franchise started out with high hopes of topping the division, but it wasn’t meant to be: they dropped their last six games, including shutouts in the final two. That included 24 consecutive quarters without a TD: if you can handle even basic math, you know that’s six games where the Browns’ offense failed to find the end zone.

#8 – Tennis – Vince Spadea: 21 consecutive losses

He’s competed at the Olympics and won against the game’s biggest names. Spadea was even in the top 20 in 1999 when he started the record-long 21-game losing streak that dropped him to 237th in the rankings and earned him the nickname “the Charlie Brown of tennis.” But don’t worry: by 2005, he’d clawed his way to 18th in one of the greatest tennis comebacks ever.

#7 – NFL – Detroit Lions: 0-16 season

It started so well: after a 4-0 preseason, Detroit was ready to celebrate their 75th year as the Lions. And the team did make history: The 2008 Lions were the first club ever to go 0-16 in regular season play, giving them the dubious honor of being the worst team in NFL history. Coaches and management were promptly fired, but Detroit has still never qualified for the Super Bowl.

#6 – MLB – Pittsburgh Pirates: No winning season since 1992

You can pinpoint the last time the Pirates were good: 1992 was their most recent winning season – though they came close in ‘97 – and that decades-long drought is a record in all North American professional sports. Since their state-mates the Philadelphia Phillies were the first professional sports team to reach 10,000 losses, we’re kinda convinced the two franchises are locked in a rivalry as to who sucks worse.

#5 – NHL – Winnipeg Jets: Winless for 30 consecutive games

The Jets probably thought their mediocre debut NHL season was bad enough. But things did, in fact, get worse: their second year, Winnipeg went winless for 30-straight games, banking 23 losses and 7 ties over that period and setting a league-wide record. Dumping coaches didn’t stop them from ending the ‘80-‘81 season dead-last, with a 9-57-14 record. But fear not: they finished second in their division the next year.

#4 – NFL – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Franchise began 0-26

#1 way to NOT gain fans as a new NFL franchise: win no games. #2: score no touchdowns. After becoming an expansion team in 1976, the Bucs did just that, going almost two full seasons without a win and setting a record for consecutive losses in all North American professional sports. They also only scored their first touchdown in Week 4, but somehow managed to keep their sense of humor.

#3 – NBA – Cleveland Cavaliers: 26 straight losses

Clevelanders had another reason to loathe Lebron during the 2010-11 NBA season: the Cavs limped along following James’ summertime move to Miami. But things got really terrible when they started a 26-game skid, breaking the league’s previous record of 24 consecutive losses – also set by Cleveland – and tying the record for all North American professional sports. They finished the year a dismal 19-63 and – needless to say – did not make the playoffs.

#2 – NASCAR – J.D. McDuffie: 653 races without a win

Call him an independent or an underdog, but either way McDuffie was a fan fave, with an impressive career spanning three decades. Despite the 106 top-ten finishes in his Cup Series career, J.D. also holds the NASCAR top touring series record for most last-place finishes. Even worse, he was unable to post a win in 653 races before being killed in a crash in 1991.

#1 – MLB – Chicago Cubs: No Championships since 1908

Y’gotta hand it to Cubs fans; they are loyal as hell. Following an impressive 1906 season, Chicago won two back-to-back World Series. The Lovable Losers haven’t won since. Who knows whether it’s the Curse of the Billy Goat, the Steve Bartman incident or something more, but this drought is longer than any other in North American sports history. However, there’s still time for this prophecy to come true.

Do you agree with our list? There are obviously tons of moments of futility in the sports world, but which do you think are the most embarrassing? For more top 10s about your favorite sports moments, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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